I had the opportunity to visit a newly built home in Jean Rabel about 2 weeks ago and was really impressed with the location and the beautiful garden it offered its owners. The garden already has a year-long supply of mangos from the well established trees that shelter the front of the house, making it an ideal spot for relaxation or play for the two young girls living in the house.
The family has already moved in and the only furniture I saw while viewing the house was a large dining table and chairs. In the children’s bedroom there was one single bed which the girls shared; there was no sign of any bed for the parents in their room. I wondered where exactly they sleep, but perhaps like so many Haitians, maybe they are content to sleep on the floor. The floor by the way is made of concrete and I doubt very much if any covering will be installed any time soon. There was no kitchen or a place to keep food or crockery, that I saw. All the cooking will be done outside using charcoal, so this does away for the need of a cooker and an electricity supply.
The toilet is housed in an outhouse, the weather is hot or warm all year round so there is no need for plumbing for heat or a water supply, they use the local river water which is pumped through a canal which runs very close to the house.
The only storage I noticed was a ‘wheelie bin’ which held much of the children’s clothes and a suitcase or two which most likely was used for the parent’s clothes.
The walls were still in their rough concrete state and might remain so for a lifetime. But the owner of this particular house was truly content that his home was now almost finished and he could now enjoy living there.
What struck me most was the fact that his two young girls, perhaps about 4/5 years of age and 6/7 years of age were just sitting on a low wall at the entrance to the site when we arrived and were happy to go back to the same location when we left, waving their dad goodbye,
they were home alone, but not unsafe, I felt, as there were other householders nearby, going about their daily tasks of washing in the canal, preparing food or tending their gardens. These two little girls were part of that community and by assumption, therefore, were cared for while their parents were out at work!