when it is dark, the day is about to begin
The road to Belle-Anse (spelled Bèlans in Haitian Creole) is nothing less than treacherous: narrow, steep, and carved out of sheer rock. It is partly this road that isolates the area from the rest of Haiti – and indeed the rest of the world – making the population that lives in these beautiful mountains incredibly vulnerable to scarcity and disease. That is why ACDI/VOCA – a large international development NGO – designed a multi-year project here to address the integrated issues of food security, malnutrition, and rural health care. The project was funded by USAID.
I spent a week visiting the remote health clinics set up by this project, shadowing the lone doctor. She saw patients, trained teams about nutrition and sanitation outreach, collected data, and wrote reports. Meanwhile, I sat on porches and drew portraits of people. I met nurses, health workers, patients, and volunteers; I spent hours drawing them and talking to them about their experiences.
I took a quick photograph of each drawing before giving the original as a gift to my subjects. In this series I have printed the photographs on paper with occasional photographic fragments from the region. Using ink I have written excerpts from my interviews.
One of the interesting things I learned about the face of foreign aid is that it is not entirely foreign. At least in this case, every worker and volunteer that I met in Belle-Anse was Haitian. In addition to being well-conceived, it appeared this project succeeded by the fortitude and pluck of the Haitian people. These artworks are a tribute to the people I met: to their dignity in the face of great challenges and to their fierce determination to thrive.
Translations by Rodolph Lapointe; Special thanks to Emmet Murphy.
Click thumbnails below to see full images.