Jalousie: City in the Sky
Uphill from Port-au-Prince is the suburb/neighborhood of Petionville. It’s where you’ll find many swanky restaurants, luxury hotels, and beautiful homes with stunning views. It’s also where you find tiny cinderblock houses, even corrugated metal shacks, tucked in between the nice properties. Some of the houses get more spectacular the higher you go up the hill. But take a different road and you will end up in a totally different neighborhood: Jalousie.
Jalousie is a slum of about 45,000 residents, perched on the hills behind Petionville. The residents in Jalousie most likely don’t have cars, so getting home is a long, hot hike up the mountain. Earlier this year the government initiated a $1.4 million effort titled “Beauty versus Poverty: Jalousie in Colors.” Over a period of about 6 months, they painted the houses of Jalousie in a rainbow of colors. It was homage to the famous Haitian painter Prefete Duffaut, who created fantastical paintings of multicolored houses floating in the sky.
Many people, including those in and outside of Jalousie welcomed the project. But the project was met a fair amount of criticism too. Many people have questioned why the neighborhood of Jalousie was the first one to benefit from the project. As this article states, “Critics have suggested that the choice of Jalousie is as much about giving the posh hotels of Petionville a pretty view as helping the slum’s residents.”
Either way, you have to admit, the houses look really cool. I took these photos from the top of a building in Petionville. Click on the photos for more detail – especially the top photo. It’s actually 3 photos stitched into 1 using the software from photostitcher.com.