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The Champ de Mars, the largest and most legendary public square in the country

Haiti news - Camp of Mars at the time of the coronavirus

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This Saturday morning, Port-au-Prince shed, not without difficulty, its coat of dust caused by the torrential rains which have befallen the city in recent days. The Haitian capital has for some time been paying a high price for the damage caused by the dense sprawl of homes woven in the face of bad urbanization policies. Flooded with each downpour, dirty with each rain, the mud and dust alternate. The city coexists with its handicaps as its inhabitants live with the Covid-19. Resigned, courageous, forced.

In the streets, the clouds of bikers, motorists, and pedestrians are the vivid testimony of a city that refuses to confine itself, despite the dozens of Covid-19 cases detected daily. And probably the thousands who escape the test radars.

The Champ de Mars, the largest and most legendary public square in the country, continues to welcome its visitors. Loving couples, students, the unemployed who come to kill time in the eternal political debates, sellers of CDs, ice cream or fried foods, shoe shiners, road workers who come rest (...), in short, everyone answers the call. The coronavirus has not lost any habit in the shade of the large trees in the square.

Like the rest of the country, on the Champ de Mars, the spread of the coronavirus epidemic is the least of concern. A forty-something man questioned by the newspaper while he was talking to his friend kicked in touch.

"I can't tell you anything about this disease. I don’t listen to the news because I don’t want to stress myself any more with the statistics on the number of people infected and the number of deaths due to this disease. Besides, you see, I don't even wear a mask. I don't want to think about this disease, ”he says, visibly upset.

A stone's throw away, Jean-Paul devours a work. It is a guide for an industrial designer. Since the beginning of the health crisis, the daily life of this young man has been divided between the Champ de Mars and his house. "Before the crisis, I was studying in the Dominican Republic. I had decided to return voluntarily when the Dominican authorities decided to stop everything. Now, I come here every day to study here at the Champ de Mars so I'm always on the ball when I have to start over with studies, "he said.

Jean-Paul is one of the few people on the Champ de Mars who wore a mask. Protecting yourself remains a matter of education. Those who know are more afraid of the disease than others.

At the Champ de Mars, Jovenel Moïse has dozens of opponents. Before the health crisis, during the episodes of "peyi lòk", these "militants" transformed the Champ de Mars into a battlefield. Even today, they meet to discuss and comment on the decisions taken by the government. These groups, in general, are skeptical about the epidemic.

“I am very close to the disease. It is not the epidemic that is going to kill us but this government has taken no measures to support the population. The government has made sure to bring the disease to Haiti to make our lives worse, "said Israel Montilus.

In another “base” located very close to the Occide Jeanty kiosk, the members believe that they are immune to Covid-19.

"As you can see, we are not wearing a mask. Our group cannot catch coronavirus. We have overcome this disease, ”believes Emmanuel Dagrin.

The latter explains that the members of the group share everything: sachets of water, food, alcoholic drinks, etc. "Sharing and solidarity are the watchwords," he says.

Despite the coronavirus, the reputation of the Champ de Mars as a quintessential recreational location suffers from no anemia. In the afternoon, the Place des Artistes was taken over by hundreds of young people and adults in search of food, alcohol, and pleasure. The kiosks, transformed into a bar, glisten under the lampposts. Guests are spoiled for choice by the decibels and the smell of barbecued chickens. Girls posted in front of each bar are responsible for attracting them. To satisfy all their hunger, to satisfy all appetites.

Louis Enock, the owner of the "Kay chanpyon" bar, located at booth number 5, deplores the devastating effects of the coronavirus on activities at the Champ de Mars. “We are very dependent on nightlife. Before the crisis, we used to work until 2 a.m. This is no longer possible because of the government’s curfew. There are always hundreds of people who come here but we cannot serve them after 8 o'clock in the evening. The agents of the police station of Port-au-Prince come here every evening, from 8 am


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