In 2009, I accompanied my partner, David Putt, who was in Haiti to work on clean water projects in some of the rawest slums in Port-au-Prince.
A few weeks after arriving I was taking photographs in Cham Mas, a major square in the centre of Port au Prince. A poor but neatly dressed older man approached me with his arms out, shouting in broken English. “Blan, blan, (foreigner) you don’t know what is happening here.” He thought I was a journalist. He wasn’t being aggressive – I walked towards him, afraid that the UN soldiers patrolling the square would harass or arrest him. Taking off his hat, he spoke again: “they are killing us! We are poor people. Life is very hard. Tell them, them what they are doing to us. Tell them to stop! Tell them to stop!” He began to cry. I held his hand until he composed himself. He put on his hat and slowly walked away.
This encounter moved me to the core and was the beginning of a deeper awareness of the plight of the Haitian majority. I later learned that many people had been killed in Cite Soleil, where the man was from. On a personal level this film is a response to the impassioned plea of the man I met in Cham Mas.