Three weeks I spent in the States and the progress I find in Port au Prince on my return is remarkable. It’s hard to tell if it’s remarkable just because I have been away or because the month of September brought a turning point in the city.
Heading down Delmas, the remains of buildings which have lain untouched for months have disappeared. Near Delmas 75 a concrete stairway leading nowhere is gone, no longer suggesting a complete lack of direction. At the top of Route Panamerican, a glossy billboard announces an enormous hotel and shopping complex coming soon. A few weeks ago it was hard to tell if the working men in hard hats were only bustling around for show and now there is a 15 story tangible form to match the glossy image on the poster. All over town businesses have been painted and cracks repaired.
That’s not to say that everything has been fixed. Far from it. Thousands of families still call public squares home. The square outside my house has been half-cleared and resettled a dozen times in the past six months. There has been no visible progress on the government buildings downtown. The palace remains half demolished and the neg mawon statue is being used as a pole to connect hundreds of people to pirated electricity.
Still, one can’t help but notice the advancement and there is a feeling of progress in the air. Is it the work of the new administration or has simply enough time past to allow for some people to recover their losses? Either way it feels as if the reconstruction process has finally caught momentum.