If there is a metaphor that describes the challenges facing Haiti's newly ratified Prime Minister Michele Duvivier Pierre-Louis, look no further than the Port-au-Prince neighborhood that once served as home to American dance icon Katherine Dunham.
Smack in the middle of squalor, in a neighborhood marred by years of gang violence, stands 30 acres of overgrown forest, fruit trees and clogged natural springs. They surround Dunham's famous but now rundown private residence, along with the dozens of bungalows and emptied swimming pools that once defined the world-famous Habitation Leclerc resort.
For the past year, Pierre-Louis has been quietly transforming the endangered estate in Martissant into a modern-day Eden, complete with a cultural center and botanical garden.
''It can be part of reviving a community, fighting against insecurity,'' Pierre-Louis, 60, told The Miami Herald back when armed gangs and squatters made her plan seem more like a distant dream than an achievable reality.
Pierre-Louis, a member of Haiti's privileged class, has risen above the country's rigid caste system to become one of its most respected grass-roots advocates and popular international speakers. Part of her appeal is her unflinching ability to tackle challenges.
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