PORT-AU-PRINCE — Schools in Haiti officially opened on October 3. However, families have kept schoolchildren at home out of fear of violence and the country’s current lockdown as well as a lack of resources. As a result, many children have fallen into a “forced vacation” of sorts, though they’d like to be able to return to school. While in this holding pattern, some youngsters find ways to pass the time. All photos by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times.

At 8:00 a.m. on a Wednesday, October 26, 2022, when the beverages vendor arrives to open his business next to the public square in an area of Delmas, many children are already playing in the street. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Friends Joeavny (in red shorts) and Kerwens (in red top), both 7 years old, live in an area of Delmas. They attend the same neighborhood school and are about to enter the third grade.  Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

“Every morning, I feel like I am on a forced vacation because I would like to go to school,” Joeavny says, using the term vakans fòse in Creole.

The boys enjoy a fun bike ride together while neighborhood friends wait for their turns. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Their body weight being too much for the bicycle made the chain fall off, so Kerwens and Joeavny got down to solve the problem. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Kerwens meets some difficulty putting the chain back on the bike, a not-so-easy task for him. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

A beaming Kerwens asks the drinks vendor to help him find the easiest way to fix the chain. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Despite the salesman's explanation, Kerwens is unable to solve the chain problem. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Other kids in the neighborhood choose to play pick-up soccer games. Not having athletic shoes is far from their minds, focused as they are on having fun. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Children playing football with sandals in a very small space. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times
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Kerwens decides to ride one at a time to avoid having the bike chain problem again. Photo by Marvens Compère for The Haitian Times

Overview:

Since the official opening of school in Haiti on October 3, 2022, many children have fallen into a forced vacation. Some, like the two Delmas boys featured, have no occupation other than riding a bicycle or playing ball in the street.

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Marvens Compere is a documentary filmmaker and still photographer based in Haiti. Over the past 9 years, Marvens has worked on a variety of projects, primarily for international and national non-profit organizations.