Tuesday, June 17, 2008

photos - malnutrition, hydrocephalus children

Emmanuel Oreus is now out of hospital. We give the Lord thanks for His healing mercies. His family is now part of our feeding program. Hopefully this gift of USAID food will help prevent him from falling back into his malnutrition state. He now is starting to smile as his health improves.

Lina Cloutier visited Haiti for the first time since traveling to the United States for medical care to treat her hydrocephalus when she was a baby. She has been a member of the Cloutier family since that time. Lina was the first hydrocephalus baby I saw in Haiti 12 years ago. Here she is showing off her reading skills!

Lina is holding onto John Charles a hydrocephalus baby who will be traveling to the United States for hydrocephalus surgery after I get back to Haiti in July. It goes to show how a child can develop after receiving hydrocephalus surgery.

John is my nephew. This past weekend my family got together at my sister's house for a barbecue. John is doing well and is a happy boy. He sure has grown!

John is officially a resident of Canada now. It was a long process for my sister Tanya's family but worth it! Continue to keep John in prayer as he still suffers seizures from time to time. He will also hopefully be getting surgery in July on his clubbed feet at the Shriners Hospital in Montreal.

haiti update - june 17, 2008

“God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82 1-4

Hi! On June 10th I traveled to Canada to visit my family for three weeks and will be staying until July 2nd. We will be doing some presentations to do some fundraising for the projects here at Coram Deo. Pray for these efforts.
In the week before coming to Canada it was a busy time with the medical program. We were able to get 3 medical visas done at the US Consulate. Sometimes I help other missions obtain medical visas. Mario Colin, a boy with a heart problem was approved for a medical visa and traveled with Carole Stufflebeam to the United States the same day I left for Canada. His heart is in bad shape and he needs an operation on his mitral valve. Love a Child is the mission that arranged everything for Mario. It is located in Fond Parisien. Pray for Mario and the medical staff looking after him.
Angelo Lafortune and his mother both had visa interviews and were approved for medical visas. They should be on their way to the United States by now. This is Angelo’s second visit to the United States. Last year he had brain surgery to remove a brain tumor and also had radiation therapy as well. While in the United States he will be getting an MRI done. Angelo and his mother will be staying with an aunt. It is encouraging to hear from people who are supportive of the work that we do. After the medical visa was approved I received a phone call from the United States from Angelo’s aunt. She thanked me for helping him and also for helping children in Haiti. She expressed interest in providing financial support for the work of Coram Deo. Pray for Angelo as he gets his MRI done and that the tumor does not grow back.
The US Consulate has recently moved to a new building located in the Tabarre area of Port-au-Prince. It is a beautiful building. One of the new improvements made was everyone going inside the visa area gets a number that starts with a letter. When your turn comes up the number is announced as well as being displayed on an overhead screen. It is like sitting in a Bingo hall. When your number is called (eg. B130) you get up and go to the desk. If you don’t get up fast enough the Haitian security guards working inside will embarrass you and ask why you weren’t listening. I always tell the parents who are sitting with me that they better listen closely for the number so that we don’t get told to remove the wax from our ears by the security guards. It is fun watching the guards tell off the people who aren’t listening for their number.
When I go back to Haiti, hopefully one of the first things that I do will be going after a medical visa for John Charles, a hydrocephalus baby (12 months old). Dr. Wharf, the neurosurgeon at Dupont Children’s Hospital is interested in operating on him after he gets back from a mission trip to Uganda where he will be going in June to perform neurosurgeries.
I have heard from Haiti that Benson now has his cast off his leg. Jn. Eddy sat with him all day Wednesday at the state hospital on Delmas 33 and the doctors didn’t do anything. He called me here in Canada and I told him to go back the next day and the doctors there eventually helped them. Continue to pray for his recovery.
Manu and Jacob finished school the day I traveled to Haiti and now are hopefully helping to make briquettes out of scrap paper and sawdust. We use these as a cooking fuel. Manu will be starting Grade 4 and Jacob will be going to Grade 3 when they start school again sometime near the end of August. They had a school program just before I left where every class sang Christian music for the parents. They all sang well. Benson really wanted to attend the program. When I came to the house in the afternoon Benson said that he wanted to go. I told him that it would be difficult with the cast on his arm and leg and he jumped up and said it wouldn’t. I asked him how he was going to get there and he started to hop on one leg down the driveway and said he would hop all the way to the school. We ended up taking him to the program in the car and he enjoyed the outing. Benson is a very determined boy! Paulna Maczil, a girl living at Coram Deo will hopefully be getting corrective surgery to straighten the femur in her other leg this summer. Dr. Nau, an orthopedic surgeon from Healing Hands will be doing the surgery. He operated on her other leg last summer and now it is straight. Hopefully after this second surgery she will have 2 straight legs again.
Emmanuel Oreus and his mother also came by the house just before I left to go back to Canada. Once he had his blood transfusion he did well and was discharged from the hospital. He is one of the children that we are helping in our feeding program. We get food assistance from USAID and with this food we are also able to help some of those who are suffering in the community. The photo on the blog shows a smiling Emmanuel! Hopefully with this food assistance he doesn’t tumble back into malnutrition again. His family lives in Wharf Jeremie, which is along the coast beside Cite Soleil. It is not a very good area and a lot of families there struggle to provide for their families. Continue to pray for Emmanuel and his family.
Part of the problem of hunger in Haiti is due to an increasing dependency on food imports. In 1985 Haiti produced 163,296 metric tonnes of rice and imported only 7,337 metric tonnes of rice for a total consumption of 170,633 metric tonnes. In 2007 Haiti produced only 90,000 metric tonnes and imported 251,100 metric tonnes for a total consumption of 341,100 metric tonnes. The cheaper imported rice discouraged farmers from planting rice within Haiti. Now that food prices are higher Haitians are forced to pay the higher prices. The government now wants to encourage more local production by providing fertilizer subsidies to farmers.
There was an Anti-Kidnapping Protest March held on June 4th. Several thousand people representing over 119 civic organizations walked through the streets of the downtown area urging the police and judiciary officials to assume their responsibilities. The walk started at the Sacre Coeur church and then to the offices of the Minister of Justice, Commissariat of Port-au-Prince, as well as the Palais de Justice and the Palais National. The head of the police department, Mario Andresol made the statement that most of the individuals arrested for kidnapping are released soon after without being judged and this sends a clear signal to encourage kidnappers and not to deter them. Between May 2006 and May 2008, 400 prisoners were freed under suspicious circumstances while their dossiers were still being processed. Pray for the reform of the justice system and the work of the police against kidnapping.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

photos - Benson's surgery

Benson was badly burned when the bed he was sleeping in was set on fire by his older brother when he was a baby. The plastic surgeon did some work on his hand particularly on his pinky finger. The burn contracture doesn't allow him to straighten his pinky finger.

Benson also had some surgery on the tendon and skin behind his knee. The tightness will be reduced with this surgery.

His foot was also damaged and the surgeon operated on a couple of his toes better positioning them. This will make it easier for Benson to wear shoes.

Here is Benson recovering from the surgeries in his hospital bed. He spent only the one day in hospital and was released the next morning.

Here is Benson lounging around playing checkers with Manu. He is a happy kid and is enjoying all the extra attention!

haiti update - june 4, 2008

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

Hi! It has been a busy time with the medical program and starting to prepare for going away for 3 weeks in June to visit my family in Canada. The owner of the house behind us put a couple of cement blocks in the hole of his house wall which now blocks the easy access to the tin roof of the briquette shelter. We planned to remove the dirt hill behind his side of the wall but don’t want to effect their outhouse which is off to the side. The hill isn’t all just dirt but also lots of “poop” too so we decided to let the dirt/poop mound stay and will just put another layer of barbed wire up on the roof of the outside toilets. There have been no break-in attempts in the last couple of weeks. We got a photo of “Mack” from the mission that sponsored him for school. We’ll enlarge the identity photo and then pass this on to the police. Angela Caseneve also stopped by. She is one of the students who used to be in our school sponsorship program. She is the girl that Mack threatened. She says she no longer lives in the Cite Jeremie area since the day that the threat was made against her. She lives with family in another part of the city. We are trying to now contact the family to find out about a possible police report made against “Mack”. Because we don’t have a working invertor/generator or electricity during the day at the house I have been doing computer work at Bob’s Internet Services in the neighborhood. It works out good and I can sit under a shady tree while I work. I was speaking to my family on Skype and talking about getting a photo of “Mack” to hand to the police. A Haitian welder I know from the community here was working inside at a computer. The next day “Welderman” was seen driving in the Cite Jeremie area. Manu was walking back home from school and saw “Welderman” drive by in his Isuzu Trooper. The passenger sitting beside him was “Mack”. I think he told “Mack” about what I had said to my parents but maybe he was just being neighborly and giving a thief a ride. The next project planned for security upgrades is to install a security camera system in the house to monitor the grounds. A business in Canada has donated this system and we already have the monitor here in Haiti. Pray that a way is found to get the rest of the system here to Haiti and installed. With this system people with “sticky fingers” won’t be able to walk away with things easily. We are also planning to get an additional dog when I get back from Canada. The dog I have now is good at catching rats and mice but doesn’t do a good job at catching thieves. Because the dog knows the thieves he doesn’t chase after them. The new dog won’t have this problem. Pray that “Mack” changes his heart.
A plastic surgery team from the University of Miami did surgeries this weekend at Hopital La Paix on Delmas 33. 22 surgeries were done on such things as cleft lip/palettes and burn contractures. Benson, a 7-year-old boy who lives at Coram Deo was able to get surgeries on his burn contractures. He had some work done on his hand to help him to straighten out his pinky finger. This will give him better function in his hand. He also had surgery done on the tendon behind the knee. He will now be able to straighten his knee better. He complained before about the tightness but managed it well. I told him that now he will be able to run faster. His foot was also operated on and 2 of his toes were especially worked on. The surgeon at first thought that it would be best to amputate them but he was able to do something to help position his toes better. Benson did well and now has a cast on his leg and foot and a soft cast on his arm. They also took a skin graft from his groin area so he has stitches there as well. I go to Canada on Tuesday and he gets the casts removed on Wednesday so I will not be able to see how his leg, foot and hand looks until I get back from Canada. Pray that he recovers well and doesn’t have any problems while I am gone. He is enjoying the special treatment he is getting now. The plastic surgery team plans to come back in November to do surgeries again. Emmanuel Oreus is also doing better now this week. He had to have a blood transfusion last week after he developed breathing problems due to his low hemoglobin levels. It’s amazing the difference some extra blood makes. Now he may be discharged from the hospital soon. His family is poor and lives in the Wharf Jeremie area. Maudlin Thomas, a hydrocephalus child was discharged this week from the hospital. Widmay Nervil another hydrocephalus child with a shunt from the May surgeries is the only hydrocephalus child left in hospital. She has a suspected case of meningitis. Keep her and her mother in prayer. We got an x-ray done of Daphka Theodore’s leg and sent it along with somebody returning to the United States. There is a doctor in the United States interested in doing surgery on the leg deformity she has had since birth.
We have started a tire garden on the roof and are harvesting spinach right now. It is good to have fresh vegetables growing on the roof.
USAID is providing 45 million dollars of emergency food aid to Haiti. 25 million is being given through the World Food Program of the UN (PAM – Programme Alimentaire Mondiale) The aid will be distributed to vulnerable people (sick, aged, orphans, mothers and children), feeding programs for children in schools (UN will be continuing the feeding programs through the school summer vacation months for the first time this year), and also Food for Work programs where workers will repair irrigation systems, road work, farming in exchange for assistance. The Canadian government is going to finance 15 projects in places such as Cite Soleil to create 35,000 jobs.
The Canadian who worked with Medecins du Monde that was kidnapped has now been released. She was released unharmed after one week of negotiations with her kidnappers. The starting ransom demand was $100,000 and a non-confirmed ransom of $8,500 was eventually paid for her release. The police and UN are trying to capture some of these kidnapping gangs that are operating and recently conducted 3 operations that resulted in the arrests of 20 kidnapping and murder suspects. In one operation in the Thomassin and Laboule area 12 suspected kidnappers were arrested. $10,000 US in cash was found as well as bankbooks, and stolen items taken from kidnap victims. Bank transactions coincided with ransom payments of 3 recent kidnappings from the period of March to May 2008 in the Fermathe and Thomassin area. The Canadian that was kidnapped lived in the Thomassin area, so most likely these people were involved in her kidnapping. It is good to hear that these operations were successful. People in Haiti are frustrated with the increase in kidnapping. There were around 25 kidnaps officially reported but unofficially it is much more than this for the month of May. Unofficially at least 40 people were kidnapped for the month of May. Recently there were a couple of kidnappings that resulted in death for the victim even after a ransom was paid by the families. A student of 16 years of age was killed and his body was found on Delmas 18 by Carrefour Pean. There is a protest walk being planned for today against kidnapping and requesting authorities to take action.That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo