In a sense, you are no longer talking about the earthquake, you are talking about poverty, said Fisher, about the ongoing challenges being faced by those leaving the camps. We are talking about the dearth of resources for taking on the transformation of a country, which has very poor infrastructure, which has most people living in poverty.
Even the people in the camps: Why are they there? Its because they dont have any alternatives. They dont have jobs, Fisher said. This whole issue: Do you build houses or can you use that money to create jobs so that people can make their own choices, Ive come more and more to think shouldnt we be focusing on jobs?
Before the quake, Pauline Louis and her husband Wilbert Jean-Louis scraped a living on his carpentry skills and her sidewalk sales of stylish, secondhand American clothes known as pepe. The money wasnt much but it was just enough to keep a roof over their heads and care for Louis two children from a previous relationship.
These days, even pepe is hard to find.
Some days you go downtown to buy the pepe and you return just as you left empty-handed, said Louis, 37.
Even Jean-Louis hand-made wooden china cabinets and delicately crafted headboards, which sold before the quake, sit for months on a sidewalk along a busy Petionville street.
There is no money in the streets; no activity. The country is broke, he said one recent afternoon, carving a flower on a new headboard at the nameless sidewalk workshop.
For months, the couple have been struggling, trying to come up with the $325 to keep their tiny one-room apartment, also in the Jalousie slum, for another year. Initially, the owner asked $625 but Louis, a tough negotiator, got him to drop his price.
FROM TENT TO SLUM, A TRANSFER OF STRESS
The place isnt much. Theres a small cooking area off the main room where the couple eat, sleep and receive visitors. The inside walls are painted pink; a wall unit, made by Jean-Louis, holds an old model 13-inch television and a few stuffed animals while another is stacked with ceramic dishes and cups. The couples twin bed doubles as a couch.
Jean-Louis 22-year-old brother, Gerald, and Louis 6-year-old cousin, Tracey, whom she recently took in after the girls parents died, also live with them along with the familys pet cat.
The living conditions are far different from tent living, Louis said. But with no steady income, and only the goodwill of her landlord keeping a roof over their heads, she wonders whether she would have been better with a job instead of the house.
We were happy when [the International Organization for Migration] came to remove us. We were living under stress, she said. But what I see is that weve traded one stress for another stress.
Francois Desruisseaux, IOMs program manager for camp management, said surveys showed that while living in the camps, people considered shelter as their main priority. But after relocating to neighborhoods, shelter soon becomes a fourth priority. Finding a job, followed by food and education, become their top concerns.
While the average camp resident received $500 in rental subsidy, they also received an additional $150 for moving and other expenses to help them out.