Becky Webb in Haiti
Junior looks across a muddy ravine in Carrefour Feuilles, where a number of houses are perched near the edge of the bank. “It’s been a long journey but it’s finally done,” he says.
Supporting the bank is a retaining wall, also known as a gabion wall, made up a dozens of wire baskets filled with rubble. Each has been painstakingly placed and filled by members of the local community.
“We set up the baskets and then fill them with the debris,” Junior says. “We pay people who live here to do it, rotating every few weeks so everyone gets chance to earn some money. It really helps clean up the area.”
This rubble recycling project is being replicated in neighbourhoods throughout Port au Prince as teams from the Haiti Red Cross Society put to use 25,000 cubic meters of the rubble left in the wake of the earthquake in 2010. The abandoned rubble is processed by local residents and transformed into concrete blocks, paving slabs or, in this case, a wall which will stop the ground slipping away during Haiti’s next heavy rains, or in case of another earthquake.
The rubble wall is just one part of this neighbourhoods’ development. Haiti Red Cross Society teams are supporting the community, helping them to achieve their vision for the future by providing shelters, access to water and sanitation, and job opportunities along with training and technical support.
“After the earthquake it was just ugly trash and broken houses here. Now we have shelters, a gabion wall and big clean-up operation. And we’re working to bring water and electricity here,” Junior says. “We’re doing a renovation programme!”
The programme in this neighbourhood is part of the organization’s integrated neighbourhood approach which works side by side with local residents to determine what their communities priority needs are and how they can be achieved.
Surveying his home town in the midst of transformation, Junior has aspirations for a better life for himself and his community. “In the future I want it to be a nice place to look at and be proud, knowing I can take some credit for it.”