In part to honor the Haitian painter Prefete Duffaut, and in particular his work titled, “Cities in the Sky,” Haitian slums are being painted in bright, psychedelic colors. The other part of this is to create art, and to brighten up the monochrome slums. This effort is titled “Beauty versus Poverty: Jalousie in Colours.” This Jalousie in Colours project is a part of the larger effort of the Haitian government to move those displaced after the 2010 earthquake to new homes. The Jalousie in Colours project is located in a neighborhood called Jalousie, hence the name. Jalousie is right next to a town called Petionville, that also is a part of the nation’s capital. The homes are located at the bottom of a mountain, and give off a rather bleak appearance.
The project began in March, when painters started to put lively colors on the gray walls of the shanties, including blue, purple, yellow, pink, and more. The colors and look are inspired by the aforementioned work of Prefete Duffaut. The Jalousie in Colours project cost a total of $1.4 million, a fairly large amount. The government has focused on the camps in Port-au-Prince, and wish to relocate the people into Jalousie. As an incentive, they offered to pay a year’s worth of rent for people to move into neighborhoods like Jalousie. The government wanted to further encourage the move by painting the various neighborhoods, including Jalousie, as well as creating public and city services.
Clement Belizaire, who is the director of the housing relocation program, commented that the goal was to make the area decent, and worthy of living in; and they were certainly not attempting to make the next Miami neighborhood. Their goals were more modest and attainable.
Jalousie has around 45,000 inhabitants, and most residents are fond of the project. However, the Jalousie in Colours project has also become controversial. They argue the money could have been better spent. Nonetheless, a people’s environment has a large effect on their well-being and happiness, and a part of their environment is its aesthetic appeal (or how nice it looks). Therefore, the government was still doing something positive.
Jalousie is just the first town to receive the makeover; the government has indicated that they plan to further the project into other shantytowns in the near future. Overall, although the town is not the next Miami, its new makeover will hopefully serve to make residents happier, and more proud of their homes; it also allows the relocation of displaced individuals, which will relieve a great burden off Haiti.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: Independent, ABC News
Photo: Uncommon Carib