While people around the world celebrate the arrival of Christmas, residents of a refugee camp in Haiti say hunger and want will mark the holiday, like every other day of the year.
“There are no wreaths, no Christmas trees,” said Titelma Cherival, 54, still living in a makeshift refugee camp almost three years after an earthquake leveled much of this impoverished nation.
“The best Christmas we could hope for is to get out here and have nice life in a normal home,” Cherival said somberly. “But I see little hope of that.”
The faded tent where Cherival shelters with her three children is torn and covered with a tarp to keep out the rain. The camp, located in the Canape Vert neighborhood outside Port-au-Prince, houses nearly 2,000 people.
Residents are compelled to get by as best they can without electricity or running water and — adding insult to injury — in the shadow of a complex of luxury hotels.
The poverty is no greater at Christmas time, but the pain and humiliation of doing without comes into sharp contrast during a season dedicated to gift-giving and merriment in this predominantly Catholic country.