“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” Psalm 89:14,15
Hi! This week was busy dealing with the effects of the residents’ strike at the state hospitals. We have been going to the hospital daily. Last Saturday afternoon we went with Pastor Pierre to meet Thomas, one of the people with gangrene. There was another church group in the emergency room as well visiting the people and praying with them. They also brought them bags of drinking water. Thomas was in bad shape and I wasn’t sure that he would survive. He had already been in the hospital for 2 months untreated and not being looked after by his family. What started out as a boil on his behind turned into a severe case of gangrene that had spread down his leg. We wanted to find out if he was a Christian. He was and asked for prayer. We talked with him about trying to find another place for him at the Brothers of Charity Hospice which is located in Cite Pele. The plan was that if we could make arrangements there we would transfer him out of General Hospital the next day. We went and spoke with the Brothers of Charity and they agreed to take him in. We borrowed a stretcher from them and went back to General Hospital on Sunday to find that Thomas’s mother was with him. I guess the phone call that we had made Thursday helped out after all to get his family to come to the hospital. We then transported Thomas in the back of the pickup truck and drove over to Cite Pele. He was placed in a bed there and I thought that now everything is settled for him but that was not the case. We went back to Cite Pele late in the afternoon. The Brothers of Charity were angry with Thomas’s mother. They had asked her to stay and look after her son for the evening and she refused. I tried to explain to them that the family was no good and that the primary reason that he was in the current shape he was in was because of the family but they didn’t care. The end result was that we had to load Thomas back onto the pickup truck and drive him back to the emergency room at General Hospital. The first thing that the security guards thought when we drove up to the doors of the emergency room was that Thomas had died. They were angry when they found out that the mother caused problems. They told us to unload Thomas and put him on the ground in front of the emergency room. There were several people who wanted to hit the mother that day. They told the mother that she would be staying at her son’s side and she gave the same response to the guards that she had given to the Brothers of Charity. The guards had guns though and she had no choice but to listen. The guards called her a “lougawou” (werewolf in english), which in Creole means an evil spirit who takes away children, and that if she would try to leave the guards would shoot her. She ended up staying the night. Thomas’s father came the next morning to the hospital to find out why the mother never came home. This family definitely is not a Christian family. Thomas died on Tuesday morning. We know that he died a Christian and is now in heaven where he suffers no more and enjoying eternal life. He suffered much because of the situation at the hospital and for having a rotten family.
While walking out the doors of the emergency room on Saturday afternoon, one of the security guards introduced us to Kiki. Kiki is a dwarf with a hunchback who only has one arm that is also deformed. He looks about 14 years old and is about the size of an 8 year old but he may also be in his early twenties. He doesn’t know how old he is. His family had brought him to General Hospital from Cap Haitian 3 months ago with a head and leg injury. They abandoned him there and since that time the workers at the hospital have helped to look after him. The security guards by the emergency room have watched over him all this time and they asked us if we could help Kiki. We asked Kiki if he wanted to go with us and he eagerly said yes. Since that day we now have another resident here at Coram Deo. Benson especially is taken by Kiki. He brings him water and for the last couple of days has been trying to teach him to write with his feet. Kiki has never had the opportunity to go to school and is enjoying sitting in school here at Coram Deo. Nobody thinks twice that he writes with his feet. He is also not shy. While at General Hospital he met an actor who is the Mr. Bean of Haiti. This comedian’s name is Jezifra and he put him in one of his films. He is shown in the film lifting a large cooking pot with his feet and also opening a bottle of coca cola with his feet. Pray that Kiki can adapt here well and will be encouraged to strive to accomplish things (even if it means using his feet).
A few of the patients in the emergency room can’t leave even if they wanted to. They can’t leave because they are chained to the bed. These young men are prisoners who are in the hospital getting medical treatment. They complain about being ignored by the state but they are the responsibility of the police/UN. Another man is there because he was badly beaten. A couple of the guards say the police did this and others say the police found him on the street beaten. The elderly lady who is there is really suffering. Both her legs are rotten below the knee. She looks like a living corpse. She came into the emergency room on October 13th and nothing has been done for her since. She needs to have both legs amputated. Because she hasn’t eaten in a while she is just skin and bones. Pray for her and her devoted husband who remains by her side. We were able to help a couple of people this week who came into the emergency department to get care. We told them that this wasn’t a good place to be. We drove one elderly man over to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Hospital on Delmas 19 to get stitches in his forehead from a fall on the street. One father came in with his young son who had broken his elbow the day before while taking a fall walking home from school. Medecines Sans Frontieres couldn’t help him so we directed them to the Baptist Mission Hospital in Fermathe. Pray that the strike ends soon. There are a lot of people who need medical treatment and not being able to find it right now. The government met with the residents and medical staff on Tuesday and made arrangements to pay some of their salary. Hopefully Monday will mean an end to the hospital strike.
We went with Angelo Lafortune and his mother to the US Consulate to show them that he returned from his follow-up visit to his neurosurgeon in the United States. He didn’t end up needing additional brain surgery. He has some visual problems caused by the brain tumor and his mother has registered him at St. Vincents’ which is a school for handicapped children here in Port-au-Prince. While in the United States Angelo’s father suddenly died here in Haiti. Pray for Angelo, that his tumor doesn’t grow back and that he can do well at school and for his mother as she does the best she can to raise her son as a widow.
Lucson Jean, a 3-year-old boy has been admitted this week to Grace Childrens Hospital, which is a tuberculosis hospital for children located on Delmas 31. He has Potts disease, which is tuberculosis of the spine. Pray for those who are caring for him and that the treatment that Lucson receives will help him.
We also got word that Chardlyne Jules, a hydrocephalus baby who was operated on in May 2008 has died. Pray that a good post-op program can be put in place by Haitian doctors willing to treat hydrocephalus children who have post-surgery complications.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo