Saturday, January 30, 2010

Quake-hit Haitians seek a return to normal life

Updated on : Saturday, January 30, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Thousands of vendors -- but few customers -- packed the streets of the destroyed Haitian capital Friday as quake survivors struggled to carve out a return to normal life.

Outside squalid refugee camps and the rubble-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince that have been worst affected by the massive earthquake over two weeks ago, herds of merchants shared roads with brightly-painted passenger vans and honking cargo trucks.

"It's very hard -- there aren't many buyers, but there are lots of sellers," 24-year-old Rose Gardy-Joseph, sitting next to a basket packed neatly with colorful sweets, soft cheeses and napkins, told media.

"We have to come here everyday -- we cannot just sit at home. So we come even if we don't sell anything," she said.

Vendors laid goods -- everything from toys, fruit, piles of shoes, elaborately stacked tubes of toothpaste and phone batteries -- on plastic sheets to protect them from the rotting trash littering the roads.

"We need space for a market because everyday we bring all our things and then we have to take everything down again (at night). It's a lot of work," complained Lucrene Alcin, standing amid her supplies of toilet paper and tampons and an array of flowery dresses hung up on the side of a building.

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