Two years after Haiti's most horrifying 35 seconds, seeds of progress are evident across this battered nation where a devastating earthquake left 300,000 dead and some 1.5 million homeless in its capital and surrounding cities.
But with more than a half-million people still living in squalid camps, and billions of dollars in promised aid still to arrive, much remains to be done for the changes to take root. And some Haiti experts and Haitians worry that the country could still slide backwards without major efforts to create jobs and economic reforms.
"After two years, what can I say? We're still here," said Yvrose Mongerard, who lives in Corail-Cesselesse, a post-quake planned community north of the capital where tens of thousands of people have since set up makeshift camps. "We are not asking for a handout, but if we were working, we would be able to help ourselves. We are not doing anything here, just looking."
Faius Adonis, 56, who lives in a tarp-covered shack with his wife and five children in the southern city of Leogane, agreed that times remain brutally tough, regardless of the reconstruction that is occurring.
"Hard times are killing us," he said. "The tarp doesn't do anything. Two years after the quake, we're still in the streets."
Even as some worry about the slow progress, the country's new president points to positive steps.
"We're moving into bettering the lives of the Haitian people," President Michel Martelly said in an interview with The Miami Herald. "We're moving into getting them out of the tents."
Then again, given our track record on the cleanup after Katrina, it's not like the US has much room to criticize Haiti on the speed of relocating millions who lost their homes to a natural disaster. We're pretty damn bad at that sort of thing too. Replace Port-au-Prince with New Orleans, and America fares as a lousy example. Parts of the Lower Ninth Ward are still a wreck, and it's been three times as long.
Areas of the Crescent City may never get repaired. Pretty awful to think about that in America, but we're all told that the time for further sacrifice is upon us as we bravely fight to give more tax breaks to the fabulously wealthy.
How much of America will soon look like the aftermath of Katrina given the rate that Republicans in power at the state level are gutting infrastructure?