We're finally moved into our own apartment and it feels good to be able to have a place to call our own. We lost track, but are guessing we looked at 25-30 different small homes and apartments before finding one that fell within our budget range and fit the security/safety requirements of the organization for which I work.
What has really been difficult to come to terms with? The price of housing (and everything else) is way out of whack with the realities here! We are paying $2,000/month (yes - U.S.Dollars) for a 2 bedroom apartment with maybe 800 square feet. It is very nice and includes a parking stall but really?! We paid 25% less for our brand new 53rd floor apartment with all amenities including air conditioning and doormen in the middle of Chicago. Supply and Demand - prices went up after so many new aid organizations came in post quake but have been out of reach for most Haitians for a very long time.
To put that into perspective, we've been encouraged to employ the fiance of a longtime employee at Healing Hands. She'll come in 3 days/week to do cleaning, laundry and prepare/leave dinner for us - for the going rate of $62.50 US/month. Another reality check - this morning I paid $115 for two small bags of groceries which will feed 2 of us breakfast and dinner for 4-5 days. Gas is $5-7 US/gallon. The other side of that is that for $2.50 US I can buy a styrofoam container of rice, beans and a little chicken leg from a street vendor and if I have enough time I can buy bags of rice, dried beans, freshly killed meat, etc from other vendors for a little less money that in the market.
I guess it's the reality of living on an island with heavy costs to get things here but low wages paid to those needing to buy them.