Tuesday, February 26, 2008

photos - cite soleil clinic - people

Ismanie Borchant is a young girl who has a heart problem. We are going to get an exam done to find out exactly what is wrong and then start a medical search for her in the United States.

Ashley Alexandre is a young boy who has seizures. We are going to take him to CES (Centre Education Special) to get an evaluation done.

Willem Veridieu is a man who got shot in the back in 2005. This has left him paralyzed and he is now confined to a wheelchair. He came to the door asking for help to get another wheelchair. The wheelchair is starting to fall apart and needs to be replaced. We will contact a mission here in Port-au-Prince to see if they can help him out.

Edan Jules is 18 years old and developed seizures a year ago. He is another person who came to the door with his mother asking for help. We are going to bring him for an evaluation as well to find out what is causing the seizures. Keep these people in prayer.

photos - cite soleil clinic - security

Cite Soleil is still considered a red zone. To protect the medical team the Brazilian soldiers from the UN kept an eye out. Here is a tank at the end of the street.

Soldiers patrolled the street around the school. A couple of soldiers stood outside of the school building.

Here is an up close shot of the tank by the front door of the school.

The haitian police also helped in providing security. 2 police officers sat inside the school keeping a watch over the proceedings.

And the last security force involved were the "keepers of the rope". These 3 men are from Coram Deo. The man on the left is the father of a hydrocephalus baby. Lukner is the guy with the shades and the guy sitting next to him is his brother. If the rope was lowered you could get in, otherwise you stayed outside. I stayed at the front entrance too talking with people who came to the clinic and also to people on the street. We give the Lord thanks for a nice safe day!

photos - cite soleil clinic - medical team

On Monday, Dr. Ed brought a medical team from New Hampshire to do a medical clinic in Cite Soleil at Willy and Joel's school. The first step in the process is the registration station. Both medical and dental cases were seen.

Here are patients waiting in line to see a doctor.

This is the consulting room. 3 doctors saw patients throughout the day and they were kept busy.

This is the dental room where people had their teeth cleaned/filled or pulled. There were always people peeking in the door to watch.

After seeing a doctor or getting dental treatment patients went to the pharmacy room where medecine was given to the patient based on the doctor's prescription. We are thankful that a lot of people were helped at this clinic.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

photos - soccer day

Every Saturday afternoon the private catholic boys school St. Louis, located on Delmas 31 opens up their fields for people in the community to play soccer. Hundreds of people use the grounds each Saturday afternoon.

We found a corner somewhere for the kids to play.

Benson would rather play in bare feet.

Manu takes his soccer seriously and wants to join a soccer team.

Jacob and Benson like to play soccer as well. The children look forward to these Saturday afternoon outings.

photos - pharah's surgery

The pressure in Pharah Simeon's head causes sundowning of the eyes. In order to focus better she pulls down her eyelid so that she can see better. I have never seen a hydrocephalus baby do this before. It shows how much the brain is still thriving despite the pressure.

This is Pharah in her hospital bed after surgery. You can tell that the pressure has been relieved as the fontanels in her head are starting to sink. Over time the bones will come together and the head will be somewhat smaller.

Pharah enjoys people and her host family lovingly cares for her in the United States.

We give the Lord thanks for the efforts of the neurosurgeon Dr. Benjamin Warf and Dupont Children's Hospital located in Wilmington, Delaware. All of Pharah's medical care is donated.

Here is Pharah with a smaller head and no sundowning eyes. She has an opportunity now to live. She will spend the next several months with her host family and under the post-op care of Dr. Warf.

Friday, February 22, 2008

photos - medical cases

This is Iliodor Noel getting out of the car. We picked him up from the hospital and he will now spend some time recovering here at Coram Deo. He is still weak and shaky with the crutches but with some good food and rest he should get stronger over time. Keep him in prayer.

This man has a gangrene leg that needs to be amputated. He has now been in the emergency department at the hospital for two weeks. He is desperate to have his leg amputated as well. It is too uncomfortable laying in bed so he spends his time sitting in a chair. Keep him in prayer as we try to get him his surgery.

We give the Lord thanks that Naphtalie Bazile was able to get her passport and visa this week. She will be travelling soon for brain surgery to treat her hydrocephalus. She has a caring family.

Marie Nesly Celestin is a child that was operated on in the last round of hydrocephalus surgeries done in Haiti at the end of October. She was delivered caesarean section because of her large head and at 3 days of age was operated on to put in a shunt to drain the excess fluid. The shunt worked fine until January. Now the head is growing. In the last round of surgeries there were 3 shunt surgeries performed. 2 of these children died and now this one has a failed shunt which results in a 100% failure rate. Pray that a good post-op process can be developed here in Haiti for those children that are operated on here.

This happy baby is Junior Dan and he has a minor cleft lip. He may be able to get this corrected here in Haiti. There is a plastic surgery team coming in March to Hinche. Pray for their efforts

haiti update - february 22, 2008

“I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame.” Job 29:15

Hi! This week has been a busy week. Both walls now have supports built into them so they won’t be falling down anytime soon. The children’s room also got a fresh coat of paint as well and the depot got cleaned out too. The visitors were delayed at the Port-au-Prince airport because the flight crew had to take a scheduled rest. The 2 hours delay caused them to miss their connecting flight in Miami but it was alright because the airline paid for the hotel and food! They arrived safely back in Canada after their stayover in Miami.
Iliodor Noel is recovering well after having his lower right leg amputated. He will be discharged from the hospital today and he will be staying here at the house until we can organize his prosthesis at Healing Hands. He is already asking when he can get an artificial leg and I think he is eager to return to the village. Pray for him as he continues to recover and also that he can get a prosthesis. People in the village believe his foot got gangrene because his foot passed over a frog. He didn’t kill the frog so the evil spirit in the frog entered his foot and caused the gangrene. Even Marie who lives here believes that he must have been cursed. In the Haitian culture illnesses and accidents are always believed to be caused by a “fetish” (curse that someone has placed on a person). Marie even thought that this is why the doctors would not originally treat his foot in the emergency department because they didn’t want to get in the way of the curse.
We received photos this week of Pharah Simeon. She had her surgery to treat her hydrocephalus and her head looks good. The pressure on the brain is relieved and her eyes are no longer sundowning. The plan is for her to remain in the United States for 6 months. This allows a longer post-op follow up, which is lacking here in Haiti. With these brain surgeries within the first month the complication rate is around 1 in 12. After 6 months the complication rate is reduced significantly to around 1 in 5000. Pray for her as she continues to recover and for the host family looking after her. From the photos we received she looks happy.
This week we spent a lot of time at the US Consulate applying for 3 medical visas. Widline Pierre, a 4-month-old baby has a deformation of the anus and will need a colostomy to allow her to pass stool normally. Skyline Michel is a 1 year old who will be making her second trip to the United States to correct her cleft palate. Naphtalie Bazile is a baby who has hydrocephalus. We give the Lord thanks that medical care could be found for them. Pray for traveling mercies for them and for the host families who will be looking after them.
The other man in the emergency room with a gangrene leg is doing alright but needs his leg amputated too. I saw today what the leg looks like under the bandages and it didn’t look good. Tomorrow we are going to get an echo doppler exam done on his leg so that the doctors can determine where to amputate. Pray that he can get his leg amputated next week. His leg is very sore and he spends his time sitting in a chair. His leg is too painful when he lies down.
We recently received a food donation and also cleaning supplies as part of the ODEO organization. This donation helps out a lot!
The other day I saw a UN and Haitian police escort going up Delmas with Canadian diplomatic vehicles. Maxime Bernier, the Minister of International Cooperation was in country. Canada continues to help Haiti with economic aid. The Canadian government is allocating 125 million dollars to 7 projects to help Haiti. Funds will be used to construct roads, feed children, improve health of mothers, improve the economy, and improve the capacity of Haiti to face natural disasters. The largest allocation is 75 million to construct and improve the road connecting Jeremie and Cayes. 19 million is allocated to health care, 13.8 million to technical assistance to the Haitian government, 10 million to school cantines, 5.4 million to tuition fees, 1.2 million towards the alphabetization/literacy program and 700 thousand to natural disaster preparation. The total Canadian contribution will be 555 million over 5 years covering the periods of 2006 to 2011 towards the reconstruction and development of Haiti.
An OAS (Organization of American States) delegation visited Haiti and expressed optimism about Haiti’s security climate.
The police are really going after drivers for license plates. I have seen police ripping off old license plates and forcing the driver to get the new plates. There is less public transport (tap-taps) on the street because of this clampdown and people had trouble finding transportation to get around the city. The supply/demand problem of tap-taps will continue until these drivers get their new license plates. The circulation bureau is a very busy place these days as drivers scramble to get their plates and papers in order!
We are now getting eggs again. Mdm. Elie has made contact with another vendor who smuggles the eggs in with charcoal shipments. The price is almost the same and the eggs are good too!
There are problems at the Haiti/Dominican border in Dajabon. They have to do with cattle rustling. 2 Dominicans dredging sand in the Massacre River, which separates the Dominican Republic and Haiti, were abducted by Haitians. The abduction was in retaliation for a raid by about 50 armed Dominican cattle farmers who had crossed into Haiti to claim cows and horses that they said had been stolen from them on a previous raid by Haitian cattle farmers. The Haitian police freed the 2 Dominicans and the Dominican cattle ranchers continue to hold onto 16 cattle and 2 horses until it is determined who the owners truly are. In the meantime the Dominican army will be monitoring this border area more closely.
That is all the news for today. Have a good week!

Karen Bultje

Monday, February 18, 2008

photos - cite soleil wharf

This is the boat to Mole St. Nicolas. The captain said it would take 3 days in his boat to get there. We tried to get him to take us on a cruise but the boat won't be leaving until Wednesday. The visitors leave Tuesday.

These fishermen are preparing their nets to go fishing.

Each man in this rowboat has one oar. The guy at the back was attaching the rudder in place. They were heading out to go fishing.

A lot of the men in Cite Soleil rely on fishing for an income as well as providing food for their families.

This lady is cleaning a baby sting ray. I have never tried sting ray so I don't know how they taste.

photos - wall project, sports, paulna

The support pillar holes were dug 3 feet deep and then concrete was poured and rebar added.

The broken section of wall was redone and cement block pillars are stopping the leaning wall from falling down.

Now that the wall is done the children can sit on it. Next step is to put up barbed wire. In the meantime we use the baseball bats as a security device.

We are thankful for the donation of sports equipment. The buys and older guys enjoy playing sports.

Sunday afternoon we visited Paulna's village. The family sent back yams and sugar cane for everyone here. A couple of the visitors had trouble negotiating the "moat of mud" that was made by the recent rain fall in order to access the village. It was fun watching them find a path to bypass the mud! We kept the truck a safe distance away from the mud.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

haiti update - february 16, 2008

“ God will give to each person according to what he has done” Romans 2:6

Hi! This week has been a busy one. My sister Tanya, nephew Matthew, cousin Jeff and his daughter Stephanie arrived on Wednesday. They should have arrived on Tuesday but their plane had to be de-iced in Chicago causing them to miss their connecting flight in Miami. They won’t have to worry about this in Haiti! I kept them busy as soon as they got in the door. The side wall on the property is now repaired and is no longer in danger of falling over. As soon as the barbed wire is along the top it will also be more thief-proof too. The next thing to do is to fix the front wall. It has a slight tilt to it too and may one day fall into the street so we are going to add support to it. The visitors have also been busy helping at the Missionaries of Charity children’s hospice and St. Joseph’s clinic. We made a visit to the Baptist Mission on Saturday and will also be going out to Paulna’s village and Cite Soleil. They also were able to see some of Port-au-Prince while doing medical errands with me.
This past Sunday I visited Iliodor Noel in the emergency department at General Hospital along with Paulna’s mother. We had heard that he had a bad infection in his foot but when we got there it was something much worse. He had been having bad circulatory problems in his foot for the last year and since November it appears that the blood stopped circulating to his foot. As a result gangrene set in. The family did try to go to a couple of different hospitals but were turned away. Finally they went to the state hospital downtown and he was admitted. After a couple of months of gangrene there wasn’t too much left of his foot and the smell was pretty bad too. The sad part is that he was 7 days in the emergency department with no care. When we saw him that Sunday he was complaining to everyone nearby about being ignored by medical staff. I contacted a doctor that I knew and sent him the digital photos of Iliodor’s right foot. By Wednesday this doctor must have contacted doctors at General Hospital because one doctor came into the emergency department and started telling off the other doctors for letting this patient wait this long for medical care. That evening he was operated on and the doctors amputated his leg below the knee. Now Iliodor is recovering. Pray for the healing process and also that he can get a prosthetic leg. With an artificial leg he can return to a normal life in his village again. He has a wife and 3 children so the whole family has been affected by this ordeal.
In our visits to the emergency room we met his “bed neighbors”. The man in the bed next to him also has a bad infection in his leg. He has been begging us to help him too as he also continues to worsen with his infection. On Saturday afternoon when we visited we smelled the gangrene smell again and Tanya was worried that it was Iliodor but it was this other man. Next week we are going to try to get the doctors to treat this man too.
The other “bed neighbor” who was a “bad neighbor” was a young man chained to his bed. There have been problems recently with gangs robbing the downtown area where a lot of depots and merchants are located. One particular gang entered a depot and shot and killed the security guard. The police fortunately arrived quickly and in return started shooting at the gang members. One was killed and the other wounded. This young guy was brought to the hospital and treated for his wound. He had been shot in the chest and had a chest tube inserted. By Saturday he was discharged and sent to prison.
In Haiti it is common for people to abandon children. It is also common for people to abandon the elderly. There has been a frail man lying on the floor of the emergency room for the last week. We saw this man for the first time last Sunday, the first day we visited Iliodor. Someone had abandoned him at the outside entrance of the emergency room. The next day he had been moved inside the emergency room. By Saturday there was another elderly man on the floor beside him that also had been abandoned. I don’t know what causes people to abandon children and the elderly but it needs to change. Pray for Haiti that one day this practice is abandoned.
This week we were able to get passports for Dieune Philippe and John Wilson Charles, who are babies that have hydrocephalus. Next week we will be working on passports for Nephtalie Bazile and Chrisno Jeudi who both have hydrocephalus as well. We are also searching for medical care for Schleudny Nicholas who has a facial tumor. Pray for this search process and God’s comfort for this family.
On Monday a family showed up at the house with their child. I came back later in the afternoon and spoke with them. They had left their mountain village at 1:00am Monday morning to come to our house looking for medical care. I don’t know how they did this walking over mountains in the middle of the night. The girl is 17 months old and looks fat but this fat is not fat at all but kwashiorkor which causes swelling. The mother has a baby at home and this 17-month-old child is suffering. I gave the family some medicine and explained to them that she was suffering a form of malnutrition. They live too far away to check up on so I told the family to come back if the child gets worse. Pray for this family and this young child that she can get the proper nutrition to develop normally.
People are complaining about the costs of food and increasing inflation. The delegates in the Haitian parliament want the government to be more accountable for rising costs. Some organizations are threatening to start protests to force the government to take more action.
Kidnapping has also been increasing, particularly of children. A 6-month-old baby was kidnapped and the parents paid the ransom. Later the baby was found dead. Police have arrested several people associated with this kidnapping including a “hougan” (voodoo priest). They say that sorcery was also involved. The other day a large protest was held in Archaie against this act and other acts of kidnapping.
In Cite Soleil last week a mob in that community stoned a suspected kidnapper to death. This man was blamed for kidnappings in Petionville and the community took justice into their own hands.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!

Karen Bultje

Thursday, February 14, 2008

photos - wall project

Sammy was kept busy helping to carry the blocks to the wall area.

Jacob and Junior were helping to sift sand to prepare for the cement mix. In the background is the Isuzu Trooper sitting in its pasture. Ysmaille is working on the paperwork for the transfer to his name.

Matthew and Manu were busy organizing the cement blocks.

The guys were preparing the wall by knocking out some of the broken sections.

The wall has a slight tilt to it and everyone tried to tilt it back in the other direction. The welders working on the street have stored materials against this wall over the years causing the wall to become the "Leaning Tower of Pisa". Hopefully the owner of the property can convince the welders that the only leaning walls should be in Italy.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

photos - drainage, schleudny, luc

We have repaired the drainage system about 7 times already over the years. This is the before photo of the most recent repair. The flow of water was stuck and some digging needed to be done to find out why.

Tim and Bill had to do some searching to find out why the water wasn't draining away properly.

Bill is a plumber so now everything is connected better and the water drains away!

Schleudny Nicolas is a young girl who has a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma tumor growing on the left side of her face. She has trouble eating because of the tumor. She had 6 chemotherapy treatments here in Haiti but the father didn't have money for the 7th one and the tumor grew back with a vengeance. Keep this girl and her family in prayer.

Luc Wisly Eustache is a young man with Muscular Dystrophy. His father has lovingly cared for him all these years. Luc is quite frail. Pray for knowledge for doctors to learn how to cure this disease. The family trusts in God's plan for Luc's life..

Friday, February 8, 2008

haiti update - february 8, 2008

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Hi! This week Tim and Bill were here to help with some repairs and spend some time with the children. It was great that the drainage problem was fixed and also that the pick-up truck got serviced. The horn got altered and the truck now has a more unique sound to it! The wheels don’t squeak anymore and the air conditioner is working better too. Tim and Bill returned to Canada this morning and within two hours the kids broke the handle on the toilet so now we will have to fix some things before the arrival of more visitors. Next week we will be getting some more visitors helping out here. My sister Tanya, nephew Matthew, cousin Jeff and his daughter Katrina will be helping to fix the side wall and to reinforce the front wall. They are going to help make the property more “thief proof”.
Haitian Karnaval was this week. It started on Sunday and ended early Wednesday morning. Everything was shut down from Monday to Wednesday as people in Port-au-Prince participated in the festivities.
We brought Paulna to her village, Bonnette, this week so that she could spend some time at home with her family. She was excited to go home and we’ll pick her up again on Sunday afternoon. Tim and Bill also were able to see her village as well. We spent some time visiting some of the families there that we have come into contact with. They enjoyed having some visitors.
In the Ti Ayiti section of Cite Soleil we met an elderly woman who is going blind. We explained to her about the hospital downtown where Cuban eye doctors treat people for free. Hopefully she will go there next week with someone from her family to find out why she is going blind. Because the schools were also closed this week we got a chance to meet with a lot of the children who live in the Ti Ayiti area.
Shleudny Nicolas is a 12-year-old girl who came to the house this week with her father. She has a cancerous tumor growing on the left side of her face. Pray for the ongoing medical search to find treatment in the United States. She will most likely need surgery and radiation therapy.
A young man by the name of Luc Wisly Eustache came by the house with his father as well. He is 24 years old and has been diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. He has really wasted away and is very frail. The family are strong Christians and understand now that this disease currently has no cure. The father is doing his best to look after his son and for him to survive this long shows how well the family is looking after Luc. Pray for ongoing research on this disease and that doctors may one day be able to halt the progression of this disease.
Angelo Lafortune and his mother came by for a visit and he is doing well. He looks healthy and happy and enjoys going to school.
The theme of Karnaval this year was an environmental one – working for a green Haiti. The people of Haiti need to be more environmental. The forest cover used to be 60% in 1923. By 1952 the forest cover shrank to 18% and now is at the 1% level. 90% of the Haitian population uses wood as an energy source for cooking (charcoal/wood). It is estimated that 53,300 trees are cut down each year. 84.6% of this fuel is used in Port-au-Prince. 98.1% of the rural population uses wood/charcoal for cooking. One alternative energy source that can be used for cooking is Lignite. This natural resource is found in the Maissade area of Haiti. Deposits of lignite are estimated to be 9 million tons. Lignite is composed of 70% carbon, which would make it a good cooking fuel.
Another part of the environment that scientists are examining is the rising lake levels of Lac Azuei, which is located by the Malpasse/Jimani border crossing. The lake level has increased to the point where it is leaving its bed and starting to cover the road. Right now vehicles traveling between Haiti and the Dominican Republic at the Malpasse/Jimani border crossing have to go through water. The salinity of the lake has increased as well since the rainy season. Right now it is the dry season and people don’t understand how the lake levels can rise. One theory is that somehow seawater is infiltrating into these lakes. The area is about 120 meters above sea level. Another theory is that the mining of sand is causing this problem. If the lake levels continue to increase the road will need to be constructed in another area in order to keep this major border crossing open.
Another area where Haiti can improve is in the fishing industry. Currently Haitian fishermen haul in 4 – 5 metric tonnes of fish each year. The potential is 14,000 tonnes. Haiti currently imports 16 million dollars of fish each year.
The people of Haiti need to work together to be able to solve the environmental problems and also to develop the economy. Pray for improvements in both these areas.
That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

photos - visitors - paulna's village - bonnette

This morning we brought Paulna to stay with her family for a few days. Her brother Paulno went with us to show the visitors from Canada their village. This is the "kay loa" (spirit house). The villagers built this house for the spirits to live in with the hope of keeping the spirits happy and content. It is one of the biggest and best built houses in the entire village!

The village is in an arid area and there are a lot of cactus growing around the village. From left to right are Bill, Paulno and Tim.

When we got back to Paulna's house she was already hard at work pounding rice to loosen the chaff.

Tim wanted to help and he got some lessons from the children.

Once Tim knew what he was doing Bill helped out as well.They were the entertainment for the children of the village!