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Sloping down the mountain on John Brown Boulevard, Clovis passes the turnoff to the Hotel Montana, which collapsed during the quake, killing nearly 70 people. It has since reopened. A side road leads to what was once the headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, a former hotel that pancaked to the ground. More than 100 died in the heap of twisted steel and dusty concrete, the highest death toll for a single incident in the history of the world body. There is a vacant lot there now.
Governments around the world have spent about half of the $5.3 billion pledged for Haitian reconstruction. Most of the rubble is gone; there are two new sewage treatment plants north of the capital and a few homes; the U.S. built a new parliament building. Clovis, like many Haitians, said he expected more progress, but he's not bitter.
"I'd like to see more, but I'm not discouraged," he says.
Gliding down the hill, he passes roads that lead to the municipality of Delmas, a scene of horror after the quake. There, people with makeshift tools and bloodied hands scratched at what had been schools and homes, looking for survivors. The big Caribbean Supermarket was packed when the quake hit, just as people were getting off work for the day. It is an empty lot today.
Clovis breezes past. The piles of corpses were removed within weeks of the quake. Thankfully, the white stalk of an occasional bone is a rare sight now.
More than 60,000 survivors from Delmas eventually made their way to the grounds of a golf course and country club along a canyon at the edge of Petionville. Their numbers are down to about 14,000, thanks to rent subsidies from an aid group founded by Sean Penn.
About 45 minutes into his run, some five miles down the mountain, Clovis is in downtown Port-au-Prince, at the National Palace. After the quake, its collapsed domed roof symbolized a country in defeat. A beggar's stump, someone called it. Another empty lot.
The expansive Champs de Mars across the way, with its thousands of devastated families, was in danger of becoming the capital's newest and most massive slum. Most of the people who once camped here have moved on, many edged out with payments from the government or threats of eviction from landowners.
At the National Palace, Clovis turns around. Traffic is much worse and the road back home looks like a giant parking lot. It is a tough slog up the mountain, but Clovis is game.
Just after Christmas, Clovis heard about a marathon in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. A friend drove him to Santo Domingo to run his dream race.
His first marathon.
It took him 2 hours and 42 minutes. That's a six-minute-and-10-second mile. The newspaper recorded his score, even though his name was misspelled.
But Clovis doesn't care. He is running toward his new dream.
He hopes one day there will be a marathon in Haiti and he will get a chance to compete, and win, at home.
"I would like the world to know," he says, "that Haiti has a very talented runner."
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