Growing Up in a Tent City


Pt 2: Growing Up in a Tent City - CBC correspondent David Gutnick returns to a devastated neighbourhood he first visited in the days after January's earthquake. He checks in on a family who - like thousands of others - have little hope of moving from their hastily constructed tent into a more permanent home.


Haiti - Tent City

There are almost a thousand people living in tents, under blue plastic tarps in Delma 66 Camp. Even some tin and cindecrete block huts have gone up. Back in January when David Gutnick visited Delma 66 , the women selling fried plantains, mangos, bananas, rice were sitting on the ground, or at makeshift tables made of broken bits of wall. There was no real order, everyday it was first come, first served when it came to finding a space. That has changed. Now the sellers have real tables, every day they sell from the same place, some have put up tarps on wooden structures to shade themselves from the blistering sun. There is a sense of order that was not here before.

When David was here just after the earthquake toilets were holes in the ground, everything was temporary from guys charging cell phone batteries in the open air to a makeshift platform for a water bladder. Now there are port-a-potties that get emptied regularly.

David revisited one of the families her first met back in January, the Merisier family with his fixer and driver, Carla Blunchili. The family includes 8 children and they have all battled the elements and challenges in this tent city including a constant fight to stay healthy. Luckily there is cholera at Delma Camp 66 but no doubt it's something the inhabitants of Delma Camp 66 worry about.

And it's not the only thing to worry about, women come together to protect women from dangers like rape and assault - especially when the sun goes down. Kids that can't go to school, have nothing to do all day. The lucky ones may get to watch a movie on someone's computer but for most of the kids, they never get that chance. And for some, who were born in these tents, they have nothing else.

There has actually been a bump in the birthrate, this month but David was at the camp for one of the first. Last January, in Delma Camp 66, there was a birth of a baby boy. The baby was named David after David Gutnick who showed concern and made an impression on baby David's mother, Francesca. David Gutnick went back to meet baby David who is now 10 months old.

Some people in Delma 66 Camp are convinced they will have no choice about their future either. People have gone to live in other communities. A promise of four solid walls. A roof. But there is fear associated with cement houses - they were what killed so many family members and friends. There is no one in this town who hasn't lost somebody.

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