City Soleil : Eager to learn
Cité Soleil is a small village within the Port-au-Prince in Haiti. Unlike its name–City of the Sun–however, it seems as though there is only a glimpse of light remaining. The city has become poor as its history of rebellion and conflict extorted its economic power. What is more, because the people were not able to have proper drainage system, their home was crammed with unfiltered waste and sewage. Some predict this was an expected outcome of the earthquake in 2010, but it is also true that their lives were under severe condition even before this tragic natural disaster. Overall, this part of the city today is experiencing extreme poverty and hunger, unemployment, formation of armed gangs, violations under violence, as well as various diseases and, for this reason, the United Nations has announced Cité Soleil as one of the most dangerous villages of the world.
The UN Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) has been dispatched since 2004 in order to stabilize the violence but they withdrew since last October.
The City of the Sun is on the brink of losing its light, so as it seems. Ironically, though, the majority portion of the population of Cité Soleil consists of children; that is, 65% of its population is under the age of twenty five. Wherever you turn your eyes, you will see children in this little village–children who are familiar with living amidst trash and pigs. Trash piles are their playground, their place of life. The children in this village are exposed to poverty and violence; they watch and learn from the adults, following their footsteps. They may have not chosen or expected life such as this one. No one does. This is not their choice but what they are born with. They embrace the given and live on within their environment. However, Another finding that surprised me was how passionate these children were about learning. Although many are in critical condition, there are schools here and there all throughout the village and many subjects are taught. Human beings can indeed adjust to their environment but one can nurture the courage to face it through learning. Saying no to their destined environment and learning continuously by dreaming for a better tomorrow, it was their passionate heart for learning that made it possible. This is their story—especially the narratives of the children who prevail in hunger but in sincerity.
Urim Hong, United States, Pasadena