Life Inside a Haitian Tent City

Early Show anchor Harry Smith is in Haiti reporting on the aftermath of the earthquake there.

The streets of Port-au-Prince don't roll up at night. In fact, they tend to come alive. With no electricity, light comes from candles and lamps. A child in silhouette looks almost serene. Innocence not yet lost to the brutal circumstances.

And when night falls, thoughts turn to supper.

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The main commodity is pate, a Haitian fried patty. And this woman has eggs. Here's some batter. She's got the pan for the oil, the coal fire. There's a kind of commerce, a sense that life is going on somehow.

We're on our way to a camp on the outskirts of town. Our fixer, Sebastian, knows it well. He and his family live there.

"Everybody here is homeless,'' says Sebastian. "And they are trying to make something out of nothing."

An estimated 50,000 people have thrown up makeshift shelters and for now call this home. Life abounds.

Children are heard singing: "Devil get out of my way, because I am coming through."

There are few comforts here. But there is ingenuity. Where generators hum, cell phones and laptops get charged -- for a price. The people in Port-au-Prince are destitute -- and connected.

The people here have such resilience and they have such pride. In the middle of this makeshift camp, a woman is doing her laundry clearly. And she is ironing a pair of pants.

People live here. They have no choice.

Sebastian's son Kisseen and wife Michelle get baked by the sun every day as they wait for Sebastian to return. It's very difficult. People with nothing are jealous of those with just a little.

Is Kisseen afraid to sleep here at night?

"Yea, I am very afraid. Is there any security here? Nah,'' says Kisseen.

But Sebastian is respected. For now, his reputation will keep them safe. I hold Kisseen and wonder what will become of this child, and his mother, and my friend Sebastian.
  • Harry Smith

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