Saturday, August 9, 2008

haiti update - august 9, 2008

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

Hi! This week was a busy week with the medical program and also making preparations for the school program. A medical team staying at Sheri’s did a clinic at Coram Deo on Thursday afternoon. They were able to see 70 children from the neighborhood. It’s great when medical teams come in! A lot of people can be helped. Kimly Arisma, a 7year old girl was at the clinic. She is going blind. The mother had said that she had seen an eye doctor here in Haiti but he told her that nothing could be done for her here in Haiti. Pray we can find out what is causing her eye problems and what can be done to help her. She is a happy girl and not worried about her eyes. She is still able to attend school. A mother came to the clinic with her child and the mother was found to have an eye tumor. She will most likely need to have her eye removed. Pray we can find an eye surgeon for her here in Haiti.
We walked through the ravine area on the other side of Delmas 31 and in the ravine area by our street this week. We met Renaldo Lubin and his mother. He is almost one year old now and was born with clubbed feet. The mother had started going for casting of his feet at St. Vincent’s but then stopped when she ran out of money. The clubbed feet are not too severe so maybe they can still be corrected with casting. We’ll visit Healing Hands with him in September.
We also met another mother and her child. Wadson Louissaint has severe scoliosis. He did have surgery here in Haiti for this but still has some curvature in his spine. In Haiti sometimes other people can be quite cruel with the handicapped. His mother started to cry when she explained how sometimes the children at the school he attends tease him about his crooked back.
We received news from the United States that Dieuna Philippe had another brain surgery to place a shunt. Continue to pray for her recovery and that one day she can take in fluids normally. She still is on a feeding tube.
This week several mothers came with their handicapped children to the house asking about education for their children. Salome Dorceus and her mother came to the house on Tuesday. Youby Ladouceur was also there at the same time. Both these children had suffered typhoid when they were younger which caused brain damage. Their mothers worked with their children and never gave up over the years. They worked hard to build better lives for their children and pushed them to improve. A young mother came to the house with her 15-month-old daughter. She told me that her daughter had recently suffered typhoid fever and was left with brain damage. The girl just recently started to be able to hold her head up. Salome’s mother heard this young mother explain about her daughter’s typhoid and told her to not give up. She talked with her about how Salome used to be. Being able to see Salome and Youby gives this young mother hope that her child will one day be able to walk and go to school. It is frustrating to the parents to hear people say that the handicapped can’t learn anything. There were several older children who came to the house with their parents. They have never attended school. In a way this is a handicap too because other schools in the area will not take in children that are considered too old for the beginning classes. We are planning on forming one class with these older children and working on catching them up. With all the handicapped children that we have seen it would be ideal to have a class for visually impaired students, a class for deaf students and a class for mentally handicapped students. We are going to start the year with two teachers and pray that funds will be raised in order to break the handicapped class into its specialty areas. At the present time there are only 2 schools in Port-au-Prince who work with the handicapped. Pray for the school preparations that we are making. Pray that the Lord will allow the program to grow like it did from its first start in 2000.
We also visited Cite Soleil this week to visit the summer camp being held at Willy and Joel’s school. There were over 200 children at the school. Food was donated in order to provide a lunch for the children. The school is in the wharf area of Cite Soleil. Another section, which is nearby, is called Ti-Ayiti. This is one of the poorer areas of Cite Soleil. Tin shacks are built near the canal there. When it rains the sewage from the large canal overflows into the area. The children there are happy though and make the best of their living conditions. Pray for the development of Cite Soleil. One of the biggest problems is the large canal and all the bacteria it holds.
The Haitian people love soccer and during the summer months neighborhood soccer tournaments are held. Manu is a real soccer fanatic and wants to watch every game at the neighborhood soccer field on Delmas 31. It’s nice to see the community spirit. The winning team will hold a rara and walk from the soccer field through the streets with a music band. No raras are held though for a game that ends in a tie. As the summer ends the championship rounds are approaching. On Thursday, a team from Delmas 31 was playing a team from Delmas 33 on the Delmas 31 soccer field. Both teams had already qualified for the playoffs but were meeting to decide first place in their division. The game got quite heated and the referee lost control of the players. The soccer game turned into a “hockey fight”. The supporters on the sideline started to get involved too. In Haiti when people are angry things tend to get thrown and bottles and rocks were flying around the soccer field. The police showed up and then started shooting in the air. That stopped the fighting in a hurry and everyone scrambled away. The soccer game never did finish and maybe the match for first place will be decided another day. Hopefully there will be more security for the playoffs! There is a Haitian Creole proverb for situations like this. “Ou pa janm joure manman kayman jouk ou fin pase dlo”. In english this is translated as “You never say bad things against the crocodile’s mother until you have already passed over the water”.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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