“Since July 8, violence has been increasing in Cité Solei and especially in the area where I live, called Brooklyn. There was a lot of fighting in the streets and everyone was very nervous. We can’t leave the house most of the time and there’s no traffic coming in and out of the neighborhood.
This causes a lot of problems especially lack of food and water. Sometimes I can share food with my neighbors, but many people are hungry. The amount of drinking water available has tripled in price.
We have a greeting in our language, Creole, when someone leaves the house we tell them to be “careful” or be careful, but this expression has now lost its meaning because of life. Our life is very dangerous. You think you’re safe at home but bullet knows every street and back alley in our neighborhood.
The cycle of fear, stress and despair
If a friend or family member tries to leave the Cité Soleil, we begin to worry that they have been killed if we do not hear from them during the day. This adds even more anxiety to our already traumatized lives.
I go to bed and wake up to intense gunfire, but, even if the gunshots terrify me, I try to use the rhythmic sound of bullets to lull me to sleep; This is the only way I can survive this difficult period. Sometimes you can use music to get rid of the noise of continuous shooting, but not when the footage is shot too close to your house; it’s just too big.
My life is now a cycle of fear, stress and despair. I go through at least one of these feelings all the time and I just want them to stop, so I can get back to normal.
Fight for a simple but ordinary life
Even so, I still have some hope and stay optimistic. The work I am doing with the youth group Comite Consultatif des Jeunes is helping me through this difficult time.
The group organizes activities that bring together young people from Cité Soleil, and two other neighborhoods, Saint-Martin and Bel-Air, which are controlled by rival gangs. We bring hundreds of children together to enjoy sports, music or play board games like chess.
We are working with young women and men to build friendships and networks of support in the wider community. In a way, as the war continues around us, we are fighting for a normal but simple life where you can go for a walk with friends, find a job or start a business. small business. Of course, it hasn’t been able to perform any of these operations for the past two weeks.
Listen to our voices
I am committed to working with young people to improve their lives and I see myself as a leader. Being on the committee gives me confidence and helps empower me and the nine other members.
We want our voices to be heard outside of Cité Soleil, because if no one hears us, nothing will change. If those who live in the rest of Port-au-Prince or indeed anywhere in the world hear us, we cannot be forgotten, and we can work together to change that. change your life for the better.
* Not his real name