Duquesne Fils-Aime, 41, spent months looking for work in his ravaged country of Haiti before taking one of the few steady jobs around: cleaning by hand the putrid canals that are spreading cholera to thousands of Haitians, killing more than 1,100 people already.
"We do the bad," Fils-Aime said, summarizing his work, "and maybe people don't get sick."
In an unbelievable description by The Star Tribune, he descends, stripped to the waist, into the slough of plastic bags and bottles, shredded underwear, shoes, and black globs of an unknown substance. Gasps rise from an astonished crowd as he dunks his head under the fetid slurry.
Fortunate that no animal carcasses were among the filth on that day, Fils-Aime hands garbage to a crew member on land, and little by little they make progress in the canal
On land the debris is made into piles for collection by a truck that may or may not come.
Regardless, the men working here are thankful for the $112 a month, even with the overwhelming risk of getting cholera themselves. "I don't care about cholera," Odvel Etienne, 24, said, emerging from the black water, "we are all going to die someday."