Where Street Vendors Run Pharmacies Out of Buckets

For Haitians, untrained vendors are the main source of medicine. For the sellers, it's a way to survive.

“You see, I put the ampicillin next to the Tylenol—a packet of pink pills, a packet of blue pills. The colors have to look good together. If my display doesn’t catch the eye, no one will buy anything.”

Aristil Bonord adjusts the blue plastic bucket on his right shoulder as he speaks. Inside it, a steeple of multicolored pills in blister packs rises like a totem. A pair of scissors, used to divvy up the medicine, pokes out at the top. The whole thing is held together with rubber bands.

For more than 20 years Bonord has roamed the streets of Port-au-Prince with this tower of treatments, this chemical Babel. But he is not a pharmacist. He is a vendor.

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