January 21, 2013

Soon after a monstrous earthquake devastated much of Haiti three years ago, the mantra among Haitian government leaders and a good share of relief and development agencies was “build back Haiti better.”

It was somewhat catchy and demonstrative of the resiliency of a country battered all too often by Mother Nature.

As the Jan. 12 anniversary of the quake passed, the “build back” slogan has faded from most discussions, but the work of rebuilding – in reality building – a country has moved ahead even if progress has been slow.

More troublesome is the continuing sense of frustration among Haitians – especially among the 360,000 who remain in tent camps – who see little change in their lives or their surroundings.

The emphasis has turned to building the capacity of Haitians from all walks of life to overcome the devastating poverty that has strangled the Caribbean nation for much of its 200-year history.