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Journey to the centre of the ‘quake

Trucks, cars and motorbikes swerve dementedly across the roads on the approach to Leogane. After a while, I adapt to the swoop of fear in my

Piles of rubble are framed by palm trees

stomach when a truck is driving full pelt on the wrong side of the road in my direction and settle into watching the changing landscape of Haiti.

Leogane was near the epicentre of the earthquake. There is a jarring contrast between the ugliness of the destruction and the tropical beauty of the clear seas and palm trees that frame it.

A special film partnership with ITV brings me to Leogane – to meet the children who’ve been central to a landmark project for Save the Children. Designed as a way for children’s voices to be heard, this is the first time film has been incorporated into Save the Children’s emergency response to help children recover from a disaster. The films are directed, filmed and produced by 6 children affected by the earthquake. I’m really excited to be a part of it.

I’m travelling with ITV’s Emma Murphy and Dave Harman. We pass the crumbled façade of the presidential palace. Emma and Dave have been here several times in the past year for this project. They tell me that what they see from the car window has improved dramatically. There was so much rubble and worse here in the immediate aftermath (Dave flew in just two days after the earthquake) that many of the roads were impassable – a difficulty for journalists as much as aid workers.

I’ve been working on my Creole (with the help of our driver, Peter, who laughs at my mangled attempts).  I’m rewarded when I introduce myself – “mwen rele Catherine”  to 11 year old Jean – whose face lights up.

We ask the children what they would like to talk about in the films they will make tomorrow. Jean worries about cholera and wants to talk about that. He has learnt to wash his hands to prevent the spread of cholera.  I’m amazed to hear that he also knows how to create a special solution (a mix of water, salt and sugar) to treat the violent diarrhoea that cholera causes. Having no idea how to make it myself, I’m very impressed.

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