huffingtonpost.ca | Sunday, 21st December 2014 11:17 pm EST
As Canadians headed to bed on Christmas night, 2004, a giant earthquake rumbled beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean. I awoke the next morning to news reports of utter devastation. Tsunami waves caused by the earthquake had slammed into coastal villages in Indonesia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, home to some of the world's poorest children and their families.
There was never a question of whether I would head to the region, but how soon. We initially had no idea how many World Vision staff members in the region were alive, or where planes could land. The moment we could connect the dots, I was on a flight to India.
Only after I arrived did I comprehend the scale of the destruction. In harbor communities, huge waves had shoved fishing boats into piles four, five and six high. Some neighborhoods lay in ruins, others weren't there at all. In rural areas, places which just days earlier had looked like dream holidays in vacation brochure were now completely stripped of their palm trees.