Monday, December 22, 2008

haiti update - december 20, 2008

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Hi! This week was busy with both the school program and medical program. On Tuesday we celebrated the last day of school here at Coram Deo before the Christmas break. The teachers did a good job at organizing the program and the children enjoyed getting involved in the special activities. They did things such as skipping, pushups, sack race, musical chairs and to top it off a bible verse competition made up of bible verses memorized during this first school semester. Calens Pierre is a 5-year-old boy who is almost blind. We don’t have the resources yet to teach him how to read by Braille but he is very attentive in his class and he held his own in the bible verse competition representing the handicapped children against the non-handicapped children. Another of the handicapped children did well too in the musical chairs game. A deaf student won! Jislaine Neanty is the deaf girl who refused to join the handicapped class in the beginning of the school year. She has done well in the other class. She brings this determination to musical chairs as well. The person playing the music would tap his foot at the same time he turned off the music and every time she reacted quicker than the other children. These games give the handicapped children confidence that they can perform just as well as the non-handicapped children in activities. We gave the children snacks and refreshments as well as a meal at the end of the morning. We also put together a small gift bag that they could take home. Jn. Eddy had approached me at the beginning of the morning asking if we could hand out prizes for the winners of the games. I didn’t really have anything left after making up the gift bags but had told him that I would come up with something. An hour later I received a phone call from a visitor to Haiti who had brought some things for Coram Deo and I went over to pick up the bag. She had made 12 hand-made gift bags filled with school supplies. With all the activities we had we needed 12 prizes, so this surprise gift worked out well! Kiki entertained the children with his abilities at using his feet. He showed the children how to use a hairbrush, open a bottle of coca-cola and thread a needle using his feet.
On Friday morning there was a meeting with the parents and to hand out the report cards. The teachers went over what the students had learned during the first semester and also explained to the parents how they could help their children at home. There was also a question period where parents could ask questions. The second semester will start on January 5th here at Coram Deo. We give the Lord thanks for the opportunity to once again have a school program here at Coram Deo.
Manu, Jacob, and Benson had a Christmas program at Sheri’s school on Thursday afternoon. Each class performed for the parents and visitors and they sang well. Manu’s class sang a Christmas rap song and Manu enjoyed it. It was fun listening to him rehearse his part in the week before the Christmas program.
The plastic surgery team from the University of Miami started operating on December 19th and will continue until the 21st. It is great to see children receive the gift of a changed face. I talked with Maggy of Project Medishare about a child who needed hernia surgery and who had been on our medical search list for the last year and she talked this over with the team and they agreed to do his surgery as well. 8 children on our list will be getting surgeries. Jameson Glezil, who is a student in the school program here at Coram Deo is excited about getting surgery to repair his cleft palate. He has no fear about undergoing surgery and is excited that he won’t have to live any more with the hole in the roof of his mouth. We have been providing meals for the parents and children while they stay at the hospital. The children only have to remain one day in the hospital so there is a quick discharge rate. A couple of children had colds and this blocked their opportunity for an operation but hopefully they will be able to get surgery in January with another plastic surgery team that Angel Missions is organizing at Bernard Mevs Hospital. Another Project Medishare plastic surgery team will be operating at the hospital in Cange located on the central plateau in March. It is great to see Operation Cleft Free Haiti in action as all these teams come to Haiti to different hospitals. Over time word will spread and people will not consider these children as a burden. One of the children who were operated on today is a 2-year-old girl and her father is raising her alone since she was 3 months old. The mother gave her to him saying that she didn’t want her. He has done his best at raising her and now she will no longer have the disfigurement that caused her mother to give her up. She is a happy girl. Pray for the recovery of all the children operated on and that they would have no post-surgery complications.
This week we got another donation of Feed My Starving Children rice meals and it came at just the right time to use for food at the hospital. We also received clothing, a large sack of cookies and stuffed animals from Love a Child to use as part of our community outreach program. The children in the hospital enjoyed receiving a stuffed animal as a gift.
In Haiti the Christmas season also brings an increase in crime. The UN and Haitian Police have launched “Boucle Bleu” (blue buckle) to provide extra security on the roads primarily to deter kidnapping through the Christmas and New Year’s season. There are lots of lottery booths in the area. This week a man won 50,000 H$ (around $6,200US$) in a lottery from a booth across from our street corner. Friday afternoon, around 2:00pm he went to pick up his winnings. He left and immediately got robbed on our street corner. It looks like the lottery booth organized this robbery. A shoeshine man got kidnapped by the entrance to the Cite Jeremie area while he was shining shoes. His mother had died and he was organizing the funeral. He had gotten funds together to use for the funeral. The area where he got kidnapped is a high traffic area and there were witnesses. Police were called and immediately the UN and police came into the area. The man’s older brother was there too and the police detained him after finding a gun on him. It wasn’t a registered gun. The police ended up freeing the shoeshine man and it looks like the older brother organized the kidnapping to get the funeral funds. Looks like he wanted some extra money for Christmas!
That’s all the news for today. Have a blessed Christmas!

Karen Bulte, Coram Deo

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