Valerie Baeriswyl

Location: Haïti
Nationality: Suisse
Biography: Valérie Baeriswyl (35) is vegetarian, outspoken and is especially entertaining when speaking English with her thick French accent. She is also a Swiss photographer who studied photojournalism in Paris, currently based between Haiti and... read on
Public Story
Credits: valerie baeriswyl
Updated: 09/15/16
Location: Anse-à-pitres
Archived as: 
A return of the other side (synopsis)

This reportage was carried out in the camps of Anse-à-Pitres, Haiti border town and close to the Dominican Republic between July 2015 and April 2016.

He denounces the living conditions and shows the daily life of Haitian immigrants forced to return "home" after the foreign regulation plan in the Dominican Republic.

Worried for their lives threatened by civil Dominicans, since June 2015, thousands of people survive amid cactus and dust just outside the small town of Anse-à-Pitre.

The living conditions in these underprivileged lands are untenable and the poor commune authorities cry from the early arrivals inability to handle the situation. It lacks all access to basic services (water, education, health ...) for this new population.

Between June and December, the number of people has been increasing in the camps since they have become no less than four to reach 587 families. Is the most serious current migration crisis in the Caribbean to which the IOM migration of the international organization tries to bring an answer. The families are now enrolled in a relocation process.

In March 2016, some families began to leave. In early May 2016, with few current cases and irreducible whose fate is not yet decided, the camps are emptied.

Reflection about the project

This story takes place in the camps of Anse-a-Pitres, a small town on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. To get to Anse-a-Pitres from Port-au-Prince, the path is very long and monotonous. I had to experience a "boat people", some 4x4, buses and finally motorcycles. It is almost a one-day journey. I went to these camps for the first time right after the fateful month of June 2015. At the end of July this year, I discovered with horror all the Dominicans without any permissions to be there or Dominicans of Haitian lineage who were repressed; exactly like the Haitians who left one day their country to seek for a better life on their neighbor's land : the Dominican Republic. An island for two, which everyone does not want to share in the same way.

When I arrived the first time, I met Pastor Edouane Pierre-Paul, 27, father of 4 children who now all live here with many of his brothers and his father too. He was my guide. We got the opportunity to talk a lot to each other during each of my visit. These camps that are located in the middle of nowhere (or almost), with very few access to basic facilities.

I also met people, some more than once, and others, who just disappeared: I never saw them after the first time I came. There have even been some cases of Cholera.

I went four times in Anse-a-Pitres and Pedernales in order to understand what these people endured. What they risked by crossing the forest every day illegally, just to earn some small incomes. For instance, there was this young 12 years old boy who was carrying wood on his shoulders. Each camp has its own church. And for the school, they do with the simple means they have. It goes without saying that they do not have so many possibilities. In one of those schools, it is one small boy that teach to the other children how to count and how to read.

Today, the camps no longer exist. After nearly one year, people were relocated. This is the last picture of my story. A family in front of their new home.


By Valerie Baeriswyl —


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