A canal filled with trash flows through the center of Cité Soleil, a community near Port-au-Prince. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A woman empties a bucket of water onto the banks of one of the many canals running through the commune of Cité Soleil. Residents often dispose of their sewage in these canals. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A young girl stands on the banks of one of the many garbage-lined streams of water flowing through Cité Soleil. The community has a reputation of being one of the most dangerous areas in the capital of Port-au-Prince. It has been riddled with incidents of gang violence for the past two decades. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A fisherman tends to his nets on a dock in Cité Soleil. With few businesses located within the confines of Cité Soleil, fishing is an important way to generate income and sustenance. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A fisherman's catch sits in a bucket on a dock in Cité Soleil. Some of the fish will be kept by the fisherman, while the rest will be sold to other members of the community. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A group of fishermen leave for a day of fishing from a dock in Cité Soleil. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
As some fishermen leave for the day, others return after an early morning fishing trip. Fishing generates an important source of income for those in the community with the means and ability. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A young girl stands on the bow of a fishing boat docked on the shoreline of Cité Soleil. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A group of young men taunt an eel brought in with a fisherman's catch in Cité Soleil. The community is lively in the early mornings—fishermen return with the day's catch, families head to water stations to obtain potable water, and those with steady jobs go to work. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
Two women cross a field in Cité Soleil. They carry necessities for the day on their heads. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A stream of water and sewage on a street in Cité Soleil. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
Two children cool off from the afternoon heat in Cité Soleil. The community has high rates of child deaths from diarrheal diseases, according to Haiti Clinic. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if basic water sanitation precautions had been taken. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A young boy starts his day by splashing water on his face outside his home in Cité Soleil. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A woman passes a water station in Cité Soleil. The system is usually run by a person who sits inside, and community members can pay for buckets of clean water during hours of operation. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A man fills a bucket with water from a holding box outside of his house. Cité Soleil has very few working sewage systems, so most residents must buy purified water every day. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A young man waits for a water pump to open on a Sunday morning in Cité Soleil. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A man sits and waits for a water pump to begin operating as water slowly drips into the buckets placed below the spout in Cité Soleil. Using a water pump to obtain purified water often costs a small fee, and users must wait for someone to come turn on the pump. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.
A water tower across from a neighborhood block in Cité Soleil, one of the poorest communities in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The community lacks adequate sewage and water sanitation systems, so if the people of Cité Soleil want clean water, they must buy it daily. Image by Meghan Dhaliwal. Haiti, 2012.

In 2005 Cité Soleil was called “a microcosm of all the ills in Haitian society” in The Magazine of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. The article referred to the high rates of illiteracy and joblessness, water sanitation and sewage issues, as well as the violence that plagued the community that sits just outside the Haitian metropolis of Port-au-Prince.

The Cité Soleil of today is not much different—the violence has somewhat subsided, but the other problems, especially those of water sanitation and sewage, persist.

For residents of Cité Soleil, water is central to life: they fish from water, swim in it, drink it, and live life surrounded by it. But with a life dependent on water in a country with a poor water and sanitation infrastructure comes a high risk of contracting water-borne illness.

Since the cholera outbreak in October 2010, residents must be especially cautious—drinking purified water and using latrines should have quickly become routine, but because of lack of resources it has not. Today, two years after the initial outbreak, life in Cité Soleil goes on: a delicate dance around water both vital and potentially lethal.

Project

Before the international response to the earthquake of 2010 one challenge Haiti didn't face was cholera. Now it does, with 7,000 already dead and a continuing challenge for the entire country.

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