By James Addis in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
When you see help reaching people who really need it and are intensely grateful for it, the sense of exhilaration knows no bounds. This happened for me a few days ago during a visit to an orphanage in Delmas, Port-au-Prince.
The orphanage was caring for 150 kids with no supplies. Most of them were suffering from diarrhea.
We heard about the needs at the orphanage and arranged to visit. It was very difficult to find a vehicle. Almost every hour, new specialist staff turn up from all over the world—logistics people, health specialists, child specialists. Major food distributions are being organized; staff need to get to U.N. coordination meetings.
Eventually we found a vehicle and loaded up with food, water, and multi-vitamins and set off to visit the orphanage. When we arrived, they were running out of food and they had not had fresh water in two days. They had been boiling water from a local river.
The orphanage was massively overcrowded. Staff had taken in dozens more orphans from another orphanage damaged in the quake. The children were in a terrible state, malnourished and suffering from scabies. There was no electricity.
The orphans pressed around us, holding their arms up begging to be picked up. Their need for affection was intense.
The caregivers were ecstatic as we unloaded the supplies. As we left, they tearfully hugged and kissed us.
We drove home in the dark. But inside, my heart was singing.