In Haiti, Hope Is Still Hard To Find You can see some progress in Haiti two years since the 7.0-magnitude quake hit. But Port-au-Prince is a tour of unrelenting misery and often disturbing images. NPR's Carrie Kahn and Marisa Penaloza report that you can tell the pace of progress by looking into people's eyes — emptiness looks back at you.
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In Haiti, Hope Is Still Hard To Find

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In Haiti, Hope Is Still Hard To Find

In Haiti, Hope Is Still Hard To Find

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This week marks the second anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people died there and the capital city of Port-au-Prince was destroyed in that catastrophic event.

NPR correspondent Carrie Kahn and producer Marisa Penaloza have travelled to Haiti several times since 2010 to report on the rebuilding efforts. And on their most recent visit last month, they saw far less progress than they expected. Here's a page from their reporter's notebook.

MARISA PENALOZA, BYLINE: You can see some progress. It's just the pace is so slow and taking its toll. You see that in people's eyes; the emptiness looks back at you.

ELICIA ANDRE: (Foreign language spoken)

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Marisa, that exactly describes Elicia Andre. We met her back in December at that homeless encampment run by Catholic Relief Services in Port-au-Prince. The charity had just given her $500 to rent an apartment for a year.

BYLINE: Right. There were hardly any tents left at the camp when we talked to her. It was pretty much a huge empty lot with a lot of garbage. We walked to where her tent used to be, where she had been living for the past two years.

ANDRE: (Foreign language spoken)

KAHN: Elicia Andre told us about how her husband had been crushed to death in the earthquake, how she was in a state of shock for so long after, and how she still doesn't know what to do without him.


KAHN: She also kept telling us how much larger of a person she used to be - a sign of affluence in Haiti. Now she's skin and bones.

BYLINE: Since the quake, lots of help has come to Haiti, but it just never seems to be enough. Andre got out of a camp, but so many are stuck...


BYLINE: those still living at Champs de Mars, the sprawling camp right across the street from the National Palace.

KAHN: I've been here many times before, but this time it felt much different walking around. People weren't as willing to talk to us.


BYLINE: They told us to get out or demanded money for interviews. They seemed much angrier and out of patience.


KAHN: Even when you find someone with a more open spirit, that hope quickly faded. Like the boys playing a board game they had made, but complained about how the police always came by and kicked it out from under them. Or the woman eking out a living giving pedicures, yet she lost her foot in the earthquake.


BYLINE: Or those two men who tried to make some music with a rusted bongo drum and a guitar with very a few strings, running right under their feet is open sewage.


KAHN: That huge camp has no running water. But Michelin Tibeaux had a little water to wash her dishes. She's 69 years old. She said she just wants out of there.

BYLINE: She wants what Elicia Andre got - money to rent an apartment. Andre took us to see her new place.


BYLINE: She unlocked the door and showed us in. The walls were white. She had a lace curtain up across the room to separate the room.

ANDRE: (Foreign language spoken)

KAHN: We actually saw a brief smile as she showed off her new home. She even said I'm happy. But then her eyes seemed to go blank again.

BYLINE: Her children aren't staying with her. She can't sleep. She doesn't have a bed.

KAHN: We went to her house really hoping for some sort of happy ending, anything. But that's what it's like in Haiti for now. There just isn't enough help to go around.

I'm Carrie Kahn.

BYLINE: And I'm Marisa Penaloza, NPR News.

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