"Demain, si Dieu veut" - "Tomorrow, God willing" - is a documentary project (52'), aiming to give a voice to Haitian women still living in camps, 3 years after the earthquake .
These women wanted to testify. Every day, other women would ask me to film them. They told me about their anger, their hopes. Being a woman in Haiti is already a problem in itself. We’re treated as second class citizens. Add an unprecedented natural disaster to that and the conclusions are insufferable.
They were thankful that I listened.
Thanks to your help, they can be heard.
Lucie, Vincia, Mirlande and Samantha. They live in the heart of Port-au-Prince in Camp Argentine where they found refuge the day after January 12th, 2010 earthquake.
These sisters of misfortune meet every day under a mango tree, the only tree onsite. They talk about their children, their neighbours, they eat there, pray, laugh. More than anything, they’re waiting for the rehousing, the one everybody’s talking about.
This movie gives the Haitian crisis’ forgotten souls a voice to speak.
A few words about my work...
I’m 34-years-old and have been a journalist for 10 years now. I started as a freelance in written press before training in video in 2010 so I could add images to words. My love for photography soon took me to multimedia projects (mixing sound, video and photography), which I develop for [Neus] agency, a recent structure that gathers a family of friends, projects and skills.
Since my first project on the earthquake in January 2010, Haiti has remained at the heart of my projects. I now hope I can produce the documentary I started making last August on these Haitian women who have been living in camps ever since that day their life was to change forever.
The women in this documentary
Each one shared her story with me, that of a woman, forgotten in the camps. They didn’t know they were exposing the reality of thousands of Haitian women.
SAMANTHA roamed under the mango tree where women spend most of their time when I first saw her. Discrete and gentle, she didn’t speak much, she kept her distances, lost in her thoughts. I wanted to understand what was behind this isolation. She seemed happy someone cared.
Her worry that day was to find a way to get to the orphanage for her monthly visit to her daughter she had to place their.
" I had to leave my daughter in a orphanage. I'd rather see her go to school."
Not far from there was LUCIE. An old, proud and suspicious lady. She looked down on me as she asked what I thought I could do for her. This 64-year-old storekeeper looks back with nostalgia on her life and doesn’t understand why she’s still here.
" My hair was not white when my husband died. I should have found another one."
VINCIA spent most of her time alone in her tent. A 17-year-old kid who had just recently been raped. She was hiding away in her tent. Her mother Gislaine took me to see her. She had not told anyone yet.
"My dream was to fiish school and become a nurse."
MIRLANDE, headstrong, was very determined to find a way out of all this. She’s very thorough and strict with her daughter and is hoping for a better life for her.
" I'd like her to become president or minister. I often tell her : "If I suffer, it s for you." "
The project genesis
January 2010 - "Haiti, year zero"
January 12th 2010, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, killing more than 230,000 people and leaving 1.5 million more disaster victims. Triggered international empathy around this tragedy led to floods of donations and multiplied by ten humanitarian aid there.
I started working on the earthquake and its consequences the day after it happened. I interviewed Olivier Laban-Mattei, the photographer for the AFP, and produced an audio slide show to introduce his photography work on Haiti at the World Press Photo.
December 2011 - "Haiti, a year after"
After working on these pictures for several months, I focused on Haiti and the earthquake’s consequences.
Olivier and I went back to work on an inventory of Camp Aviation, an old military aviation field where more than 60,000 people now live.
Back in France, the story of Camp Aviation was published in 6 Mois magazine and the slide show was screened in various festivals. But the situation was still alarming in Haiti and media coverage was dropping. It was the start of the Arab Spring, and Haiti got washed off the media map.
Then, a Human Rights Watch report struck me. It stated a 12% increase in pregnancies in camps compared with rural zones before the earthquake.
How could that be in a destroyed country?
I decided to go back there, try to understand what this figure was and ask the mothers of this future generation.
August 2012 - Camp Argentine
Thus, in August 2012, I went to Port-au-Prince to collect my first testimonies. I went to a small camp in the centre of town which, given its size, should make it easier for me to get close to the women there. Built on the ruins of a destroyed primary school, Camp Argentine houses 425 families.
When I stepped into the camp, all eyes were on my white skin expecting food or aid distribution. Once they understood, I started talking to women, they queued to give me their names, show me their children, their cardboard houses. Most of them lived alone there with their children, helpless before street laws.
Absent, most men died during the earthquake or abandoned their matrimonial duties. During the three weeks I was on camp, I didn’t once see food distribution, zero NGO employee and none of the police officers who were meant to maintain order onsite.
I visited every day. I gained their trust. I then introduced my camera, started interviewing them and filming.
August 2013, thanks to you
I brought back 30 hours of rushes from that last trip. 30 hours of testimonies that I managed to subtitle, assimilate and make mine.
Time to take a step back and to find a way to tell this story. To be legitimate and worthy of the trust these women gave me.
To find the best way to make their voices heard.
It will thus be an intimate documentary, as close as possible to their reality.
As three years after the earthquake Haiti is only of interest to a handful of media and these women’s lives are still being scorned, help me give them the opportunity to be heard.
Help them tell you their story.