“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Hi! This week was a busy week with the medical program. We were able to get Kervens Guerrier’s passport this week and are now waiting for one more paper to come from the United States before requesting a visa interview. If all goes well he will be getting the opportunity to travel to Ohio for surgery on his clubbed foot. His parents are excited that their child is getting medical care.
We also got word that Solyvien Favra; a 12-year-old boy with a severely deformed ankle due to a broken bone that was never set got accepted for medical care in Virginia. We are now starting the paperwork process towards getting his passport. On Monday morning Solyvien and his father went with us downtown to go to DGI to update his fathers’ id card. This is the first time in a while that we saw that there had been burning tires in Solyvien’s neighborhood. The family lives in the Delmas 18, Carrefour Payant area and several UN police from China along with the Haitian police were watching the area. We don’t know why the tires were burned but this is a common thing to do when people want to protest about something.
We also had another experience on Delmas 31 with a person who was collapsed at the side of the road (this time it wasn’t in the middle of the road). We were driving up Delmas 31 and a young woman was lying at the side of the road having a grand mal seizure. It had just happened and nobody else was there so we stopped to stay with her. A man stepped off a taptap to help us as well. There was not much we could do while she was in her seizure so we looked through her purse to try to find out her identification and if she was carrying a cell phone. All we found was a paper that had a list of telephone numbers. After about 5 minutes the seizure stopped and she slowly regained consciousness. She forced herself to her feet but was still pretty unstable and we tried to find out her name and where she lived so that we could either contact somebody to pick her up or drive her home. I was looking at the list of telephone numbers and asked her for her fathers name and told her that I wanted to contact him for her. We got the number from her and I gave the phone to the Haitian man who was helping us to talk with him. There were a few other people there as well and I asked them to hold her arm so that she wouldn’t fall down and this is when she panicked. I think that she thought we were going to kidnap her and as soon as one of the men touched her arm she tried to stumble run away. In Haiti the sewers don’t always have manhole covers on them and she was heading right for the hole. It was too late to grab her and she fell into the hole in the road and only her head was sticking out. It was amazing that she didn’t break anything. We helped her out of the hole and she started to move off again. All she got out of this fall was a bloody mouth. It was just at that time that a couple friends who knew her saw her. They were able to get her to stop moving and that is when we found out her name was Betty. They asked her what happened and if she was hit by a motorcycle. She told them that she was beat up by some people. We explained to her friends that this was not true and that she had had a seizure. I asked her friends to help accompany her home, as she didn’t want us to help and to explain to her father that she had a seizure. Hopefully the friends believed us that we didn’t beat her up. They followed behind Betty as she stumble walked away. Sometimes in Haiti it is difficult to help people.
There has been a strike at the two large state hospitals for the last couple of weeks. The residents are on strike for 7 months salary and better hospital conditions. Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33 is not functioning. The sick patients who were already hospitalized when the strike began either left to other hospitals or went home. There are a few who remained behind. The nurses are still working so they are providing care for the ones still there. Signs were posted throughout the departments of the hospital explaining why there was a strike. We went to the General Hospital downtown and the situation there is even worse. The abandoned children’s’ ward is full of children (around 28) and some beds have 3 children to a bed. Mercy and Sharing Foundation pays for the salary of the workers in this ward so the children are being looked after. These workers are frustrated though because of the overcrowding. They have contacted the social services department and asked the government to help find a place for these children. There were only a few children in the regular pediatrics ward and the mothers and a nurse were looking after them the best they could. The worst area is the emergency room. When the strike took place people who could leave the emergency room and who could afford another hospital left. Some just went home. The ones who stayed had nowhere else to go and live day-by-day hoping the strike will be finished. There are a couple of men who don’t have any family members with them and they are suffering. One man we talked with is slowly dying of an infection and his backside is rotting. He was in agony. We asked him if he had any family and offered to try and contact them for him. He gave us the number of his mother and we called. The person who answered the phone talked with him and was very short. The man asked this individual if he could tell his mother to come to him right away and the reply he got was that she wasn’t there and that person hung up the phone. You could see the sadness in his face when he handed back the phone. All he said was that they hung up the phone on him. Because nobody is with this man he hadn’t eaten anything in a couple of days. We helped him out with some food and something to drink. The smell in the room was pretty bad. There was an elderly lady there who had an infected foot and it was infected and rotting too. Her devoted husband was at her side. He couldn’t do anything to help her get care but he could sit by his wife so that she wouldn’t be alone. There were a few other people in the room that weren’t in as bad condition and they too were just awaiting the day for when the strike will end. Until then the people in the emergency room will continue to wait and suffer. When we left the room Lukner said that he didn’t want to see anymore and we drove home. The smell of rotting flesh is the worst smell that there is and he kept spitting out the window to get rid of the bad taste in his mouth. We stopped at a market to get something to drink to get rid of the bad taste. We are going to continue visiting the people there and to let them know that they are not alone. Pray for the end of the strike and also for the suffering that the patients still left at the hospital are enduring. Pray that we can find a way to help them. The hydrocephalus surgeries in November are scheduled to be held at Hopital La Paix. If the strike continues these surgeries will have to be delayed.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo