I expected to be disappointed. Disappointed that more had not been done; disappointed that there were still families living in squalor in tent cities; disappointed that there was still no
education or health system; disappointed that there wasn’t more progress. And while I saw things that made me frustrated and angry on my fourth trip to Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake, I also came away with a real sense that there is a chance for this country. A chance that wasn’t there before. A chance for a better future in a place that never seems to catch a break, whether from natural disasters or bad governance. There was a very different feeling, a palpable sense of hope in the air this time—especially from Haitians themselves.
While it’s far from the most important thing, the streets are finally mostly clear from rubble (80% now cleared, according to the UN) and the listing or crumbling buildings are finally down, from the Presidential Palace to the Ministry of Finance to many of the flattened apartment buildings. Even though families are still far from housing secure, more than 70% of those displaced by the earthquake are no longer living in tents. Importantly, small businesses are booming, with most average Haitian citizens working in small local enterprise. The economic growth is not as robust as we all would have wanted, but it’s expected to be close to 3%—which, in the current global slowdown, is better than many countries.
But what’s most promising to me is the state