Saturday, March 29, 2008

photos - emerson's return, dieuna, jimmy

This is how Emerson Simplice used to look. He had a very bad cleft lip and palette.

His mother was very happy to see him! She is thankful to all those who made it possible for him to get these surgeries. People's donations makes it possible for kids like these to get care that they otherwise wouldn't get.

I drove them downtown and brought them to where the Petit Goave buses park. His father was happy to have his son back as well. His mother was worried about the dust getting in Emerson's eye.

Dieuna Philippe is next in line to go to the United States. Pray we can get a visa for her quickly. Her head is growing rapidly.

Jimmy Jean suffered severe burns to the left side of his head and his left side due to having an acid poured over him. His left ear is completely gone. His family said that the acid was battery acid. We are going to send photos to the United States to find out if there is such a thing as a prosthetic ear. Keep him in prayer

haiti update - march 29, 2008

“ And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

Hi! This week was a busy week doing paperwork. I am glad that I don’t have to do it all the time but it is important to keep the paperwork up-to-date too!
We got a pleasant surprise this week when Emerson Simplice returned from the United States after completing his cleft lip and palette surgeries. His parents picked him up on Friday and I dropped him off at the bus station to Petit Goave. They were happy to see their son again for the first time in almost 6 months. When he gets to be 10 years old he will be able to get surgery to put in an artificial eye. In the meantime I told the parents to try to find an eye patch to protect his eye against infection from the dust. His mother is proud of her son and the changes in his appearance. When Emerson was born the doctors at the hospital gave her no hope. They had told her that he would die and wouldn’t have a future. She told me that she would visit this hospital and show them her son now. She has always had a strong prayer life and believes God opened doors for Emerson. In Haiti the churches have night prayer services where the congregation stays overnight at the church. The family planned to take Emerson to their Friday prayer service to give the Lord thanks for healing.
Lukner, a worker here at Coram Deo that usually rides along with me in the pick-up just started his anti-retro viral treatment for HIV on Friday. There is a large number of HIV in Haiti although the percentile of the population infected with the virus has reduced. It is difficult to get on these aids treatment programs as demand exceeds supply. Pray for him as the medecine is powerful and sometimes causes nausea and other problems. This treatment will help him to stay stronger and healthier in his work here.
I went for 3 visa interviews on Wednesday and hopefully we will get the visa early next week. We have to bring some more paperwork in to the US Consulate before the visas will be approved. One of the children, Dieunette Lormintus (baby with encephalocele behind head) is now living here at Coram Deo until she departs for the USA. The mother had a problem with another parent at the Missionaries of Charity and they got into a fight. As a result the sisters put her and the baby out on the street. I told her she could stay here as long as she didn’t get into any fights with the people here! She seems quite embarrassed over what happened. The argument was based on jealousy. A mother with a clubbed foot baby was angry that Dieunette is going to be helped in the United States and picked a fight with Dieunette’s mother. They had a scuffle and were both evicted from the sisters’ compound.
We are now awaiting a visa interview appointment for Dieuna Philippe, a hydrocephalus baby. Her head is growing rapidly and she has started to develop a couple of pressure sores on each side of her head. Pray that these sores don’t prevent her from getting surgery. I took pictures of her head and am going to send them to Angel Missions to pass on to the doctor.
The mayor’s office on Delmas 31 was the scene of another protest again on Friday morning. It was peaceful but there were more police around this time.
The inflation rate for February has climbed to 11.9%. One figure that is important is the price of rice. In the one-year period from 2007 to 2008, the price of rice has increased 24%. Since rice is a major part of the Haitian diet, these price increases are really affecting the poor.
The head of the UN Mission here in Haiti, Hedi Anabi reiterated that the mandate of the UN here has 4 principal parts: reinforcement of the police, judicial system reform, penitentiary system reform and securing the frontier. The UN has increased patrols and fixed inspection patrols because of the recent increase in kidnapping. In the beginning of April the head of MINUSTAH will present to the UN Security Council an interim report on the situation in Haiti.
Janes Information Group has published their Country Risk Report on the world’s most unstable countries. Unfortunately, Haiti is still considered one of the most unstable countries in the world. Haiti is number 6. The countries ranked worse than Haiti are Gaza and the West Bank in first position followed by Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Ivory Coast. Pray for continuous improvement in security for Haiti and these other unstable countries as well.
A Canadian government delegation visited Haiti on Thursday. They visited Cite Soleil and also the Haiti/Dominican border town of Malpasse. Canada will provide $305,000 to repair the Malpasse road leading to/from the Dominican Republic (this is the road that currently has a portion covered in water because of the rising lake levels). Eggs are still coming into the country despite the import ban that is in place on Dominican poultry products. Officials don’t have the means to control the ban and the Haitian people are very determined! We are still able to purchase smuggled eggs from the vendor in our neighborhood and they are tasty!
The Canadian government has also helped to finance free gynecological care for women at several state hospitals here in Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country. This health program was officially launched at the end of January but Minister of Health in Haiti is still putting the organization plan in place before these services are provided. Currently at General Hospital it costs $60H (8 US$) for a regular delivery and $200H ( 27 US$) for a caesarian plus costs of materials. Hopital General, Hopital Chancerelles, Hopital Sainte Catherine, Hopital Universitaire La Paix and Hopital de Carrefour are the state hospitals here in Port-au-Prince where pregnant women will be able to get this free care. This program’s focus is to reduce the increasing maternal mortality rates of women in Haiti. Hopefully by next year the mortality rates will start to decrease. Time will tell. Pray that the Haitian government can put this program in place and that gynecological care will be now more available for pregnant women.
That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Sunday, March 23, 2008

photos - happy corner neighbors

It was a quiet weekend and I thought I would take some photos of the people who hang around our street corner. I call it the "happy corner" because most of the time the people on the street are in a happy mood. "Rara bands" are a common sight here in Haiti. Here is one that made quite a bit of noise!

There are several motorcycles on the corner waiting for passengers. This guy is proud of his motorcycle. Sometimes there is a bit of congestion between the tap-taps and motorcycles on the corner, which makes it difficult for a vehicle to turn at the corner. They are pretty good though at making room for us when we turn at the corner. A friendly toot of the horn is all it takes!

This man asked to get his picture taken and struck up this pose. I think he likes his beard!

This is one of the "happy men" who hang out on the corner. He wanted to have his picture taken too and is a jolly fellow!

These tire changers are proud of their tire changing station. They have had to scurry several times already when the mayors workers came by and removed their stuff. It never takes them long though to set up their business again!

Friday, March 21, 2008

photos - chicken, kites, bat, kidnapping

This is Lukner holding our Easter chicken blessing! I am sure that he and his family will enjoy this tasty treat!

Here are the children holding their Haitian kites. Benson really wanted to find one with the Canadian flag on it but this is the closest one he could find that resembles Canada's flag!

Here is a close-up shot of the bat that flew into the wall of the house. They are ugly but their wings are amazing to see up close!

This is the property that the kidnappers used to hide the children that they kidnapped. Pray that this practice stops.

haiti update - march 21, 2008

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30,31

Hi! This morning the children were all excited. The dog had just gotten a hold of a chicken that made the mistake of coming into our yard. It was a nice plump Haitian chicken and it was now dead. I was happy and told the kids that God had just provided us with some meat to go with our Easter meal. The kids were happy and Junior asked for money to buy some beans and other stuff to cook with the chicken. The adults here though frowned at the idea of eating this chicken. They told me that a Christian should not eat the neighbors chicken. I reminded them about the last couple of cats that we had. Once these cats strayed over the wall they never came back (cats are a real delicacy here in Haiti). If the neighbors ate our cat why can’t we eat their chicken because the chicken was now dead anyway? I left to go to the hospital to visit Iliodor and Austin and when I got back Manu gave me the bad news. He said that he threw the chicken over the wall. I asked him why did you throw away our Easter dinner and he said that the adults here at Coram Deo made him do it! I asked Marie about the money that was meant to buy the beans and other stuff to go with the chicken and she said that she bought the beans and some fish to go with it instead! Lukner didn’t like this explanation and he was able to recover the chicken from behind the neighbor’s wall. Now he and his family are going to enjoy this blessing of Easter chicken!
It is also traditional at this time of year for children to fly kites. This morning we bought some hand-made Haitian kites on the street. The children are now “souping up” their kites with some added features that they are making.
Good Friday is a holiday here in Haiti. Christians remember this day as God’s gift to us of His son Jesus Christ who died for our sins on the cross. The voodoo people celebrate Jesus death on the cross on this day. But for Christians there is an Easter where Jesus rises from the dead and the voodoo people have no ceremony for that day. Pray for Haiti that the country as a whole turns to the Lord and to the truth.
Yesterday afternoon Manu was all excited because he had found a bat at the side of the house. It had flown into the side of the wall and was now lying on the ground stunned. I always have heard the expression “blind as a bat” and knew these animals had some sort of sonar to fly around but something was wrong with this bat. For it to be flying in the daytime and then to hit the wall shows that it was probably sick. Bats can carry rabies so the older guys killed it. It was good though that the kids could actually see up-close what a bat looks like.
We give the Lord thanks that Naphtalie Bazile had her hydrocephalus surgery on Tuesday. She is doing well and her head circumference has already gone down 1.5 cm. The host family sent some pictures and her mother is happy to see how well she is doing.
This week we also got the passport for Dieunette Lormintus, the baby with the encephalocele behind the head. We have an appointment next Wednesday at the US Consulate to request a medical visa. God willing she will be able to travel to the USA for surgery as well.
Dieune Philippe is the next hydrocephalus baby who is in line to travel to the USA for hydrocephalus surgery. Her passport is ready and we are just waiting for the hospital papers so that we can request a medical visa for her as well.
Iliodor and Austin both didn’t get their surgeries at General Hospital this week. Pray an operating room time can open up for them. Austin especially is suffering. He spends most of the day on his knees, as it is too painful to lie in bed.
Jn. Eddy Alexandre wrote his rheto exam re-writes again. He is determined to pass these state exams. If he does he will obtain his secondary school diploma. He is very determined to do all he can to improve his lot in life. Pray for him and his studies.
The electric company EDH is giving us a lot more electricity now. We have been getting electricity the last couple of weeks the entire day and even had one day when we had 24 hours of electricity!
Kidnapping is an on-going problem here in Haiti. On March 14th the police conducted an operation on Delmas 31 at a house on Rue Charmant (which is a couple of blocks from where we live). They freed 2 kidnapped children and arrested a couple of men. A young girl of 2 years of age that had been kidnapped on Delmas 41, March 6th and a young 5-year-old boy who had been kidnapped on Delmas 31, March 12th were found. The kids were kept in something like a small blocked depot. The wall around the property was high with barbed wire on the top. The arrested individuals supplied the police with more information and another police operation took place on March 15th further up Delmas 33 at a policeman’s residence. Inside this house were found several passports, bankbooks, official seals and other stuff. They arrested this bad cop, handcuffed him and put him in the back of the police car. The only problem was that this guy somehow managed to drive off with the police car and this car was later found crashed on Canape Vert with no sign of the bad cop. Now the 3 policemen who were supposed to be guarding him are detained pending an investigation. Looks like there are more policemen involved with this kidnapping. Corruption is a problem in Haiti and the police department is working to remove bad cops from the force. Since 2005, 500 policemen have been removed from the police force. The police are also reporting that 30% of all kidnappings are not really kidnappings at all but involve families trying to get money from family or others. Last week a police operation was conducted in Cite Soleil and a 17-year-old girl who claimed she was kidnapped was found. She had planned this kidnapping herself in order for her and her friends to get some money. She was staying at a friend’s house in Cite Soleil when the police came calling. Pray the practice of kidnapping comes to an end.
That’s all the news for today. Have a blessed Easter!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Thursday, March 20, 2008

photos - naphtalie's surgery

Naphtalie Bazile had her surgery on Tuesday. We give the Lord thanks that all went well. Here she is laying in bed after her operation.

This photo is taken one day later. She is bright-eyed and playing! Her head circumference has come down 1.5 cm already.

We give thanks for the free care provided by the hospital and medical staff.

Whenever children go to the United States there are host families willing to welcome them into their family for a time. Angel Missions works to find care for these kids and co-ordinates finding a host family. Pray for their efforts.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

photos - mayor protest, tilapia, dieunette

The mayor of Delmas' office is on Delmas 31. On Monday people were protesting in front of it. The mayor's workers have been angering street vendors by taking their wares and making them pay fines to get their stuff back. The strong arm tactics used by the mayors workers is what the people are upset with.

The UN police drove by but no action was taken. The protest was peaceful. The people were singing and chanting protest songs and waving tree branches. We stayed out of rock throwing range just in case! There were a few curious spectators watching the proceedings as well.

This week we were blessed as a member of ODEO with a donation from Love a Child. They have a tilapia fish farm and donated fish to us. The fish tasted great! We even sent some home with the workers to share with their families as well. Paulna helped to clean the fish.

This week we worked on the passport paperwork for Dieunette Lormintus. She is a happy baby and starts to giggle when we drive over the bumps in the road!

This is what an encephalocele looks like. She was born with an opening at the back of the head. In this bulge is part of her brain. Pray for the rest of the paperwork process and that she can travel to the United States soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

haiti update - march 14, 2008

“Then Job replied to the Lord: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. “ Job 42:1,2

Hi! This week has been a busy week with the medical program. Jameson Glezile and Benson came back from Hinche on Sunday evening. Jameson’s face looks good and his family is happy. Benson still looks the same because he didn’t get his plastic surgery for the burn contractures on his foot and leg. Hopefully the next time the medical team comes to Haiti they can help him too. The oldest cleft lip patients were 50 years old. It’s sad that they had to live most of their life with a cleft lip that can be easily repaired with plastic surgery. The surgeries were held at St. Terese Hospital in Hinche. The medical team came from an organization called Operation Smile ( and was organized by Partners in Health. The team plans to come back in December to do more surgeries. At that time Jameson will get his cleft palate repaired. Wednesday were the post-op checks on the children at the Angel Missions Clinic on Delmas 91. We got to see some of the other cleft lip children too and all their faces looked good.
Jubert, the 6-week old baby who went to the United States on a medical visa never made it to his destination. He died in Miami. Pray for comfort for his mother.
We got news this week that Emerson Simplice is now finished with his plastic surgeries and will be returning to Haiti in early April. His cleft lip and palette are now repaired and the skin around his eye has been operated on. The damage to the eye itself cannot be fixed and he will need an artificial eye when he gets to be around 10 years of age. His family is excited that he is coming home soon.
We also received news on Phara Simeon, the hydrocephalus baby that was recently operated on. She is doing well. Her head circumference has shrunk 12 cm (5 inches) and she is enjoying having a lighter head! We give the Lord thanks for healing mercies.
This week we have been working on the passport paperwork for Dieunette Lormintus (baby with encephalocele at back of head). We had a bit of a challenge on Thursday morning getting the mother’s identity card at the DGI. The challenge had nothing to do with paperwork but with the outside environment around the DGI building. President Bush’s wife Laura made a visit to Haiti on Thursday to visit projects financed by the American government. The DGI office is near the Haitian Presidential Palace and we got to the DGI at the time security was being set up for Laura Bush. There was about a dozen police in riot gear who had already blocked off one of the roads. I dropped off Lukner, Dieunette and her mother. I then went somewhere else. Lukner called and told me that the id was ready and I returned to pick them up. Lukner called again and said that the police had the whole area blocked and that I couldn’t get near the DGI and we met in another area. That is when he told me what happened. They finished the id card at just the right time. When they were leaving was when the security was sealing off the area. The CIMO (swat) police was telling the DGI security to clear the area. In Haiti they use a lot of intimidation to move people away and the security started yelling at people to get away. When people protested they hit them with batons. The swat team was in the background ready to use tear gas. The people sure moved fast then! The people that were inside the DGI would be shut inside the building and not allowed to leave until Laura Bush left the area. We were able to drive back to the airport road area where we got stuck in the security blockade around airport road. We had no choice but to back track and take a long detour in order to get home. Lukner and Dieunette’s mother were happy with their experience and were eager to tell everyone what happened. The Haitian people are very social and love to tell stories!
The gatekeeper here at Coram Deo, Francois, now has another task added to his role as gatekeeper. He is a strong Christian and enjoys talking to people. The other week when I was busy driving the children to Mirebalais I needed someone to take another person to a doctor’s appointment at Bernard Mevs Hospital on airport road. I sent Francois and he did a good job. While he was waiting at the hospital he took it upon himself to visit all the wards at the hospital to visit and talk with the patients. The next day he told me he enjoyed his day. Iliodor and Austin are the 2 men that have the gangrene problems with their legs. Iliodor will be needing a second surgery as the bone is protruding from his stump. Because of the infection he may now need to have his knee amputated as well. Austin is still awaiting a surgical date to have his leg amputated. I asked Francois if he wanted to start a new ministry of visiting patients we help that are hospitalized. I explained to him about Iliodor and Austin and how important prayer support would be for them. He eagerly agreed and asked if he could invite his pastor and a couple other men from the church to go as well. Francois arrived at work on Tuesday morning dressed in his Sunday best. We all drove to the hospital and visited Iliodor and Austin. The pastor prayed for these men and while there another patient asked for prayer also. We talked with him and he said that he didn’t have a bible. The next morning I brought him one. Pastor Octave who has the church across the street approached me as well. He sort of felt left out. He said that he wanted to be involved in this ministry of visiting the patients as well along with members of his church. We give the Lord thanks for the development of this ministry.
Junior Maurancy, a young deaf adult that I have known for years stopped by the house this week. He proudly showed his badge as being a member of C.A.P.P.A. Sourds Haiti (Centre D’Aide Aux Personnes a Problemes Auditifs – Help Center for People With Hearing Problems). According to the information printed on his badge, this organization works towards the integration of deaf people into society, deafness prevention, and sign language education. We have helped several deaf children over the years. Currently we are planning to start a deaf school program here at Coram Deo. Our goal is to start with a couple of deaf classes. We also hope to combine the program alongside with poor children from the community who are not able to attend school. In this way the hearing children will also learn to communicate with the deaf and also learn to accept handicapped children into society. A lot of things need to fall into place before this becomes a reality but we pray that in September this program will start God willing. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a child please contact myself or Tim at Mission of T.E.A.R.S.
The organization OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) has launched a pilot project here in Haiti. The International Development Bank is financing this project with 3 million US$ . XO Computers are going to be given to 13,200 students and 500 teachers in 60 Haitian primary schools. It will be interesting to see how this project progresses.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

photos - cleft lip surgeries - post op photos

This Wednesday the post-op checks for the cleft lip surgeries were done. This is Jameson Glezile's new face! He's a handsome boy! We give the Lord thanks for these operations.

Here is a girl from Angel Missions with her new face.

This boy had a large open cleft lip. It's amazing to see the difference. The before photos were posted last week if you want to see the differences.

Junior Viciere came to visit Coram Deo this morning. He is part of our next cleft lip search list. Hopefully he will one day have the same opportunity as the other children to have his cleft lip surgically repaired.

We visited Iliodor and Austin in the hospital on Tuesday with Francois, a couple members of his church and the pastor. Iliodor and Austin both will be getting amputation surgeries this week hopefully and they prayed over them. Another man requested prayer and also a bible so I brought one for him this morning. This man has diabetes and circulation problems in his foot. Keep him in prayer.

Friday, March 7, 2008

photos - haitian children, adults

The ravine on Delmas 31 is turning into a dumping ground for bodies of children. We don't know how they died but people in the neighbourhood are upset about it. The people went into the ravine and put the body near the street so that the authorities would not ignore it. Pray this practice stops.

Jaquelere Derilus died this week probably due to a severe seizure. Keep his family in prayer.

Magdaline Bazile is a child from the last round of hydrocephalus surgeries done here in Haiti at the end of October. This is a photo of her in the pediatrics room at General Hospital. She had a seizure and is now on seizure medication and back in Tomazeau.

While Magdaline was in the hospital I visited the abandoned childrens ward and there was a baby there with spina bifida/hydrocephalus. Pray an orphanage is found to take in this child. I don't know what his name is. Many times parents will abandon their children when they are handicapped.

Here are Austin Fontus and Iliodor Noel on their hospital beds in the surgical ward of General Hospital.

haiti update - march 7, 2008

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5,6

Hi! This has been a busy week with the medical program. On Monday we brought Benson and Jameson to the drop off point on Delmas 91 to join 3 other children who would be traveling for plastic surgery to the Hinche area. The transport didn’t come through so we had a change of plans and I transported the 5 children and parents in the pickup truck. It was a good trip and a chance to get out of Port-au-Prince. There is a lot of road construction work on Goat Mountain (Morne Cabrit) and the finished part looks good. It will be some time before the road-building project will be finished though. Equipment has to eat at the sides of the mountain in order to widen the road. One of the children was carsick and ended up vomiting up her breakfast but it was a good thing her mother was there because then she could clean up the mess! It was while she was cleaning up the mess that the mother told me that her daughter gets carsick quite often. In Haiti the people have their own home remedies for different illnesses. Lukner, one of the workers here was with us and he said that the cure for carsickness is very simple. Before starting out on a drive the person who gets carsick needs to kiss the tire 3 times. After this is done they can enter the vehicle and don’t have to worry about getting carsick during the trip. Since she already got sick, I didn’t make her kiss the tire before getting back into the truck after the mess was cleaned up. We arrived in Mirebalais and dropped the children off at the World Food Program building and the hospital picked them up later to travel the rest of the way. Jameson was operated on Thursday. There is no word yet on when Benson will be operated on for his burn contractures on his leg and foot. In total 60-80 plastic surgeries will be done. Pray for the efforts of the plastic surgery team and healing mercies for the children.
On Tuesday morning I was driving a couple of people to different medical appointments when I got a call to pick someone up at the small airport. I knew the baby was a spina bifida baby but I didn’t know at the time how sick he was. I was told over the phone that the baby had a device around the neck. I thought this device might have been a neck brace. I told them that I would drop off the people at their appointment and then stop by the airport. When I got to the airport I saw what this “device” was. Jubert, a 6-week baby boy was hooked up to an oxygen concentrator. He comes from the mission Children of The Promise located in the Cap Haitian area. Mary, an American nurse was looking after him. We spent the next couple of days doing the passport and visa paperwork. Wednesday evening between 8 and 10pm the breathing turned bad and the baby almost died. Thursday morning the breathing was better but he had a couple bouts of breathing problems in the truck while we were driving to the visa appointment. The visa appointment was arranged for Thursday at 7:00am and we had the visa in hand by 8:00am. We rushed to the airport and Mary was able to change to an earlier flight. The baby was in very poor shape. I don’t know yet how Jubert is doing. If he is alive he is in Austin, Texas and in the care of a pediatric neurosurgeon at the hospital there. A transport team was going to be on hand to rush him from the airport to the hospital. If he died we know that he is with the Lord. Pray for those who are helping him and also his mother. His mother is young and thankful for all that is being done to help her son. She is also a Christian and has been doing her part by praying for him.
Naphtalie Bazile, a hydrocephalus baby also had the opportunity to travel to the United States on Wednesday morning. The same pediatric neurosurgeon who operated on Phara Simeon will be doing her surgery. Pray for those who will be responsible for her care and for healing mercies. An American airlines stewardess was the escort. There is a program called Airline Ambassadors and airline personnel donate their time to escort children for medical treatment at no cost. We are thankful for this program. This program helps many children get to where they need to go for medical care.
Dieunette Lormintus is a 5-month-old baby with a bulge (encephalocele) at the back of her head. We have started her passport paperwork this week. Hopefully she will be traveling to the United States before the end of March. Pray for the paperwork process. The mother is from Gonaives and is staying at the Missionaries of Charity mission on Delmas 31.
Pastor Pierre called this week to tell me that Jaquelere Derilus, a hydrocephalus baby on our medical search list had died this week. From what he described the baby died after having a seizure. They live in the mountains and are about a 5-hour walk to the closest hospital.
The ravine that is on Delmas 31 is becoming a dumping ground for bodies of children. On Monday morning driving down Delmas 31 I saw people looking into the ravine and knew that there was probably another body in the ravine. When I drove back up Delmas 31 I saw some Haitian people I knew at the side of the road. They were looking inside a cardboard box. Inside was the body of a 1-year-old child. The people in the community are upset with this practise of dumping bodies. A month ago when this happened the body stayed in the ravine the entire day with no attention by the authorities. Not wanting the same thing to happen, the people removed the body from the ravine and set it in the cardboard box by the road. In this way the authorities could not ignore the body. Pray that people stop dumping bodies into the ravine.
The UN has announced that it will fund 6 projects with the objective of providing temporary jobs to more than 7000 people living in the Cite Soleil and Martissant slum areas. At least 522,000 US$ will be spent on these projects which will focus on street paving, sanitation and the rebuilding and improvement of public spaces.
Rising food prices causes problems for the poor in Haiti. Another problem is in the form of rotting food aid stuck in Haitian ports because of red tape blocking shipments from being released. In news reports, a container full of 40,000 pounds of beans was thrown away because of these red tape delays. Haiti imports 75% of its food supply. The red tape delays are causing problems for the Haitian economy. In a 2002 report, the UN Food and Agricultural department says that almost 50% of the Haitian population was undernourished. The World Bank recently ranked the Haitian port system as the 2nd worst in the region, ahead of only Guyana. Pray that the port problems get solved and that food aid can get to the hungry.
That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje
Coram Deo

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

photos - plastic surgeries

Here are the 5 children who will be receiving plastic surgery. In total 60 children will get surgery by a visiting plastic surgery team from the United States. Benson, the boy on the left lives here at Coram Deo and he will be getting surgery on the burn contractures on his leg and foot.

Jameson Glezile will be getting his cleft lip repaired. He is also one of the children on our medical search list.

This young girl is one of the children that Angel Missions is helping.

This boy has a more serious cleft lip deformity. Angel Missions is helping him.

This girl is another child that Angel Missions is helping. Pray for all these children. It will be great to see their new faces! It is amazing how many doors that God is opening for these children. There is another plastic surgery team coming to Port-au-Prince at the end of March. We have one possible case that could benefit from those upcoming surgeries.

photos - goat mountain

On Monday we went up Goat Mountain (Morne Cabrit) to go to Mirebalais with 5 children who will be getting plastic surgery this week. The mountain road is under construction. This is the finished part of the road.

In the past there have been accidents on this road mainly because it is narrow. To make a better road means digging away at the mountain. Lots of equipment is being used on this mountain. The European Economic Community is sponsoring this project.

Here is one of the views from the top of Goat Mountain. Deforestation is a big problem in Haiti. Not many trees on these mountains!

The part of the road that hasn't been asphalted is very dusty at this time of year. Here is a funny looking tree and kids walking through the dust.

The guy on the left is Bernard from Angel Missions. Lukner is with Coram Deo. We both work at finding medical care for kids. We took a break by a "sous" (watering hole). We left the children and their parents at the World Food Program office in Mirebalais. The hospital sponsoring the surgeries picked the children up from there. It was a nice trip to get away from Port-au-Prince for the day!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

haiti update - march 1, 2008

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

Hi! This has been a busy week with the medical program. Dr. Ed has a medical team from New Hampshire in-country and they did a clinic at Willy and Joel’s school in Cite Soleil on Monday. The 3 doctors saw a lot of patients and dental patients were also seen by a dental surgeon and Dr. Ed. We give the Lord thanks that these people could be helped. The UN and Haitian police provided security for the medical team. I stayed at the entrance of the school with some of the guys from Coram Deo and spoke with people on the street and to people requesting medical care. There were a few cases of children who had seizures that came to the entrance and we are planning to get them assessed at CES (Centre Education Special). If their seizures are under control they can lead more normal lives. There was a young girl there who has a heart problem that we need to get an echographie for to determine what type of problem she has. There was also a man who needs another wheelchair that came by. He is paralyzed now because of a bullet to the back that he received in 2005. The period from 2004 to early 2007 was a tough time for people living in Cite Soleil. A lot of innocent people got in the way of stray bullets in shooting involving the UN and gangs. Now the situation is more stable.
Widline Pierre (colostomy surgery) and Skyline Michel (cleft palate surgery) both traveled to the United States on Wednesday and arrived safely. Pray for the doctor’s efforts as they help them. Naphtalie Bazile (hydrocephalus) will be traveling soon for her surgery.
This week we completed the paperwork for Chrisno Jeudi’s passport. Hopefully, we will be getting the passport on Monday.
Iliodor Noel (right lower leg amputated) is now back in the hospital with an infection. On Tuesday the stitches on his stump opened up and the stump didn’t look very good. He is in the surgery ward in a bed next to Austin Fontus, the man who is waiting to get his leg amputated. Hopefully, Austin will get his leg amputated next week. Keep both of these men in prayer.
Benson, who lives here at the house, will be traveling to Hinche this coming week for surgery on the burn contractures of his leg. Jameson Glezile will travel with him as well to get surgery for his cleft lip. A plastic surgeon from the United States is coming to Hinche to do these surgeries. We give the Lord thanks for this opportunity for these 2 kids.
Dieunette Dumus is a young baby who has an encephalocele growing from the back of her head. Medical care has been found for her in the United States. Next week we will need to work on her passport paperwork. The mother is from Gonaives.
Yesterday a hydrocephalus baby from the last round of surgeries came to the house with his parents. Her name is Magdaline Bazile and she is 14 months old. They come from a place called Thomazeau. She had a seizure that lasted 5 hours on Thursday, which was treated at the clinic in Thomazeau. The doctor there told them to come into Port-au-Prince for follow-up care. Yesterday afternoon we brought them to General Hospital downtown and they admitted her to the pediatrics room. She had a fever, so I don’t know if that was the cause of her seizures . I got a call from the mother this morning and they will be discharging her today. We’ll pick her up and drop them at the tap-tap station in Croix–de-Bouquet for their trip back to Thomazeau. Pray that Magdaline’s seizures can be controlled.
This morning as I was starting to type this update there was a knock at the gate and 3 women were there with a 6-month-old baby. I went to talk with them and they explained that they were looking for someone to help them. The story they gave was that the mother was crazy and abandoned the child at 2 months of age. The aunt has been looking after the baby since that time. The baby was very sick. The eyes were glassy and the breathing wasn’t good. We brought them right away to the children’s hospital on Tabarre called Nos Petits Frere/Soeur. Pray for this baby and the medical staff’s efforts in treating it. I am not sure that it will survive. I told the family to keep in touch.
This week was a politically charged week for the Haitian government. The members of parliament called Prime Minister Alexis to stand before the members for questioning. A non-confidence motion was presented and was defeated by a vote of 63 to 8. This was done on Thursday. We drove behind a small protest group that was walking in the downtown area. They were walking in support of the prime minister. With these protests you can either turn around and find another route or just be patient and wait for the people to move out of the area. There was also a large amount of people in front of the parliament itself. On Friday February 29th was the 4th anniversary of the departure of Jean Bertrand Aristide as president. Several thousand people (estimated to be 5,000) were walking to show support for him and to request his return from exile. Part of this protest was in the lower Delmas area. The people denounced the UN, United States, Canada and France as being responsible for his departure.
When people here protest a lot of graffiti will be written on walls and buildings. Driving around you see a lot of “Aba la vi che (down with an expensive life)”. People are getting frustrated with the rising cost of living. The inflation rate is now at 11%.
In the north-west part of the country people have really been struggling. The parents of a hydrocephalus child, John Wilson Charles, are staying here at Coram Deo. They are from Bombardopolis, which is in the north-west part of Haiti. The past hurricane season did a lot of damage in this area. Hurricane Dean damaged a lot of the crops and plantations in August 2007. John Charles home was damaged by that storm. One of the sides of the house sits unrepaired since then. They lost all 6 of their goats to the storm. As a result of crops being damaged or destroyed and the current dry season with little or no rainfall, hunger is appearing. The last time the father went home there was a funeral for 2 people who died because of the effects of hunger. These 2 people were a father and his young son. In August their house was destroyed by the storm and since then they were staying with another family. Other people helped them out with food from time to time but often they went without. As a result they got weak, sick and then died. There are stories of children who are not going to school because they are too weak to make the walk because of not eating properly. Pray for the north-west part of Haiti as they deal with the dry season and damaged and destroyed crops.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo