Ana Kras contributed a photo essay to round out our Fait la Force story of Haiti. Though she travelled with Maia and Emma, each woman had her own journey—as Ana’s alluring photographs show. 

Landing in Port Au Prince is the most beautiful visual chaos my eyes have ever seen. It’s a dust cloud. You drive in circles trying to find a place where you can enter the street you are heading to. Stone barricades pop up randomly and school girls walk around with crisp white ribbons bouncing through the dust. There’s a donkey, and Puff Daddy with a tribal design on his goatee hand-painted on a hair salon wall. Celine Dion smiles widely from the bus as it drives by. There’s a Nike sign in a leaf of the old-school Adidas sign and a big airbrushed Bible at the back end of a truck that vanishes into the dust cloud. There’s another Nike sign in the mouth of a Jesus sticker on the front light of a moped, which fits the entire family of four riding it. The school boys are so elegant, they’re like tiny elder men, walking very focused. Papayas and mangos are eaten over a kitchen sink, curved so the juices drip straight down. Metalworks on the fences resemble 80s geometric shapes, spirals and seagulls painted colorfully and window bars that overlap the fences, like a schizophrenic linear drawing, inducing nausea while I try to capture it all. Turning my head and eyes, following my iPhone display as we drive around.

The first thing I learned in Kreyol was: “Sak passe? Map boule!” which means: “What’s up? I’m boiling!(not chilling)”—and that’s exactly what Haiti is.

Boys in Jacmel came with buckets full of shells to offer to us. We purchased the shells and afterwards the boys ran into the ocean to swim and celebrate the good shell deal they made. The guy with the machine gun was keeping us safe at night:

This is Sam, a cousin of Oblin, a weaver I worked with. She just came back from school that afternoon and changed from her blue school uniform into her Bonjour Paris t-shirt:

All around the city—a lot of building blocks with different hole patterns making crowns on the top of the side wall:

My very favorite thing in Haiti were the metal works they do for the fences and window bars. The geometry and the curves, the colors they paint them, and it’s always more than one layer, a double and triple protection, with implemented seagulls and 80’s abstract shapes. I would get so so nauseous trying to absorb each metalwork pattern as we were driving around. This is me and Maia dressed as true Haitians—patterned to camouflage into the architecture. Maia actually wears, both pants and the shirt, the very typical wire fence patterns seen around Port Au Prince:

Jacmel conch shell and Miss Maia Ruth Lee stretching in the morning:

Turning the basket into a half sphere lampshade, tying the palm leaves to make fringes. Emma pours coffee, I adore the airbrushed mango shaped placemats they make there:

Awww and then there was a bit of a romance. This is Bonito, my little Haitian boyfriend. I bought shells from him after he placed his favorite selects straight on my knees, later he took his white basket, pulled out a piece of hair and said: “She is your hair,” then we fell in love and wrote love letters:

The best man in the hood, the best shirt the best Yin Yang dogs Porter and Simba:

Me and Oblin at the loom, and the legs of his suspicious wife who stood there the whole time we were working. Oblin is such a gentle man with soft eyes and strong arms. He gets the yarn at the local flea markets and then separates the threads making those almond shaped balls of yarn to weave with:

Everything may be dusty but one thing always stays crisp, clean and perfect—the hair ribbons. The large perfectly ironed cotton bows in white, pink, red, and blue, bounce through the dust tied to the braids of the local school sweeties. All the busses are hand painted, all of the billboards are handpainted too! 30 of the same pop drink ads in a row hand painted by the master, to create the same brainwashing ad sensation of repetitive printed billboards in the rest of the world. The busses are so funky, so hip, so religious—Justin Bieber and Celine Dion, Adidas, Nike, Jesus and the Bible:

When in Haiti you have to drink beer—they make such a beautiful beer with a funny nam: Prestige. This is a snap from a reggea night in Jacmel: