Sunday, January 27, 2008

photos - children

We rejoice that Pharah Simeon is now in the United States to get medical treatment.

John Charles is from Bombardopolis. Hopefully he will be able to travel to the United States as well.

This is Lourdie Aldor standing on 2 legs again. Her right leg was amputated above the knee a couple years ago because of a tumor. She will be getting used to her new leg walking around in our yard.

Chrisno Jeudi is another hydrocephalus child we hope will be able to travel to the United States as well.

These are some of the children from Paulna's village holding their faith bracelets and card.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

haiti update - january 26, 2008

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Hi! This week was a very busy week with the medical program. We finished the paperwork for Pharah Simeon and she is traveling to the United States today. Keep her in prayer as she undergoes surgery for her hydrocephalus. Her head is very large, around 83 cm but she is very active neurologically. Recently her eyes started “sun downing” (the pressure on the brain forces the eyes downward). To compensate she pulls down her eyelid with her finger to see better. This is the first time I have seen a child do this. Her mother never gave up hope and I promised her mother that I would never give up looking for help for her child. We are thankful to the Lord for the opportunity for her to travel for medical care. A doctor and his wife will be accompanying her on the plane. We are also scrambling to complete paperwork for other children who are in the same situation as Pharah. Chrisno Jeudi is a 16-month-old boy with a head circumference of 72 cm. John Wilson Charles is a baby from Bombardopolis (north-west part of Haiti) and he is staying at our home with his parents while we complete paperwork for him as well. Today we are bringing another 3 hydrocephalus children to be evaluated with the hopes of doors opening for them as well. Keep all these children and plans in prayer.
Lourdie Aldor is a teenager who had her leg amputated above the knee almost 2 years ago. She received her artificial leg on Friday and now is able to walk again. She will be coming to the house a few days a week to practice walking. Where she lives it is difficult because the roads are uneven and rocky. She will gradually keep her prosthesis on for longer periods of time. Once she is fully used to using her artificial leg she can think of going to school again. She is deaf as well.
The lady who we brought to the hospital last week had her baby but not in the hospital. After I had dropped her off at the Doctors Beyond Borders maternity hospital they sent her home, as she was not yet ready to deliver. The family brought her home and the next day she started labor again. This time the family intended to wait longer before going to the hospital but ended up waiting too long and the baby was delivered at home. Both mother and baby are doing well.
Judnel Vincent is a boy who has a mitral valve heart problem. We brought him over to see Vanessa and a visiting doctor (the same one who is traveling with Pharah). After examining Judnel he said that he would examine the mother as well as she was pregnant. It was then that Judnel’s mother said that her water had broken the prior evening. She also had high blood pressure and was starting to have swelling in her legs. The doctor told us to take her to the maternity hospital and we ended up making a night run to the hospital. At three in the morning her labor pains started and she had a baby girl at 7:00am Thursday morning. We picked up the mother and child from the hospital later in the afternoon and brought them both home. Mother and child are doing well. Haiti is full of surprises! What started out as a heart exam turned into helping a pregnant woman get to the hospital.
There were also several other people with medical problems who we brought to see a doctor.
On Sunday afternoon we went to see Paulna’s village so that her family could see her leg without the pins in it. At the same time we handed out “faith bracelets” that some visitors had given to us to hand out to children. They come with a card explaining what each color bead means. (Clear stands for God, gold = heaven, black=sin, red=sacrifice of Christ, White = purity, Blue = Holy Spirit). The children came running to us to get the bracelets and several tried to get more than one. The children here at Coram Deo enjoy visiting Paulna’s village. Her father sent back with her some fresh milk and also sugar cane for the people at the house.
The pick-up truck needs some fixing. It is starting to sound very squeaky. I found that out when the air conditioner stopped working and I started driving around with the windows open. I make sure to turn the radio on loud to drown out the squeaks. For the last few months there has been an exclamation mark trouble light on the instrument panel and I couldn’t figure out what caused it. The fluid levels were normal. This week I decided to top up the brake fluid to the maximum level and sure enough the exclamation mark on the instrument panel disappeared! In the next couple of weeks I am going to get the truck serviced. The children also want to change the name of the truck from Old Yeller to Herbie.
Haitian government representatives visited the Dominican Republic to see the control methods used for controlling the spread of bird flu (H5N2 strain). They decided to maintain import restrictions on poultry products from the Dominican Republic. In their 2-day visit they concluded that there was a weakness in the application of control procedures by the Dominican authorities.
The port is not functioning very well right now. It is taking people longer to get containers released from customs. Changes were made to the customs system in order to try and control corruption. The delays are frustrating for businesses and missions alike. By the DGI on Delmas 19 this past week one of the workers there was trying to prevent racketeers from having access. The end result for him was getting stabbed in the neck. Fortunately for him he was near the Doctors Beyond Borders Hospital and no major vein was hit. Corruption will be a long, difficult road to change in Haiti.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good evening!

Karen Bultje

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Photos - Paulna's Village - Bonnette

A couple of weeks ago we tried to make it to Paulna's village with the pickup truck but got stuck in the mud (that's when we found out that the 4wheel drive switch on the wheel was stuck). After a bunch of pushing by the guys and spinning tires we eventually got out. This time we parked by the watering hole and walked in. The boys tried to hitch a ride on this donkey but the answer was no.

Near Paulna's home there is a large tree and Manu and Benson climbed up onto a large branch.

Near Paulna's house there were some donkeys. The guys wanted their picture taken with them but they didn't want to stand too close to the donkeys. City boys!

Voodoo plays a large role in this village. Here we walked past the "Voodoo Swamp". Offerings to the spirits are placed in these containers. You can see some sort of container on several of the trees in this area.

Here is a close up of a couple of these containers. Pray for this village and that the voodoo influence will be overthrown.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

haiti update - january 18, 2008

“… I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Hi! This has been a busy week with medical cases. We were able to get the passport for Phara Simeon, the baby with hydrocephalus. Hopefully next week she will be able to get a medical visa. Pray that she will be granted a visa. If all goes well she will hopefully be traveling to the United States at the end of January. There are 2 hydrocephalus projects now that we are accessing to get help for the children. The first is the team from Miami that regularly comes to Haiti. This week a preliminary evaluation was done by the Haitian neurosurgeon on new cases. The Miami team will be arriving at the end of January to evaluate these cases. Some cases were not accepted at prior evaluations. These cases we forward on to the second hydrocephalus program that has been started by a neurosurgeon in the United States. He regularly travels to Uganda to do neurosurgeries and his way of helping Haitian children is to have them come to the United States for surgery to the hospital he works at. It’s great that we have 2 options to look to in finding medical care.
Angelo Lafortune’s mother came by this week to say hello and she says he is doing well in school and is seeing better. This is the same boy who almost died on the airplane while traveling to the United States. The fact that his mother and Angelo were in the United States made them a target for criminals here in Haiti. A month ago thieves went into their yard and started shooting in the air. Helpful neighbors shot in the air too and scared the thieves away. People were saying that the family was a target because if they went to the United States they had money. Pray for continuing strength for Angelo and protection for his family.
Paulna Maczil had her pins removed from her leg on Thursday . Her leg looks good. Once the school year is over she will have surgery on the second leg.
Vanessa from Angel Missions is in-country and we sent over several children for her to look at with the hopes that she can help find medical care for them. These children have either heart, hydrocephalus or orthopedic problems. Lovensky is a boy who was born with a dislocated shoulder that was never put back in place and as a result has caused some damage. I am not sure if the damage can be reversed. Hopefully Vanessa can help us find an answer for his problem. Pray for on-going medical searches for these children.
The pick-up truck is like an ambulance. Sometimes people in the community come and ask for help to transport people to the hospital. Late this afternoon the pastor of the church across the street asked if I could bring the wife of one of the leaders of his church to the hospital as she was in labor with her first child. When I got to their house I asked how long she had been in labor and she had started labor early in the morning. She got in and I told her to make sure that she doesn’t have her baby in the pickup truck and drove her to the Doctors Beyond Borders Hospital on Delmas 18.
Tuesday evening a man by the name of Eveque was stabbed on our street corner. He was buying some “marinade” (a type of fried food) and took one to taste test. The “marchande” (food vendor) told him that he would have to pay for it. The price was 1 gourde ( about 2 cents US$). He refused and gave her a big mouth. Her husband got up and then stabbed Eveque in the neck. He bled out and died right in front of the food stand. There was a crowd of people on the corner and Jack (from the break-in) came up to talk to me. He told me that Eveque died leaving 6 children behind and a pregnant wife carrying his 7th child. At least the police arrested the man who did this act. The next day we went past the ravine on Delmas 31 and someone had put the body of a 1 year old boy into the ravine. The entire day people walked by the ravine and looked down to see the body. The sad thing is that no police showed up to do anything about it. Pray for those who do not respect life.
On January 11th the “Kay Jistis” (House of Justice) financed with $500,000US in aid by USAID was inaugurated in Cite Soleil. The purpose of the project is to develop Justices of the Peace and community leaders in the domain of the regulation of conflicts, promote civic education and reinforce the judiciary capacity of the tribunal. This inauguration wasn’t greeted with peace by some. Tires were burned in front of the building causing a lot of smoke damage. We passed by this building on Saturday morning while in Cite Soleil and saw the blackened front. I went with Willy and Joel to meet the soccer players in their program. 65 boys between the ages of 13-17 are involved in their soccer program. They are in need of material and we are trying to find people to help them out. The soccer field they use is stone and dirt so soccer balls don’t have a long useful life. We also visited their sewing program for young girls that they run out of the school on Saturday mornings. Joel’s wife is a seamstress and she is trying to teach these young girls sewing skills. We gave them 3 sewing machines that people have donated to use in this program. Pray for the efforts of Action Chretienne de la Developpement as they seek to improve the lives of those residing in Cite Soleil.
The BID (Banque International de Developpement) provided Haiti with $750,000US$ in assistance to be used toward energy needs at the hydroelectric dam at Peligre. This dam supplies 25% of Haiti’s energy needs. Because we are now in the dry season, the dam’s output is reduced resulting in increased power shortages. We are getting only about 2 hours of electricity a day right now.
We are still getting our eggs from Mdm. Elie. I didn’t find out how she got this weeks eggs in from the Dominican Republic. In the country of Benin, January 10th was Voodoo Day. Benin has the H5N1 strain of bird flu in their country. This is the flu strain that can be passed on to humans. 2 cases of the H5N1 strain were found in poultry in Benin. Voodoo priests sacrificed chickens and declared that their ancient religion would protect them from risk of infection by the H5N1 bird flu virus. The Dominican Republic has the H5N2 strain, which cannot be transmitted from chickens to people. Pray for control of both these viruses in these countries and also that people would turn to the Lord instead of Voodoo.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good day!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Photos - Cite Soleil

Action Chretienne Pour le Developpement has 65 boys who are between 13-17 years of age in their soccer program. The name of the soccer team is Maranatha. Here they are talking with them at the soccer field in Cite Soleil.

It is a large stone, dirt area and soccer balls don't last too long on this type of surface. We are always looking for donations of soccer equipment to help them out.

On Saturday mornings Joel's wife teaches a sewing course to young girls in the community. We helped them out with a few sewing machines. The program is held at their school.

They learn to make their own patterns. No store bought patterns here in Haiti!

A local carpenter in front of the music school is measuring to make a base for a sewing machine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photos - Emerson, Junior, Jameson, William

Emerson's face is healing nicely. In February the doctors will do surgery to correct the palate. In March he will possibly have surgery on his eye. Continue to keep him in prayer

The scales and dead skin are now off Junior's hands and he now has healthy hands! Now he can concentrate on doing chores around the house and start to attend school!

Jameson Glezile is a boy who has a cleft lip and palate. His father is Yonel, our Sunday gatekeeper. He may be able to get surgery here in Haiti in the month of March.

William is a mentally handicapped boy from the neighborhood who likes to hang out around our yard in his spare time.

haiti update - january 10, 2008

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have…”
(1 Peter 3:15)

Hi! This week has been busy with medical cases. We received an updated photo on Emerson. He will undergo surgery again in February to correct his cleft palate and possibly another surgery in March on his eye. Pray for continuing healing for him. Brenda had her hydrocephalus surgery on January 3rd and is doing well. Angel Missions directed by Vanessa Carpenter has found a neurosurgeon and hospital willing to perform 25 hydrocephalus surgeries. This is a real blessing for these kids as they get to have good follow up care while they recover. We are working on Pharah Simeon’s paperwork. She is scheduled for surgery at the end of January. There may be a surgical team coming to Haiti in March to do cleft lip surgeries. I am hoping that Jameson Glezile can be part of this program. Pray for the arrangements being made by this team. It’s amazing how many doors are opening for these kids. There was a medical team conducting an eye clinic in our neighborhood on Tuesday and Manu and Francois (the gatekeeper) both got their eyes tested. They both need glasses. The team will be returning again in February with the eyeglasses.
The schools reopened after the Christmas break and the children were happy to be going back to school. Jn. Eddy Alexandre re-wrote his rheto exams and according to the results announced on the radio did not pass. Only 7% of students who wrote the exams passed. There is something wrong with the rheto exam process. Some of the official results show students being given marks of zero which shows that the exam marking process is not working well. This has always been a problem in the history of state exams. This is now Jn. Eddy’s 3rd effort at writing these exams but he is not giving up. We also enrolled Junior Pierre at Pastor Octave’s school across the street. This makes him officially our first sponsor student as we renew the educational program here at Coram Deo! I am also giving English lessons to the people who live here.
I checked back with the police about the break-ins and told them about the information on the computer. Because the user name was changed to Franco (*name changed) we know who probably has the computer. I told the police about tracking the use of the computer but they say that these results would be difficult to use in court here in Haiti and they don’t understand the technology. Because nobody actually saw Franco take the computer he could always say that he just bought it from somebody. If this would have been Canada they could easily have been arrested. We also have the bloody knapsack. The police weren’t interested in this as well. The police need to do a lot more work to reach the police standards of Canada! They suggested talking with Franco and ask about purchasing it back so that is what we did on Saturday morning. I went with the guys to find Jack(*name changed) in the Cite Jeremie area and had a conversation with him and explained to him that the user name on the computer was changed to Franco and didn’t accuse him of stealing it. I told him that if Franco has a laptop it is probably my stolen computer that he bought. Within an hour Franco was at the gate to talk. They both denied having the computer but would make every effort in searching for it. They both said that they were shocked when they heard about the break-in and thought it was a terrible thing that was done. They said that if they find the person who has the computer they will talk with them and negotiate a purchase price. Maybe these guys will be scared off of stealing computers now and that the computer I now have will be a whole lot safer and secure in my home.
My family thinks that the best way to show the love of Christ is to help those involved in the robbery. Vera (*name changed) went to the United States several years ago to remove the tumor that was eating away at her arm bone. The doctors at the time said that they couldn’t remove all the cancer cells and that it may return. A few weeks ago someone told me that Vera had gone to someone for medical help about her arm. They told her no and my sister Tanya wants to make sure that she gets help. I sent out word and later in the evening her brother came to the house and we set up an appointment to go to Healing Hands so that the doctor there can check to see if the cancer is growing again. I am also going to keep talking with Jack and Franco on a regular basis. These young guys follow the gangster image. Pray that their hearts and those of their friends are changed. Hopefully there won’t be any more break-ins.
On December 20th, 2 cases of avian “bird flu” were discovered in the Higuey area of the Dominican Republic in 2 fighting roosters. As a result the Ministere de l’Agriculture des Resources Naturelles et du Developpement Rural (MARNDR) has banned the import of chicken products from the Dominican Republic into Haiti for the time being. The viral strain was identified as H5N2. This is not the strain that can be passed to humans. The strain that can be passed from birds to humans is H5N1. The government is announcing that an importation permit is necessary in the future for avian products. It is believed that migrating birds introduced the virus onto the island and these are the first diagnosed cases of H5N2 avian flu on the island. Imports from the United States and other countries are not part of the restrictions. We always buy our eggs from Mdm. Elie who goes once a week to the Dominican border to buy them and then resells to people in the neighborhood. We got eggs Wednesday morning so the ban is not very well enforced. The Haitian and Dominican people are very resourceful to get around the ban. It took Mdm. Elie 2 days to get her eggs. In the village of Le Tant there is a lake where canoes are used to transport products from the Dominican Republic. Boatloads of eggs that tried to cross the lake in the daytime were not able to arrive in Le Tant because there was someone watching the lake. Under the cover of darkness the boats were able to cross the lake and Mdm. Elie arrived at her home again around midnight. The economy in the Dominican Republic will take a big hit if this ban is enforced. It is estimated that $117,000US will be lost in sales each day of the importation ban. Some of the Haitian people I have talked to are now scared to eat eggs and chickens coming from the Dominican Republic. Others say that the “bourgeois” want to corner the egg and chicken market and eliminate the small sellers. Pray that the virus can be controlled.
The UN is now deployed to the Haitian-Dominican frontier to help deter drug trafficking and smuggling. 4 observation posts are being built to monitor the frontier. It looks like they will have to keep chickens and eggs out of the country too! The UN’s priorities for 2008 will be continuing police reform and also improving the judicial and penitentiary systems. Pray for their efforts.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good day!

Karen Bultje

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Photos - Reservoir, Snake

Here are the boys holding the baby snake taken from the reservoir. The older guys didn't want anything to do with it and may not be so willing to climb into the reservoir again the next time it needs some cleaning!

After a while quite a bit of dirt builds up inside and the reservoir needs to be cleaned out. The guys used the ladder to climb down into the reservoir. They were worried about finding a snake inside but I looked first and didn't see anything. This photo was taken before the snake was found! They look happy and comfortable in this photo.

Manu was the supervisor and snake spotter.

The reservoir is large and it took a while to clean.

haiti update - january 3, 2008

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation”. (Heb. 11:1-2)

A new year has begun. In Haiti January 1st and 2nd are both national holidays. As well as celebrating the new year the country celebrates Independence Day on January 1st. To commemorate this day Haitians throughout the country eat “joumou” (pumpkin) soup as a symbol that they are independent and no longer in slavery. On the eve of the new year people celebrate by lighting fireworks in the evening. On January 2nd is “Jour des Aieux “ (Ancestor Day). This day is to remember those who set the country free. This time of year is a good time to do some work around the house and I took advantage of the fact that everyone is out of school by putting them to work doing some special jobs. We cleaned and scrubbed the water reservoirs. We have a large reservoir and also a small one on the roof. In Haiti we don’t have a constant source of water so this is why homes need to have a reservoir to store water. Every few weeks we buy a water tanker load of water to put in the reservoir.
We received photos this week of Emerson’s new face and it looks good! He now has a well shaped nose and mouth and his eye is now able to close as well. The days where his mother would carry him putting his face against her shoulder so that people wouldn’t see are now over! I posted them on my blog site Because some people have slow internet or dial-up connections I haven’t been putting photos with the updates. The blog site can be accessed to see any photos.
Brenda, the hydrocephalus baby traveled to the United States this week. Pray for healing mercies for her as well. The next couple of weeks will be busy organizing the paperwork for a couple of hydrocephalus children who hopefully will be traveling soon to the United States for surgery. There are also a few orthopedic cases that may be able to get surgeries in the United States as well. Pray that doors will open for these children too.
Below is a poem on the walk of faith that I read in a devotional. Have a blessed 2008!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

“Still upward be thine onward course:
For this I pray today;
Still upward as the years go by,
And seasons pass away.
“Still upward in this coming year,
Thy path is all untried;
Still upward may’st thou journey on,
Close by thy Savior’s side.
“Still upward e’en though sorrow come,
And trials crush thine heart;
Still upward may they draw thy soul,
With Christ to walk apart.
“Still upward till the day shall break,
And shadows all have flown;
Still upward till in heaven you wake,
And stand before the throne.”

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Photos - Emerson's Surgery

This is Emerson's travelling day photo

Here is a photo of him settling in. He looks comfortable!

The surgery took all day and it is amazing to see how much his face has changed. We give the Lord thanks for His healing mercies.