Saturday, August 30, 2008

haiti update - august 30, 2008

“The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:7-10

Hi! This week was a week of stormy weather. Hurricane Gustav hit Haiti on Tuesday and caused some damage over the next couple of days. 59 people died during the storms. The radios were announcing for people to evacuate low-lying areas and to be wary of landslides. The south coast got most of the wind. There was some flooding in the Port-au-Prince area. The people here at Coram Deo contacted their families. John Charles’ grandmother had the roof of her house blown away and she had to seek refuge at a police station. The village where Paulna’s family lives had damage as well. Most of the houses are “kay pays” (mud and stick huts with thatched roofs). Paulna’s family’s house is not damaged. The bridge in Bonnett is damaged and the road from the Dominican Republic into Haiti was cut in two by the floodwaters. Pastor Pierre lives in the Kenscoff area and the area where his church is located suffered a lot of damage. The church is a 5-hour walk over mountains. This area had wind damage that also damaged crops as well. The bridge crossing on route 9 into Cite Soleil is damaged and the mayor says it is unstable. The Croix des Missions bridge was closed due to the flooding river and the Tabarre bridge was being watched as well. Lukner’s brother who lives in the Croix des Missions area had to evacuate his house due to the rising river waters. The government had trouble getting people to evacuate from high flood risk areas. People waited until the last minute. The reason why there was this hesitation is that the last time when people left their houses thieves came in and stole from the homes. The people figured that if they left at the last minute then the thieves wouldn’t have time to steal. Also at the shelters that were set up last October in the Port-au-Prince area people suffered from lack of food and also had trouble with thieves entering the shelters. When we were at the Croix des Missions bridge I took one photo showing people still standing in the waters from the rising river by the market. They didn’t seem to be too concerned. The airport was closed for a couple of days and it was very hectic at the airport on Thursday as people who lost their flights on Tuesday and Wednesday were all trying to travel on Thursday. American Airlines booked extra flights. A bonus of the storm was that we were able to fill up our water cistern. We usually have to buy water to fill up the cistern and with Tropical Storm Fay a couple of weeks ago and now Gustav we haven’t had to buy any water.
The stormy weather also stopped protests from occurring here in Port-au-Prince. On Monday in Cayes there were protests over the high food prices. Things didn’t get out of control this time and the police dispersed the crowd with tear gas. Rumors were that on Tuesday Port-au-Prince would have protests but then the rains started and nothing happened. On Friday though there was a small protest that we passed near the Tabarre Road. A crowd of about 300 people that were ex-president Aristide supporters walked by us. They were not a happy group of people. They were calling President Preval a “rice thief” and saying some bad words that I can’t print. They were protesting against the high food prices and the hunger these prices are causing. The new prime minister Michele Pierre-Louis is going to have a difficult time. Pray for the government as they direct the country. Today was a difficult day in our neighborhood. Every day people line up outside the Food for the Poor mission (which is near the Cite Aux Cayes/Cite Jeremie area) for cooked food. A disruption occurred and the security guard fired his shotgun on the crowd and one person died after getting shot in the neck and 16-20 other people injured by the shotgun pellets. The injured went for medical treatment to a local hospital. The people were upset and asked me to take a photo to let people know what is going on in the country. They were saying that life is getting more difficult because of the food prices and that the people who were shot were unarmed. The dead man had a bag of cooked food by his side. I think he just was standing in the wrong place. I went back for my camera and did take the photos. The security guard who shot the people stayed inside the Food for The Poor compound and the people outside waited. The UN showed up an hour later and we left the same time they arrived.
Pray for the poor living in Haiti. Life is getting more difficult for them.
Tomorrow we are taking a mother and her 11-month-old son to an orphanage to find a place for him. Lovinsky’s mother is living with friends, as she doesn’t have enough money to afford housing or look after him properly. Pray for Lovinsky and his mother. Grace Hope (the baby abandoned in the Delmas 31 area last week) is still in hospital. She is being treated for a heart infection. She is receiving good care. Chris brought a judge to the hospital on Friday to have the baby officially declared abandoned. With this abandonment paper Grace can be placed in the orphanage. Continue to pray for healing for Grace and the paperwork process. Dieunette (the baby who had a bulge at the back of her head) came back from the United States on Thursday afternoon with her host family and is now back with her mother. Dieunette looks great. The neurosurgeon had said that if she never received surgery she would have died before reaching 1 year of age. Now Dieunette has the opportunity for a full life. The surgery itself was also fairly risky. There was a 55% chance of dying on the operating table. The part of the brain that bulged out was cut and removed and the opening in the skull was sealed with a bone putty material. The surgeon said that normally they cut a portion of the skull from another site but the company that manufactures this costly compound donated the material. Because part of the brain was removed there was also a risk that she might have breathing and other problems but nothing happened. We give the Lord thanks for His healing mercies.
This week was also the first week of school for Manu, Jacob and Benson. Benson is now attending the same mission school as the other children. They are attending the Christian Light School in the Delmas 31 area that is run by Sheri Fausey. The school program here at Coram Deo will start on September 8th. Please continue to pray for funding for our programs here at Coram Deo.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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