Jess Obert

Photographer and Filmmaker
Atop a Mountain, There is Deside
Location: Port au Prince, Haiti
Nationality: American
Biography: I am a visual journalist and filmmaker based between NYC and Haiti. I worked at the The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in Washington, DC, and my work has been published in various publications including Al Jazeera English, Buzzfeed News, The... read on
Public Story
Atop a Mountain, There is Deside
It took 10 hours to reach the village of Deside. On the gravel path, scrambling over rocks, you’d reach the peak of one mountain only to descend and climb again. There’s a Haitian proverb that goes, “Gen mòn dèyè mòn.” There are mountains behind mountains.

There is about 2733 people who make up the community of Deside, and they remain uncounted in the national census. Their attachment to the land they founded is linked to those ancestors who ran so far and so high that they could not be found. Their leader became a chief of a community. Like the Taino before they were killed off by Spanish rule, they live off the land and away from an organized government.

Although Haiti was the first country to abolish slavery in the Western Hemisphere, and the first black republic in the world, its history has not been void of political instability. But this Haiti"Š—"Šhigh in the mountains"Š—"Šremains unclaimed. Here, the community does not know of the rich senators, or the country’s current Petrocaribe scandal where billions of dollars meant for public development, education and health programs was extorted.


Also by Jess Obert —


Thousands displaced in Port-au-Prince

By Jess Obert / Port-au-Prince, Haiti — More than 19,000 people have been displaced from gang violence in the capital of Haiti, and following the..

Ti David

By Jess Obert / Haiti — Little David works as a guide at a sacred waterfall in Saut D’Eau, Haiti. Thousands of Catholics and..

Coronavirus in Haiti: Weakened by past disasters, the country was already in crisis

By Jess Obert / Haiti — Ongoing project covering COVID-19 in Haiti.  From my article written for The New Humanitarian: On a..

The Fallout of the Petrocaribe Scandal in Haiti

By Jess Obert / Haiti — Since July 2018, Haiti has been gripped by political unrest following rising inflation and the embezzlement..

The Marasa's Dance Beneath Kalbas

By Jess Obert / Haiti — On the outskirts of the town of Mirebalais in the Central Plateau, Haiti, I explore the deep integration and..

The Pate Maker

By Jess Obert / Mirebalais, Haiti — Andony Suprème lives in Mirebalais, Haiti, and makes Pate, a type of fried puff pastry enjoyed for..
Join us
For more access