National Geographic : 2006 Feb
LITTLE HAITI, FLORIDA Hand-painted menus and Caribbean scenes adorn the walls at Chez Anouse, where a Haitian breakfast of banane et foie-plantains and liver-costs four dollars. For many Haitians, food provides links to lives left behind. Francesca Philogene framed this shot as Michel Sophie, at right, waited for a traditional dish of fried pork and rice. "She's been living here for two years," Philogene says. "She caught my eye because she was smiling and beautiful:' Not far from the lavish, throbbing party that is Miami Beach, the saints and spirits of voodoo curl through Little Haiti in whis pers. The students from Edison Senior High School who attended National Geographic's photography camp (below) grew up between these worlds, and they have learned to navigate both. Their neighborhood is poor-a third of families live in poverty-and these kids can point out where the drug deals go down or where they last heard shots in the dark. But such things don't define the place for them. Their photographs reveal a bright community where neighbors chat on doorsteps, the slap of domi noes rings truer than the bang of guns, and voodoo-even if it is old school-still matters to people who journeyed here in boats, praying to spirits all the long, uncertain way. These stu dents speak Creole, French, Spanish, and English. They want to be physicists, nurses, and artists. Most plan to build their lives here. And they want their work to show that stereotypes don't apply. "This camp helped me help Little Haiti," Diego Jeanty, 16, wrote in his photo journal. "Because now people can see what Little Haiti really is." BE A NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PHOTOGRAPHER Starting in March, a new NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC feature called Your Shot will showcase readers' photographs. For the first three months Your Shot will feature images from photo camps like the one in Little Haiti. Beginning in June, readers' photos will be pub lished in the magazine and posted on our website. Get more information online at ngm.com/yourshot. Tour more of Little Haiti through the images and words of two photo camp students in a multimedia show at ngm.com/0602.