“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.” Psalm 7:17
Hi! This week was a busy week with both the school and medical programs. Officially, all the schools in Haiti opened up for their first day of classes on October 6th. We have 37 students in the two classes. The students are eager to learn and the teachers are enthusiastic in instructing them. A couple more handicapped students registered after finding out that they were no longer welcome at a local school. Jislaine Neanty is a young deaf girl and very determined. Her mother had tried to explain to her on Monday that she couldn’t attend the other mission school any more but she didn’t want to believe her. She put on her knapsack and waited in front of the gate at their school. She waited while other children had their names called and let in. When all the children were let in and she was left standing outside she realized that she was no longer welcome. I believe that she taught the missionary couple running the school a lesson that day on the determination of handicapped children. Jislaine then came to Coram Deo on Tuesday morning and taught us a lesson. I showed her to where the tables for the handicapped class were but she didn’t want to go. I realized that she wanted to sit in the regular class. I then sent her there. It will be a challenge for her but she believes that she is just as normal as the other children. A downs syndrome boy by the name of Rio Dana Bosquet also registered at Coram Deo after finding a closed gate at the other school. The mother came to Coram Deo crying after being told her son was no longer welcome at the school he attended last year. Pray we can work well with all the children and that they can continue to be enthusiastic and determined to learn. Jislaine had no problem with the non-handicapped children in her class. She was treated as just another student. When we have opening devotions everyone stands together at the front for the national anthem, prayer and opening devotions. This is a statement to the community that the handicapped and the non-handicapped are together. Please continue to pray for our efforts of integrating the handicapped into Haitian society.
On Monday Daphka Saint-Vil traveled to Ohio as the first step in the treatment of a deformed lower leg that was caused by a fracture at birth. She will be meeting her orthopedic surgeon on October 14th. Pray for the medical team as they decide how best to help her and the host family who will be looking after her.
I sent Lukner with Widmirtha’s mother and new baby to accompany them home to the Mirebalais area. It ended up not being a simple task. There is a bridge/road down in the Mirebalais area and canoes are being used to transport people across. The only problem that day was that there was a protest organized by the people living in the area and they banned the canoes from crossing. People stood there with machetes, rocks and sticks and were chanting slogans. They believed that the canoes were doing such a good job to transport people that now the government will not be in any hurry to fix the bridge. The canoes were banned. People were forced to cross the river on foot. Lukner said that the water was up to his armpits. He paid another man to carry Widmirtha’s mother on his shoulders. She was holding on to her baby. Once they crossed they were able to reach the grandmother’s house. The next day Lukner decided to take a different route back to Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately in the Verette area there is a bridge/road down there too and there were people demonstrating there as well. In this area a temporary road had been constructed through someone’s field. The protesters armed with rocks, machetes and sticks refused to let vehicles pass and the tap-tap that Lukner was riding in had to return back to Mirebalais. He then had to cross the river again. This time though there was one canoe allowed to cross. Medical personnel, and the sick and elderly were allowed to use this canoe but the price was now $20H ($2.50US), up from the original canoe transport price of $10H ($1.25). Pray that plans are made to construct bridges and alternate routes soon as people don’t want to continue to use canoes and are growing impatient with the government.
The week was busy preparing for the arrival of the neurosurgery team from the University of Miami. On Friday and Saturday a lot of patients were seen. It seems that every year there are more and more children with hydrocephalus. Patients came from all over (Cap Haitian, Jeremie, Cayes, Gonaives, Jacmel as well as the surrounding areas of Port-au-Prince). Now the difficult decision will be made by the team as to who will get the surgery. The saddest cases were the two that came from Gonaives. Both children had pressure sores on their heads caused by laying in the same position for too long. They were also infected. Both families are homeless because of the flooding in Gonaives and are staying with friends. It is difficult to tell the families to keep turning their heads when they are sleeping on the floor with no bedding. Their skin breaks down quicker when not lying on a mattress. One of Paulna’s cousins has hydrocephalus. Her name is Wiliamise and she is around 2 years old. The family lives in Paulna’s village and the father refuses to believe that his daughter has hydrocephalus. He thinks that she has back problems, which is causing her troubles. I thought the medical team could explain to him his daughter’s situation but he just wouldn’t listen. The bones in Wiliamise’s head have now grown together and because of the excess fluid in her brain she is starting to have seizures. The father believes there is a spiritual cause to these seizures. Recently, a Christian woman from a church in the community went up to Wiliamise’s father and told him that God put it on her heart to tell him that Wiliamise needs to be raised and converted as a Christian. Wiliamise’s mother is already a Christian and regularly attends church. The father started to attend church on Sunday mornings and also to go to prayer meetings during the week. He brought Wiliamise with him. Shortly after regularly attending church is when Wiliamise started to have seizures. Last week the grandfather came to speak to the father. This grandfather is a “hougan” (witchdoctor) and he informed the father that the “loas” (spirits) were angry and this is why Wiliamise now has seizures. He needs to renounce the Christian faith and bring her to him to give medicine to remove the anger of the “loas”. Until now he has refused to do so. Pray for Wiliamise’s family as they deal with the voodoo influence in the community. We will keep in touch with this family and encourage them in their Christian faith. Pray that the father doesn’t backslide. Wilbenson Jacques and Pharah Simeon are both children who had surgery already but need another surgery again due to fluid building up again in their brains. Pray that they will be one of the children selected. The surgeries will be held in November at Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33. The last two surgeries held in October 2007 and May 2008 had 7 children dying of post-op complications. Pray that a Haitian surgeon is found to deal with post-op complications once the team returns to the United States.
That’s all the news for today. Have a Blessed Canadian Thanksgiving weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo