Sunday, December 30, 2007

Photos - Coram Deo Workers

Francois is our gatekeeper from Monday to Friday. He is a kind man who communicates well with the people who come to our gate. He is a strong christian and active in his church.

Yonel is our Sunday morning gatekeeper. His son has a cleft lip/palette and we are looking for medical care for him. Yonel has some eye problems as well that we are helping him with. We want his eyesight to be good so he can spot the thieves trying to enter the yard! He is a kind man as well (except when he is chasing a thief out of the yard with his machete!)

Lukner has helped me right from Coram Deo's beginnings. He enjoys helping people and is a good problem solver when we encounter obstacles in finding medical care for sick kids. He also helps the gatekeeper on Sunday mornings watching over the yard. This photo was taken on one of our visits to Cite Soleil. He has family that live in the Ti-Ayiti area.

Friday, December 28, 2007

haiti update - december 28, 2007

“There will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” (Deut. 15:11)

The year 2007 has been a year of changes for Haiti and also for Coram Deo. With a functioning government in place Haiti is making steps to move forward. With the assistance of the UN and training of new police officers the security environment is much improved at the end of the year. Pray for continuing improvements for 2008 and that the country can continue to move forward. This year has also been one of changes for everyone here at Coram Deo. We look forward to continue to serve Him in helping the poor of Haiti. We lift out a hand to help those in need. We don’t know what God’s plans are for 2008 but we know for sure that our hand will be open to the people here in Haiti working by His grace and strength.
The Haitian government held several gatherings over Christmas. President Preval hosted a Christmas party for handicapped children. He made a plea to the gangs to stop kidnapping children. While kidnapping rates have gone down compared to last year kidnappers are now primarily targeting children. Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis hosted a Christmas party at the Carrefour sport center for children in the community. He explained to the children what Christmas is and told them that “The bible tells us that Christmas is the time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus who was sent to save us from our sins”. It is good to hear the leaders of the country openly acknowledge who Jesus is. Pray for those in government as they lead the country forward.
On the street around Coram Deo it was pretty busy around Christmas. With the new depot across the street music was blaring throughout the night and quite a few drunken people were dancing on the street throughout the night and on Christmas day too. We made sure the gate was closed so that none would come stumbling into the yard! Jacob went home to visit with his uncle and family for the first time in 2 years and he was happy to be able to spend some time with them. Benson had a visit from his brother Emmanuel and we are trying to arrange for him to spend some time with his aunt and family as well.
We renewed the insurance on the pickup truck this week and it took 6 hours to do so. It used to be easy and well organized at the government insurance office but now it is chaos. There are a couple of new procedures to follow now before insurance can be renewed. An “expertise” must be done where an inspector checks the serial and motor number of the car. The difficult thing is to find an inspector. They stand out on the street in front of the insurance office. Because this is new everyone has to search for an inspector. I just looked for a vehicle with the front hood up and finally found one willing to check the numbers. It was an hour wait for the office people to check the number he wrote with the number they have on file. After this we had to go to another office called “informatique” where they check to make sure that all the information is recorded on the computer. This process took an hour. At both of these offices when they hand back the papers everyone crowds around the official and he announces the names and passes the papers back through the crowd. After the “informatique” office gives back the paper it is now time to stand in line to pay for insurance. The problem is that racketeers are in cahoots with the security people and keep getting let in to the front of the line. People waiting in line get angry and there is some pushing as people try to hold their place. This took a couple of hours before we finally got to the front of the line. It was a good workout! At least I have insurance for another year on the pickup truck and only have to go through this process once a year!
Loudrije came to the house on Christmas morning with a bad burn on the back of her leg. We have been changing the dressings every day and the burn is starting to heal. Before coming to us she put a “home remedy” on the burn. It was some sort of laundry soap/bleach powder that is supposed to dry up the burn. On the first dressing we had to remove all this blue stuff.
Emmanuella never recovered after surgery to remove her shunt and she died early Sunday morning. The hospital on Airport Rd. doesn’t have a morgue so we brought her to the morgue at the downtown General Hospital. Pray for the Marcellus family during this time of loss.
My nephew John is out of the hospital and doing well after having the shunt tubing revised in his abdomen. Pray that the shunt continues to function well and for no infection.
The month of December has also been a busy time for cocaine shipments into Haiti. The government announced that for the first 15 days of December 4 planeloads of cocaine entered the country using clandestine airstrips. 2 shipments arrived at Madras, 1 at Anse-a-Pitre and 1 at Flamond. They estimate that each shipment carries one tonne of cocaine. The plane is destroyed after unloading. All terrain vehicles are used to transport the cargo and the community around the airstrips refuse to co-operate with authorities. Sometimes shipments are dropped by bales into the sea and picked up by speed boats as well. There is not much the government can do to stop these activities as they lack resources and personnel to do such a task.
A UN task force uncovered a problem of corruption and mismanagement involving millions of dollars in contracts for fuel, food, construction and other materials used by UN peacekeeping operations in Congo and Haiti. 5 UN employees in Haiti were charged with misconduct after the task force established that they had steered a 10 million dollar a year fuel contract to a Haitian company.
That’s all the news for today. Have a blessed New Year!
Karen Bultje

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Photos - John

This is my nephew John. This photo is more than a year ago so he has grown some since this picture. He will be traveling to the Shriners Hospital in Montreal in 2008 to get surgery to straighten his feet. Right now he can't go in his stander because of his feet. Hopefully after this surgery is done he can continue with his therapy and strengthen his legs.

While awaiting surgery on Friday to revise the shunt due to the blockage in the tubing by his abdomen the doctors periodically drained off fluid from the shunt valve. The bulge on the left side of his head is the shunt valve. He always made sure to say thank you when the doctors used a needle. He's a fun kid to be around!

He can manoeuver himself around good and is active. Pray he recovers from his most recent surgery without any ill effects and also for good health as his upcoming orthopedic surgery date approaches.

Haiti Update - December 22, 2007

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:1-6

Christians the world over celebrate Christmas by remembering God’s gift to us of a savior, Jesus Christ. This past week Manu and Jacob and the children of Christian Light School, which is a mission school directed by Sheri put on a Christmas program. Each class sang Christmas songs that they had learned. The kids enjoyed putting on the program and the parents enjoyed watching them. Now there is Christmas break for all the schools until January 7th. I’ll have to think up some things to keep them occupied until then!
I helped another organization get a medical visa this week for Brenda who is a baby with hydrocephalus. She will be leaving for the United States after Christmas.
Emerson Simplice had his cleft lip/reconstructive surgery and is now recuperating at the home of his host family. The surgery took all day and he was only in the hospital for 2 days. We don’t have a photo yet of what his new face looks like but we are eagerly awaiting one. His family is happy that the operation went well.
Junior Pierre’s hands are healing well. Dr. Ed came over this week and removed a damaged fingernail and that morning Junior removed the last large crust connected to his thumb. He now helps around the house by raking the yard early in the morning. He is enjoying being able to use his hands and told me that he wants to be an artist. We give the Lord thanks that now that his hands are healing he will be able to pursue this dream.
We found out this week that another of the hydrocephalus children recently operated on died at home. The child’s name was Betlove Jean Pierre. From what was told to me the suture site from the ventriculoscopy opened up and the CSF fluid from the brain leaked out quickly. The family didn’t know enough to put pressure on the site and he then died from the loss of CSF fluid.
Emmanuella saw the neurosurgeon who was in charge of the post-op process but he told the mother that she needed to see a pediatrician first. She was in bad shape so we went in search of a hospital Like Mary’s search for a place to deliver her child we searched for a hospital. Hydrocephalus is a medical problem that hospitals are not eager to see. Because the surgery was done by the Miami medical team the state hospital downtown won’t accept the case. The state hospital on Delmas 33 where the surgeries were done was not an eager participant in the surgical and post-op process. Doctors, nurses and even the administration did not want anything to do with these kids so we couldn’t go there either. We then went to a children’s mission hospital on Tabarre and this hospital said no as well. Our last option was Bernard Mevs Hospital on Airport Rd. I spoke with the 2 doctors who run the hospital and explained the problems with the post-op process and they had already heard about them. I told them that the people involved with the state hospital didn’t want anything to do with helping these kids and the doctors kindly said that they would give the green light to any hydrocephalus children in need of post-op care. Emmanuella was admitted and the shunt was removed later in the afternoon. Now Emmanuella is receiving antibiotics and can hopefully recover from this ordeal. We give the Lord thanks that there are caring medical people who are willing to help hydrocephalus children.
My sister Tanya just received confirmation that her adopted Haitian son John got his immigration papers issued after waiting 11 years. John went to Canada 11 years ago for surgery to treat his hydrocephalus. His head circumference then was 83 cm. He has had a few surgeries since that time and has grown to be a big boy! Because of the wait to get his first surgery there was some neurological damage and he has some handicaps because of this but he is very vocal and the class clown! Handicapped people face a challenge of immigrating to Canada. They are basically not welcome and their files are flagged with the same code as dangerous criminals and terrorists. It took 11 years of battling government bureaucracy and red tape between Haiti and Canada but John can now officially be a resident of Canada! Because Canada has a public health system all his medical care had to be paid for and we give the Lord thanks for the generous donations over the years for John’s care. He will be able to receive a public health card in 3 months. The problem is that this week he started vomiting and it was determined on Thursday that the shunt was blocked. An emergency surgery was done on Friday afternoon and he is now recovering in the hospital. They measured the pressure in his brain on Thursday and it was in the 30’s level and normal is around 12. This is why he had the vomiting. Periodically during the day on Friday they removed fluid from the shunt valve as his respirations were starting to be affected by the pressure. He is a very cooperative patient. Every time the doctors used a needle he always said “thank-you” when they were done. He is making everyone laugh. He even tells the hospital staff when a word is said that he thinks is bad. They asked him who taught him about the “bad words” and he proudly said “my grandfather!”. Pray that the public health card 3-month waiting period can be waived. Looks like the red tape isn’t finished yet! Pray for healing mercies for John and that he can continue with his spirit of encouragement to all those around him.
The Haitian government has been pushing the problems of handicapped people living in Haiti since President Preval’s speech of May 17, 2007. Dr. Michel Pean, who is Secretary of State for the Integration of Handicapped People is happy that the problems of exclusion that the handicapped are faced with are being considered by the state. On December 14th there was an honor ceremony put on by the Ministry of Education in recognition of the handicapped who successfully passed the state exams at the 6eme AF, 9emeAF, rheto and philo levels. In the newspaper there was a photo on the front page of a girl writing her exam using her foot as she had no arms. Pray for continued government action for the rights of the handicapped. Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Beyond Borders) announced on December 17th that they are ending their operations in Cite Soleil at the St. Catherine Hospital because of the improvement in the security. Responsibility for this hospital will be handed back to the Haiti Ministry of Health at the end of the year. During the time that Medecins Sans Frontieres ran the hospital they treated over 100,000 cases and delivered more than 1,500 babies. They will focus on other parts of the city now and are calling on other organizations to step in and continue funding treatment within Cite Soleil. We at Coram Deo would like to thank everyone for their support this year and wish everyone a Blessed Christmas!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Photos - Hydrocephalus Children

We were at Bernard Mevs Hospital located off of Airport Rd today and saw Stephanie St. Fleur who was operated on a year ago as part of the hydrocephalus program. She was born with spina bifida. It is good to see her healthy and developing well. She has a shunt and because the operation was done while she was a young infant her head size is normal.

We also saw Schnaido Fortune in the hospital there as well. He was hospitalized after having a seizure. He has been in an orphanage near the airport for the last couple of years. He is resting in this photo and was discharged later in the afternoon.

Phoebee Etienne is a child from the most recent hydrocephalus surgeries. She is doing well. We give the Lord thanks for children who get through the post-op process problem free. After the surgeries are over we only usually see the problem cases so it is great when we see healthy and developing children!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Photos - Christmas Play

Today was the christmas program at the school that Manu and Jacob attend. The name of the school is Christian Light School and it is run by Sheri, who is an American missionary. The curriculum is based on the Abeka home schooling program and the children also study creole and french. Manu is in grade 3 this year.

Jacob is in Grade 2 this year. All the classes sang well and they sang songs in creole, french and english.

There was a skit performed of the christmas story. One of the children was the donkey but he got scared in front of all the parents and wouldn't budge!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Photos - Christmas Donation, Emmanuella

We were blessed this week with a donation of Feed My Starving Children food that was distributed by Love a Child. These rice food packets are complete meals that also contain soy protein, dehydrated vegetables and spices. This means we don't have to buy rice and this food is also more nutritious too! This is Fedner unloading the pickup.

As part of the christmas donations were also 6 boxes of McDonalds toys. These are the children living here at Coram Deo (from left to right - Manu, Benson, Jacob, Sammy, Paulna). This large quantity enables us to also help the children of Willy and Joel's schools in Cite Soleil, Pastor Pierre's church and school in the mountains of Kenscoff and even Pastor Octave's school across the street enjoy a christmas gift.

The poor have a struggle to provide for their families. With the regular food donations we are able to continue to share with those in need. The young baby, Emmanuella was recently operated on in the last round of hydrocephalus surgeries. Keep the Marcellus family in prayer and that 2008 will be better for them.

Emmanuella has a post-op problem. It started out as a small pin sized black skin discoloration over the shunt. Now the skin opening has widened to this size and the shunt valve is exposed. Tomorrow she is seeing the haitian neurosurgeon who is handling the post-op care for the hydrocephalus program. Pray that things can be arranged so that he can remove the shunt quickly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

photos - medical cases

This is a photo of Emerson Simplice living it up in the USA!

Here is a photo of Pharah Simeon and her mother. I tried to get a photo of her holding onto her bottle but she wasn't hungry and not interested to hold onto it.

Here is a photo of Fritzlo. God has a plan for each and every one of us.

This is a photo of Junior Pierre, happy to be off the streets.

Junior has a severe case of Norwegion crusted scabies on his hands. Gradually these crusts will fall off after treatment but he may still have some deformity of a couple of fingers.

haiti update - december 12, 2007

“For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” Psalm 33:4,5

Hi! It’s been a busy few weeks. For Christians, Christmas is a time to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ but for others it means something else. In Haiti, criminal activity increases as criminals prepare for a festive Christmas and New Years. In order for them to celebrate they need money and resort to stealing to get it. We had our second experience a couple of weeks ago with the “Judas Gang”. While we were at church 3 thieves tried to break into the house again but this time they didn’t succeed. After the first break-in, I asked Lukner if he could be there with the gatekeeper on Sunday mornings so that the gatekeeper wouldn’t be by himself in the yard. I also gave them a couple of machetes to protect themselves with. Around 10:00am the Judas gang entered into the yard by climbing the low wall on the side of our property. The gatekeeper heard a thud when one of them landed and got up to see what the noise was. He asked the thief what he was doing in the yard and the thief reached into his knapsack and pulled out a knife and he then started approaching the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper raised his machete in defense and Lukner came running from the back. When the thief saw this he turned and ran to the back wall and climbed over it. Because there is broken glass along the top of the wall he got injured. 2 of the thieves ran by the Delmas 31 market area. The thief dropped his knapsack there which was later found. Inside it was a hacksaw. Some people did grab them thinking they were thieves but these guys talked their way out of being caught by saying that they were running away from a gambling discussion. The 3rd guy jumped over the barrier at the front of the property and ran down the street. We give the Lord thanks that the workers here at the house didn’t get hurt and that the computer my dad brought with him didn’t get stolen. The 1st and 2nd break-ins are related and we now know all the details of what happened and the identities of those involved. Pray for the police investigation and that I can get my computer back. Pray also for the preparations of a work team that is coming to Haiti to make the wall higher and to make the yard more “thief-proof”. This will most likely be done in February 2008.
Workers from the mayor’s office caused some problems on our street corner too. One morning they came and started smashing the tables of the food vendors on the corner. The people got angry and in return smashed the windshield of the vehicle the mayor’s workers drove. A friend of Lukner’s has a small display stand and he asked if he could keep it in the yard until the problems were over. I charged him rent of a couple of batteries that I needed for the clock. After a while things calmed down and the next day the food vendors were back in place!
On December 13th Emerson Simplice gets his cleft lip/reconstructive surgery. Keep him and the doctors in prayer. It will be great to see his new face!
Pharah Simeon is a hydrocephalus baby that may be getting the opportunity to travel to the United States for brain surgery. Her head circumference is now around 80 cm but she can hold a baby bottle and drink by herself. Pray things can be set up for her.
This past week a couple of babies died. Sammie Bernier, the spina bifida baby operated on from the recent hydrocephalus surgeries died. The shunt failed. A young mother came to our gate a couple of weeks ago with a tiny baby. His name was Fritzlo and he was 2 months old and very skinny. I asked Dorothy if she could look after him. Her ministry is to help babies in need. After medical testing was done it was determined that the baby was in kidney failure. The Lord called him home on Saturday morning.
Junior Pierre, a 14 year old street kid came by our gate a couple of weeks ago. He was at the gate the time I was bringing Manu and Jacob to school and he didn’t say anything. He followed behind us on the walk to school and after we arrived at school I turned and asked him why he was following us. He had his hands tucked inside his pockets. He said that he was sick and then showed me his hands. They were not in good shape. Ed, a missionary doctor came and saw him and he arranged for a dermatologist to see him. It was then that we found out that he had Norwegian crusted scabies. He has had this now for 2 years without medical treatment and it was very advanced. Now he is getting a medicated skin cream on his hands and most of the crusts have fallen off. He now is starting to get use of his fingers again and is thankful for this. He is living with us for the the next while. He is also thankful to be off the streets. His home for the last few years was the street behind the television station on Delmas. After his mother died noone else in his extended family would take him in so he has been left to fend for himself on the streets of Port-au-Prince the last few years. Originally he is from Cap Haitien. He is also illiterate because he has never been to school. Pray for his medical treatment and that a home can be found for him.
The next round of hydrocephalus evaluations will most likely be in January. We already have 9 children registered in these next evaluations. Pray for the preparations being made.
In 2000 a Global Campaign for Education was made by all the countries of the world. The goal is that by the year 2015 every child has access to an education. At this midway point a progress report was made and unfortunately Haiti is in last place out of 178 countries with a score of 2 out of 100. The bottom 5 nations are Haiti, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Micronesia and the Central African Republic. The top 5 developing countries are Mauritius, Latvia, Uruguay, Hungary and Slovakia. Now that the security situation in Haiti is improving maybe better efforts can now be made to develop the education system of the country’s children.
This week a new electoral council has been put into place by the president. An election of 1/3 of the senate seats was supposed to be held in November 2007. Problems with the electoral council caused the temporary postponing of these elections. These problems were because other council members accused the president, secretary and treasurer of the council of embezzling funds and plotting to have a fellow member killed. With the new electoral council in place the senatorial election plans can now proceed.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good day!
Karen Bultje