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Five years after quake, emerging northern Haiti faces challenges| Seattle Times


The village of Madras lies at the end of a dusty road in a forgotten corner of Haiti’s northeastern plains, not far from where Christopher Columbus is thought to have established the first European settlement in the “New World” in 1492.Most of its inhabitants have long lived in a way Columbus would have found familiar: gathering salt and small fish to dry in the sun, and relying on oil lamps for light.Last summer the town got its first electricity, thanks to an $18 million, U.S.-financed power plant built to feed the nearby Caracol Industrial Park — an ambitious and still-unfulfilled effort to turn Haiti’s impoverished north into a hub of industry.Now Madras is one of the few places in Haiti with reliable, 24-7 power. Not even the impoverished nation’s sprawling capital, Port-au-Prince, has that luxury. Fourteen households in this town of about 85 families have signed up for it. “Before electricity, we needed to go to bed early,” said Abraham Jaclaire, a gaunt but neatly dressed fisherman, as a French rap song thumped on big loudspeakers nearby.“Now we have music, entertainment, cold drinks. We go to sleep at midnight.” via | Seattle Times

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