Sunday, November 16, 2008

haiti update - november 15, 2008

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

Hi! The search for survivors of the school that collapsed is now over and the special rescue teams have returned back to the United States and Martinique. Now heavy equipment is being used to demolish the remaining structure of the La Promesse School. The missing kindergarten teacher and her 12 students were all found dead. They died of suffocation. It just took too long to get to them. Burials of the victims have now started. The funeral for Samuel’s cousin Gerta is on Sunday. Pray for all those who are planning funerals and for those recovering from their injuries.
Monday afternoon we were visiting Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33 and a man was carrying a woman through the parking lot. He had brought her to the hospital with the hopes of obtaining medical care for her but the hospital is still on strike. He asked us if we could drive them to another hospital. The woman hadn’t been able to urinate for 2 weeks and she was in a lot of pain. Her belly and legs were swollen and she couldn’t walk well. It looked like she was in kidney failure. We drove them to the Bernard Mevs Hospital on Airport Road but they couldn’t help her there either as there were no available beds. We next tried Chancerelles Hospital hoping that they could at least put in a catheter but they wouldn’t take her in either. The next morning her husband brought her to General Hospital downtown and couldn’t find help for her there either. He called Lukner and told him that he couldn’t find anywhere for help. We went down to General Hospital but couldn’t find them there. They must have just got discouraged and went home. She probably has died by now. Pray that the state hospital strikes will be settled and that people will once again have a place to seek medical care. The government has fired the director of General Hospital and will replace him with a new director. This new director has the task of turning around the situation at this state hospital within 6 months. This will be a difficult task.
While we were at General Hospital searching for this woman and her husband an ambulance and a tap-tap came up to the emergency department and unloaded injured students from another school collapse. The Institution Mixte Grace Divine school is located in the Canape Vert area near the hospital there and is situated in the Bois Patate section. People were saying that once again a school collapsed with children inside. We didn’t know how many children were inside the school when it happened and we rushed over to try and help. As we were driving from the hospital we noticed that there were tires burning near the large downtown park. There was a group of about 30 young men standing on the one corner. We saw one car drive around the tires and keep going so we decided to do the same thing. We just hit the gas and horn/siren and passed with no problems. Later we found out that these men were throwing rocks at vehicles in the area but they must have gotten tired and ran out of rocks. They were protesting against the cost of living in Haiti. When we arrived in the Canape Vert region we had to walk up to the area where the school is located. It is in a dense area and the street was packed with people. Fortunately the school collapsed when the children were on recess and only 8 people got injured. Nobody was trapped inside the school. The pastor/owner of the school was constructing an addition to the school and this extra weight caused it to collapse. You have to walk through a narrow corridor to get to the school, as it is not near the road. We climbed up onto the roof of a nearby building and were able to see how the school collapsed. That same day there was also an incident at another school. Students are nervous now about the safety of their school and at a school in the Christ Roi area there was a panic when students felt what they thought was a tremor and rushed to exit the building. Some students were injured in this rush to escape. Hopefully the government will inspect all school structures to prevent further incidents. Because cement and rebar prices are very high some builders are cutting corners and putting less cement in their mixtures and less rebar in structures and this is a dangerous trend.
The hydrocephalus surgeries started on November 13th and ended on Saturday. They were held at Bernard Mevs Hospital on Airport Road. The Bitar brothers who are both surgeons run this hospital and they have been very supportive of the program. Without their agreement to open up their hospital to these children the surgeries would have had to be delayed. 25 children were able to receive brain surgery. Pray that they recover well from their operations. They are packed into the pediatrics ward. Late Saturday afternoon some of the children were transferred to the clinic at Dr. Joey’s, which is located in the Mais Gate area of Delmas 33. It is not in a good area and we had some trouble with some thugs. They didn’t seem to care that we were bringing food to babies and wanted some too. We have to come up with a different way of getting food to the children who are at Dr. Joey’s clinic. We picked up John Charles from the orphanage he is staying at Saturday morning and he had his surgery later in the afternoon. Paulna was babysitter for the day at the hospital. Guerdson Delile, the baby from Jeremie and Calwens Sanon, the baby from Gonaives both had surgeries as well. Widmirtha Mervil, the baby who has fluid coming from her navel had her shunt removed as well. Hopefully she will now be healthier not having the shunt as a constant source of infection. Pray that they all recover. There are always complications for some children after these types of surgeries. Pray a good post-op plan will be put into place to deal with these problems. We have been providing meals to the parents and children in the mornings and evenings while the children are in hospital. The next week will be busy planning to prepare paperwork for a couple of babies with hydrocephalus who were not part of the surgery process here in Haiti. Marcson Marcelin is a 3-month-old baby who is just starting with hydrocephalus. There is also a baby who is only a couple of weeks old who was born with a larger than normal head. This baby was born caesarean section. Another baby has a large spina bifida and we are trying to find help for her as well. Pray we can get the paperwork done to help these children and that hospitals can be found for them and medical visas obtained.
That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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