POTD – Notre Dame Cathedral, Port-au-Prince

A blind and still traumatised man is led over the rubble of Notre Dame cathedral in Port-au-Prince by his niece. I spent about 10 minutes here and heard the story of this man Christophe,whose wife had been killed during the quake as she prayed in the Cathedral. He pointed to a roofless room that  had the bodies of 120+ people still buried under the rubble. His wife was amongst those.

This man appeared as we spoke to and started strumming a tuneless song. My ex-legionnaire interpreter/guide/bodyguard then suggested we move on after whispering to me that the man was “mad”.

Walking over the rubble was extremely treacherous with broken stained glass, uneven concrete and jagged reinforcing steel rods poking out. Looking back before leaving i saw the above scene and took the photograph.

I don’t think it is possible to express accurately just how devastated parts of Port-au-Prince are. With Government ministries that were housed in old colonial buildings that collapsed, national records have been lost. The National Archive was lost as was the National library and National Museum. One of the problems the rebuilding and regeneration of Port-au-Prince faces is the issue of ownership of land. The records have all been lost and this is hampering the rebuilding.

edit to add

Here is a video recorded in the ruins of the cathedral sung by the man who i now know to be  Olince Calixte

Photographer and visual artist based in Belfast.
I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast.
My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the Arts Council Northern Ireland.
I’ll be blogging about Arts and Culture, primarily in Belfast
check out www.moochinphotoman.tumblr.com