Cosmetic Makeover of Jalousie Hides Misery of Residents' Lives

The citizens of Jalousie are frustrated by a government of Haiti (GOH) project that is ignoring the real problems the community faces: no water or sanitation, and a secondary fault the area sits on.


Instead, the GOH is spending $6 million USD, some of it to paint Jalousie houses in pretty colors. The efforts to turn the slum into "a fashionable suburb" are to give hotel guests facing it a pleasing view. The first phase of the project has been completed just in time for the launching of two luxury hotels, Best Western and Royal Oasis.

Jalousie houses perch on hillsides, some of them in deep ravines. Whenever it rains, water rushes through the ready-made canals where no vegetation exists. If the downpour is strong enough, mudslides sweep people, livestock, and houses away.

Prime Minister Lamothe, who lauds the positive aspects of the project (a beautiful view from across the way) patronizes demonstrators, who show up demanding "We want water!", "We need a clinic!" He gives his usual excuse; "We are trying to do a lot with little means."

But Jalousie resident Sylvestre Telfort understands the GOH's true intent. The painting project is being done to satisfy the mulatto elite, who would like to wipe the population off the face of the earth. Since that is not an option, they hide the misery of their lives with a paint job, and pass off the neighborhood as a plush suburb to the unknowing.

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