Saturday, November 8, 2008

haiti update - november 8, 2008

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says “Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.” I tell you in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:4-7

Hi! This week we found a “lost sheep” at General Hospital. On Tuesday afternoon we were by the emergency room and saw a body lying on the ground outside the doors of the entrance. The guards told us that this individual had been brought to the grounds of the hospital that morning. When we went up closer we found out that we knew this person! His name is David Marzelus and we have known him for years. He is mentally handicapped and has seizures. We have helped the family out over the years with medicine and sometimes he would come over and visit us. He was lying on the ground recovering from a seizure and we were happy to find him. The only problem though was how he got there in the first place. The family in the past sometimes would come over and tell us how he would cause problems near his home and we suspected that the family had dumped him off on the grounds of the hospital. We thought that we would first go over to see the family. The family lives in the Delmas 31 area and the father explained to us that David had been missing for a couple of weeks and that he was prone to running away. When we told him that we found David on the ground at General Hospital he gave us an answer that we didn’t expect. He told us that he didn’t want him back and would just leave him there and visit from time to time and that he would try and visit him on Friday. I didn’t know what to say to him but we weren’t going to leave David lying outside the emergency department. We went back to the hospital and picked him off the ground and put him inside the pick-up truck and brought him back to his family’s home on Delmas 31. As we approached the house with David (he was able to walk with assistance) we told the neighbors that we had found a “lost sheep” and were bringing him home. The neighbors followed us and the family said thank-you when we got in front of their home. The ending didn’t work out as it is in the bible story. Pray for David and his family.
November 1st and 2nd are holidays in Haiti. In the voodoo religion they are holidays for the dead. People will visit graveyards and offer food and drink to keep the spirits happy and will ask the spirits for favors. On Saturday afternoon we exited the gates of the hospital and had just turned onto the street when we saw a large crowd of people approaching. We pulled off to the side to let them pass. The crowd was about 3,000 in number and was mainly young adults dressed in the “rapper/gangster” style of dress. They were walking to the main cemetery downtown and were in a festive mood. Pastor Pierre was with us and he mentioned that there wasn’t one Christian in the bunch. They walked past us and only one of them rapped on the windows of the truck. We smiled and waved back. On Sunday afternoon as we were heading to the hospital there was another group again but smaller in number and we took another route to go around them. Pray for missions in Haiti that strive to turn souls from voodoo to the Christian faith.
The elderly lady with the rotten legs died on Monday afternoon. She suffered much throughout her ordeal in the emergency room. Her husband never left her side since the day she entered the hospital.
There is also a man who is in the emergency room for the last couple of weeks. He came from Jeremie after a motorcycle accident. His leg is badly broken in 3 places; femur, tibia and knee; and he needs surgery to put in metal plates to fix it. We visited the Baptist Mission Hospital in Fermathe and spoke with Dr. Bernard. He sent us to see the orthopedic surgeon who works at the hospital. This surgeon is one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Haiti and he donates his time one day a week to the hospital. He examined the x-rays and determined what needed to be done to help this man. He told us he would operate free of charge but that the metal plates and supplies would have to be rented from the hospital supply company. We don’t have the funds to be able to help the family out with this but they have been contacting friends and family to try to come up with the funds. Pray for their efforts and that this man can get the surgery to fix his leg.
A couple of the prisoners have been transferred back to prison and there are still 2 young men chained to their beds. There is not much we can do to help them get medical care as they are in the hands of the state. Please continue to pray for an end to the hospital strikes and that the people still in the hospitals can one day get the medical care that they need.
It is beginning to look like the neurosurgery surgeries cannot be held at Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33 because of the ongoing strike. Discussions are being made with Bernard Mevs Hospital on Airport Road to hold the surgeries there. Pray a plan can be put into place for the upcoming hydrocephalus surgeries that are supposed to be held November 13th-15th. We now have an additional hydrocephalus baby and mother staying here at Coram Deo temporarily until the surgical date. Calwens is a 6 month-old baby from the Gonaives area. She was in the state hospital in Gonaives with her baby when the flooding from the tropical storms hit the area in August. Since that time the UN has been keeping an eye on her and Calwens. She came to Port-au-Prince in a UN helicopter on Friday and was transported by them to Healing Hands. We picked her up from there. The baby is in good shape for surgery. Pray that all the children selected by the surgical team will be able to receive surgery.
On Friday we were able to assist Angel Missions in getting a medical visa at the US Consulate for Paul Elie Blanchard, another hydrocephalus baby. Pray for the travel arrangements being made for him.
One of the problems in Haiti is poor construction standards. The poor will build in areas where there should not be building. There are slum areas on the hillsides of Port-au-Prince. On Friday morning a 3 story Christian school building collapsed killing and trapping children and teachers inside. A lot of people rushed to help out and things were pretty chaotic. We drove as far as we could in the pickup truck and then walked up a path on the side of the ravine. As we got close to the school the UN was trying to keep crowds back. All of a sudden the crowd started to run down the road in the opposite direction while we were heading up and we had to dive behind a building to get out of the way of the stampeding people. There was a Haitian doctor at the school that I know and we went inside the building to try and help out. The back part of the school had collapsed. The front part was still standing and we went into the building by this entrance. We could hear children that were crying for help from the rubble who were trapped. The one section where there were children still alive was near what had been a stairwell on the lower level. There was a small hole and we could see and talk to one of the children. They calmed down a little after being reassured that they would be helped. There were large sections of concrete that couldn’t be moved by hand and no heavy equipment to help out. People working on trying to rescue people from the top part of the building were pounding on cement causing dust and cement bits to fall down below. We had to go out of the building a few times to tell them to be careful and not to cause another collapse. There was one person by the hole in the collapsed room and we handed him “support bricks” to try and stabilize the area. There were shovels and we helped to shovel loose debris aside. There were dead people in the section along with the living. One of the bodies was blocking access to the living and people were discussing how to get past the body that was pinned under the concrete. In the end some not very nice things were done to the body to get it out of the way. While this was done the police ordered people out of this section. Outside waiting were families of the missing. One woman had 2 children who were in the hospital. One child has his leg amputated and the other had a fracture. She was waiting on word of her third child who was missing. Lukner spoke with one parent who has 5 children registered at the school. All of them are missing inside the collapsed building. Special rescue teams are coming in to help. They are needed because of the instability of the building and also will have the equipment and skills needed to get to the trapped children. As of last night there are officially 50 dead, and 80 injured in a school with an enrolment of around 700 children. While we were inside the building there were 7 bodies that had been pulled out of the rubble and left in a room off to the side. People in the area said that the school wasn’t properly built. Because it is in a ravine the back part that was collapsed was higher and I think didn’t have the proper support built into it. It collapsed while a third story was being constructed. Children were on recess break and when the trembling sound was heard some rushed into the building instead of out. Pray for those helping to release the children from the rubble and the living who are still trapped inside. That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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