Three years after the worst natural disaster in the history of the Americas — the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti — reconstruction has barely begun.
So far, the promise by aid groups to "Build Haiti back, better" remains just that, with hope fading.
That's the feeling that emerges from interviews with two journalists who have written books about what's happened since the earthquake. The titles of their books hint at why. Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti, gets its title from a conversation author Amy Wilentz had in 1986, the first year she reported from Haiti. Fred Voodoo was foreign correspondents' jargon for what might now be called a streeter (from the old phrase, "man in the street interview").
For Wilentz, the name "sums up outsider attitudes that are ongoing to this day, of lumping all Haitians together and considering them as one downtrodden mass that is superstitious and weird and alien to the outside world."
That Fred Voodoo attitude, she tells CBC News, leads to many decisions being made by aid organizations without input from Haitians, and to the problems that then result.
'The big truck that went by'
A number of things led to Jonathan Katz titling his book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. He wants the title to resonate with readers as an image of aid caravans driving by and continuing on their way but it's also from an early name for the 2010 earthquake in Creole that translates as 'the big truck went by.'
In the very first moments, "a lot of us mistook it for a big truck going by," he tells CBC News. The sounds and sensations of trucks were part of life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital, before the quake devastated the city, he says.
Katz was The Associated Press correspondent in Haiti from 2007 to 2012, when he left staff to write his book.
Of course, there has been some progress. The UN Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says in 2012 about 161,000 left the camps and 262 camps were closed. However 358,000 people are still living in camps in conditions that are rapidly deteriorating, according to OCHA.
Some families left camps because aid agencies gave them $500 in payments called "return cash grants," to pay rent to live somewhere else. That money can cover the cost of non-camp housing for about a year.