Saturday, May 24, 2008

haiti update - may 24, 2008

“He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

Hi! God is a mighty fortress and we have spent the last couple of weeks making the grounds of Coram Deo into a kind of fortress too. The walls are now covered in barbed wire and we even made an adjustment to the barrier so that we could install barbed wire along the top of the gate as well. We have been getting compliments from the community about our security upgrades. The policeman who has been advising us is also happy with what is done. “Mack” (name changed to protect the guilty), a member of the Judas gang, now has a shiny red motorcycle. It looks like the thieving business is profitable. He is driving around with no insurance, plates or license and we gave the police this information. We are requesting a photo from the organization that sponsored him for school so that we can give this to the police for their investigation. Today we visited the squatter settlement behind our house. It was a very interesting visit. We discovered some new things. They had built up a dirt ramp against the wall. With this dirt ramp the wall is only about 2 feet high on their side of the property. There are tree branches against the barbed wire so they don’t get cut going over the wall when they go to the outside washroom on our property. Now they say they are going to remove the branches and help repair the barbed wire portion. We are going to go over with a work crew and remove the dirt ramp with a pick and shovel next week. This will also solve the problem of the dirty toilets and maybe the water problem too (we seem to be using a lot of water). One of the houses on the property also has a hole in the wall right over the roof of our briquette shelter. They are allowing us access on Monday to fill in the hole in the house wall. The other squatter settlement we visited too, and we saw that there is no barrier to the outside street, which means anyone from the road, can get onto their property. We got the name of the owner of the property and are going to ask him when he is going to put in a barrier. The neighbors say they feel bad about the break-ins and assured me it wasn’t them. They say the people who did this know our property and I agreed with them and explained about the Judas gang. Pray that “Mack” and his buddies get caught.
Last Saturday there was some excitement on our street corner. The children came running to me with the news that the people on the “happy corner” had caught a thief. I went to look to see if it was someone I knew. The police had shown up and had put him into the back of the police pickup truck. Unfortunately this man was no thief. He had a disagreement with a woman who was the mother of his child. I guess their conversation didn’t go so well because when he had walked down the street this woman starting yelling to the people on the street to stop the thief. They did thinking they were being neighborly and pretty soon a large mob formed. One man eagerly started to beat up the man as a thief is considered as being a low person here in Haiti. The police showed up in time to put the man in the police truck. It was then that the mob found out that this man wasn’t really a thief after all. The police then put the woman who had cried out stop the thief into the police vehicle as well and drove away. The mob then turned on this man who had beaten up the supposed thief and accused him of being a vagabond. He was pushed around a little bit and the people said that he should have been taken away by the police too. Things eventually settled down and after some pushing and shoving everyone went their separate ways.
We have been busy with the medical program. John Charles will most likely be traveling to the United States in July for hydrocephalus surgery. We received an update on Doudeleimy Beaubrun, a 2-year-old girl who is in the United States getting treatment for her clubbed feet. She has for the last few months been getting casts put on her feet to help straighten them. This week she had surgery where a small bone was removed to help straighten her feet. She is standing and her family is excited with this news. Continue to keep her in prayer, as she will be continuing with her physiotherapy. Her clubbed feet were quite severe so it is amazing to see a picture of her standing. A photo of her will be put on the Coram Deo blogsite. Dieuna Philippe had a second surgery for hydrocephalus this week. Pray for those looking after her. Emmanuel Oreus, a 2-year-old boy who is malnourished is still in the hospital but is slowly improving. He was being tube fed but now is to the point where he is able to eat again.
Several parents came with their children to our gate this week looking for help for them. A mother came with a young boy who had a hernia that was causing problems for him. She told me that she was referred to Coram Deo by a doctor at the state hospital, Hopital La Paix, which is located on Delmas 33. She told me that in the last week 2 children died in the middle of their operations when the electricity suddenly went off in the operating room. The Cuban surgeon who was working there no longer wants to operate there according to the mother. Another state hospital, Hopital Sainte Catherine, which is located in Cite Soleil has not been functioning for several days because the medical staff is on strike over not being paid for 8 months. Pray that the state hospitals can be better run and supplied.
Michelson Josme, a 3-year-old boy was operated on last week for a tumor under his arm. The operation went well and he was still in the recovery room at 3:30 pm when I was at the hospital. I received a phone call around 7:30 pm that he had suddenly died in his bed in the pediatrics ward. Pray for his family as they deal with his death. We know that he is with the Lord and no longer suffering.
Kidnapping is still an ongoing problem here in Haiti. This past Wednesday a Canadian woman working for Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) was kidnapped from her home in the middle of the night in the Thomassin area. As of this time she is still in the hands of her kidnappers. Pray that she is released unharmed. I spoke with a nurse who works in the pediatrics room of the Bernard Mevs Hospital on airport road. One of her friends died last week. A motorcycle with 3 men on it drove by policemen standing at Carrefour Payant on Delmas 18. The man in the middle yelled out for help saying that he was being kidnapped. Guns were fired and a man who was standing there waiting for a tap-tap was shot in the abdomen and killed. This man was the nurse’s friend. This man is an amputee with only one leg. I guess he couldn’t get out of the way quick enough. As far as I know the kidnappers that were on the motorcycle got away with the person they had kidnapped. Pray that kidnapping can be controlled here in Haiti.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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