As I rode to the airport last week, I was enjoying the way Delmas 33 almost looked like a normal pre-quake neighborhood. People were walking to work, merchants were selling bananas and mangoes. If you ignored the collapsed buildings, it would have seemed like business as usual.
Then, at the top of one of the many hills on Delmas 33, I noticed something I had not seen before across the street from where a police station stood before the 12the of January. A tent city, its tin roofs glinting in the early morning sun. A tent city, where a week ago there had not been a tent city to my knowledge. As the car dipped downhill with the road I saw how expansive the tent city was. It rolled with the landscape and seemed to stretch out for miles.
This was when I realized that tent cities have become Port-au-Prince's new urban sprawl.
Later, while driving to and from Leogane, my thought was confirmed as I saw all the places that tent communities had been established. I took as many pictures as I could. Some are below.
There are even empty tent cities.
I was really pleased to hear that the Haitian government/US/UN/major NGOs have changed their plan away from wanting to relocate people out of Port to the countryside. Now the plan seeks to clear rubble off of people's land so they can move out of tent cities and back into their old neighborhoods. Better a tent on your own property than a tent in a giant unsanitary, unsafe slum.