Tuesday, July 29, 2008

photos - children

Johnsly Stelle is a 7 month old baby with clubbed feet. His left foot is more clubbed than the right one. His father is doing a good job of raising him after the mother died 15 days after giving birth.

Octavio Jean has a cleft lip and palette. It is good that Smile Train has expressed interest to help children and adults in Haiti born with this problem.

Bertony Philistin has an abscess under his arm. Hopefully with medicine it will go away on its own. The family lives near our house. His mother is almost blind and the father died recently.

Marcensly Pierre is a young baby with hydrocephalus. Hopefully he will be one of the children selected for surgery sometime in October or November.

Jonel Colo is another infant that came to the house with hydrocephalus. He is also registered in the hydrocephalus program. Hydrocephalus is a common problem here in Haiti.

haiti update - july 26, 2008

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Hi! This week was a busy week with the medical program. Francisco of Smile Train was able to see most of the hospitals he had on his list. He returned to the United States on Friday. Pray that a plan can be put in place to help children/adults with their cleft lips/palettes.
We give the Lord thanks that Stevenson Pierre was finally discharged from the hospital at the end of the week. His treatment for pneumonia was successful and now he is able to sit up again. Pray that his nutritional status can be maintained with his mother.
We have seen a few children who have had abscesses that needed treating. Bertony Philistin, a young boy who lives in the neighborhood had an abscess under his armpit that was bothering him. He is taking medication for it now. We have known his family for several years. His father died in June and his mother is almost blind so the family is really struggling right now. Keep this family in prayer. Doudeleimy Beaubrun, who just got back from the United States, has an abscess on her side and she is now taking medication for this as well.
This week we were also able to hold a clinic on Tuesday afternoon. A couple of visitors who were staying at Sheri’s house are nurses and they were able to see and treat 25 people from the community and here at Coram Deo. We give the Lord thanks for medical people who come to Haiti to help.
Johnly Stelle is a 7-month-old baby who has clubbed feet. He has been going for casting at Healing Hands for the last couple of months. Hopefully the casting will move his feet into a straighter position over time. His mother died 15 days after giving birth to him and his father is now raising him. His father is doing a good job of looking after him.
2 hydrocephalus babies were brought to Coram Deo by their families. We registered them at Healing Hands to be put on the list for the upcoming hydrocephalus surgeries to be held sometime in October or November. One of the hydrocephalus babies is Juniya Lyra. She was operated on in May but the operation didn’t work and her head started to grow again shortly after surgery. She needs a shunt surgery but the only way is to find a neurosurgeon for her here in Haiti. The way her head is growing I don’t think she can survive until the next round of surgeries in October. Keep this family in prayer as they wait to see what is God’s will for her life.
Before bringing Evenerson to Deedee’s we did some blood work. Michelore’s mother came along as well. Michelore is now standing, walking and running and is doing well at Deedee’s home. Michelore is also Evenerson’s uncle. One year ago, Michelore could not stand or walk. Now he can help work with his nephew Evenerson. Michelore’s mother didn’t do so well on the ride in from the village. She got car sick and vomited outside by the laboratory but “Boukie” (John Charles’ father) had her lick the tire of the pickup truck. This is a Haitian home remedy for carsickness. He told me this after I came with Evenerson from the laboratory. Michelore’s mother thought she would do okay but I made her sit outside in the back of the pickup truck for the ride to Deedee’s. I told her that this was the Canadian home remedy for carsickness. I didn’t want to have to clean out the inside of the pickup truck if she got sick again.
In the village where Evenerson is from (the same village as Doudeleimy and Paulna) you can see the contrast between voodoo and Christianity in the lives of the people. Evenerson’s father is a “hougan” (witchdoctor). He shows no part in supporting his family. He has made the statement to people that he is giving one of his children to the devil to eat. In this way he will have more power. The malnutrition that is affecting Evenerson is part of this process. Pray for Evenerson’s family. His mother says she is a Christian and attends church but she is still a part of the voodoo lifestyle. Paulna’s family has also been affected by the voodoo influence as well. Paulna’s grandfather is also a “hougan”. Paulna’s mother was 12 years old when she started attending a Christian church with her older brother. At 12 years of age she turned her back on the voodoo faith and became a Christian. She raises her family as a Christian household. Paulna’s grandfather is still a “hougan” but the family is praying for him that one day his heart would be changed. In July people of the voodoo religion travel to Saut D’Eau to bathe in the waters there. They pray to the spirits for changes like more money, health,etc. Paulna’s grandfather attended. Paulna has a cousin who is 11 years old and his name is Benson (not the Benson who lives at Coram Deo). The parents are Christians and try to bring him up in the Christian faith but the voodoo influence is pulling at his heart. He will sometimes disrupt the church service or run away on Sunday mornings and come back home in the afternoons. He attends the voodoo ceremonies without his parent’s permission and sometimes is overcome by the “loas” (spirits). During these times he will throw rocks at his father, or eat pieces of glass to show that nothing can happen to him.
Pray for Paulna’s family as they fight the voodoo influence on part of their family.
This week Kensley Gilot who is 10 years old came to Coram Deo with his mother. He has never been to school and according to his mother can’t learn. Jn. Eddy did a test with him to find out what he knows and he will possibly be part of the school program here at Coram Deo in the fall. Some parents of former students of Coram Deo came to the house this past week to say that their handicapped children no longer had a place at the school they were at. The special education class was eliminated at the end of June. Hopefully we can find a way to help them again. Faby Paulema is one of the children affected by this “policy change”. He is 17 years old and almost blind. One day he will be blind. He wants to attend school. Hopefully we can help him with an education as well as helping to prepare him and his family for the day when he will no longer be able to see. Youby Ladouceur, Jameson Glezile and Ricardo (Willem) Revilus all have handicaps of one form or another. All these parents want their children to still be able to go to school. Pray that a way will be found to continue to help these children.
Reginald Jules is a former resident of Coram Deo. He and his uncle, Samuel Masseus left Coram Deo to join another mission last September. I had heard from people that Reginald was begging for money on the Delmas road. Last week I saw this for myself. He was standing in front of the One Stop grocery store asking people for money as customers left the parking lot. When Reginald lived here at Coram Deo I made the family take responsibility for him. It is often the case here in Haiti that the handicapped get ignored. Now that he is not staying here I can’t do this anymore. Pray that Samuel and his family take responsibility in the life of Reginald.
That is all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

photos - doudeleimy, village children

This is Doudeleimy in her fathers' arms. They are standing in front of their hut in the village of Bonnette.

Doudeleimy was the center of attention for the village. Everyone came to see her and welcome her back.
Remika Felix is 7 months old and is suffering from malnutrition. Tony and Linda of Holy Angels will be looking after her and will be working on reversing her malnutrition.

This is Evenerson and his mother. This is a poor family. She is now pregnant carrying her 4th child.

Evenerson is to the left. His 12 month old brother Evenelson is next to him. The 12 month old is in better shape than 3 year old Evenerson. At the present time Evenerson is not able to stand or walk. Pray for Deedee's efforts in reversing his malnutrition.

haiti update - july 19, 2008

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Hi! This week was a busy one with the medical program. Doudeleimy Beaubrun came back to Haiti after almost one year in the United States for medical treatment of her clubbed feet. Her family was happy to see her again and to see that she is now able to walk normally. People in the village where they live didn’t offer the family much encouragement while they were searching for medical care. Some people told them that nothing could be done and that when she arrived in the United States the doctors would most likely send her back untreated. The villagers were wrong and her parents were proud when one by one people in the village visited the family to see the girl who had crooked feet being able to walk on straightened feet. Doudeleimy is now making her adjustment from living in an American home to a mud hut. She never wants to take her running shoes off and she keeps her backpack on all the time. Right now she is being treated as a queen. She talks to everyone in English but eventually she will learn Creole again. Her father is trying to enroll her in a mission school run by Americans so that she can retain her English. During our visit to the village we were approached by families of other sick children. A grandmother came with her granddaughter. Remika Felix is 7 months old and is malnourished. She only weighs about 4 or 5 pounds and she can’t sit up by herself. Her mother died last week after probably dying from an untreated infection after giving birth to Remika. The mother was only 23 years old when she died. Another mother came with 2 of her children, a 3 year old and a 12 month old. She is also pregnant with her 4th child. The 3 year old hasn’t been able to walk for the last year and is the same size as his 12-month-old brother. His malnutrition has caused him not to grow and also taken away his strength to stand and walk. The boys name is Evenerson. When I got home I contacted some missionaries that I know who have children’s homes. Tony and Linda Cortesi of Holy Angels are taking in Remika and Deedee is taking in Evenerson. Pray for their efforts and that the children will thrive in their care.
Francisco of Smile Train came to Haiti from Mexico to visit several hospitals here in Haiti. Smile Train is currently working in 75 countries around the world sponsoring cleft lip and palette surgeries. They work with surgeons living in these countries. They are planning a unique program for Haiti. It is estimated that there is anywhere between 2 and 8 thousand people who need surgical correction of their cleft lips and palettes here in Haiti. They are designing a pilot program called “Cleft Free Haiti” where they will partner up with hospitals around the country. It will take some time before this plan can be realized but it will be great when it is in place and working. Pray that one day every child born in Haiti will have access to this type of surgery. While driving Francisco around Port-au-Prince on Tuesday morning we passed a “ra-ra”. These “ra-ras” are groups of people that are usually on the streets around carnival time. Francisco asked what they were celebrating but I didn’t know. Later, we found out that these people were celebrating the former president Aristides’ 55th birthday. The march started in front of his residence on Tabarre (he is currently living in exile in South Africa) and then headed downtown where other groups joined in. By the time they reached the large downtown park area there were a few thousand people. The UN and police had the Palais National area blocked off and when some people tried to go around the barricades tear gas was fired to stop them. After a while the birthday march was over and everyone went their own way. Aristide still has a following especially amongst the poor in the slum areas of Bel Air and Cite Soleil where the people see him as a champion of the poor.
The 3rd candidate nominated by President Preval as prime minister was ratified by the Haitian parliament. Now Michele Pierre-Louis will need to be accepted by the senate before being installed as prime minister. The prime minister is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functioning of the government and also for presenting the budget. Haiti has been without a prime minister since the April food riots. Michele Pierre-Louis is a woman and some people are speaking out over the radio that they don’t want a woman to help to lead the country. Some of the people here in the neighborhood don’t want her either. It’s difficult to keep people happy here in Haiti. There are many political parties here in Haiti and all stand for something different.
The rice subsidy that was put in place by the president has now expired and rice prices have jumped from 43US$ to 52US$. The rarity of rice on the international market continues as China and India have halted rice exportations for economic reasons, as well as Australia’s rice production being decreased due to environmental conditions. The problems of hunger in Haiti will not be resolved in the short term.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Sunday, July 13, 2008

security upgrades

Now that we have the barbed wire up we haven't had any incidences of people getting into the yard at night. Hopefully it stays this way. This is a photo of the front wall surrounding the property.

Here is another part of the front wall. Francois, who is seated is our gatekeeper who works during the day from Monday to Friday.

The owner of the property behind our back wall filled in the hole in his house wall so that the squatters could no longer climb onto the tin roof of our briquette shelter.

This is the side wall that has been raised by 3 rows of blocks and barbed wire. This side wall is where the thieves liked to enter our property.

If we ever get another cat it has to be a tough one like the one pictured here. It needs to be tough to catch the mice and rats and also to keep away from the neighbors who want to eat it. I got this photo from the internet

haiti update - july 12, 2008

“By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.” Proverbs 29:4

Hi! This week was a busy week with the medical program. Naphtalie Bazile came back from the United States on Saturday and now is with her family once again. We are going to organize sending her to Healing Hands for physical therapy. Pray she continues to be healthy and for patience for her family. Development goes slower for a hydrocephalus baby, as the body needs to grow in size before the head can be supported. We brought another hydrocephalus baby, Chrisno Jeudi to see a pediatrician at Bernard Mevs this week. He has had a fever for the last 3 weeks. We got some lab work done and hopefully the medicine will improve his health. He is on our wait list for medical care in the United States and needs to be in good health before he will be considered. Dieuna Philippe is a hydrocephalus baby who is currently in the United States. She has not made good progress. She was near death when she traveled to the United States and is now finally out of hospital but she has a feeding tube in place. Pray she will be able to eat normally as one day she will need to come back to Haiti and to her family who live in Cite Soleil. Several new medical cases came to the house this week. Octavio Jean is a 9-month-old baby who has a cleft lip/palette. Hopefully he will be able to participate in the next round of plastic surgeries that will be done in October or November. A young mother came to the house with her hydrocephalus baby. Marcensly Pierre is 6 months old and his head started to enlarge starting at 2 months of age. The mother is a widow. The baby was born on January 16th and the father died one day later after being shot and killed in the Petionville area. We registered Marcensly at Healing Hands and hopefully he will be able to get surgery in October when the neurosurgery team from the University of Miami returns to Haiti. This upcoming week will be busy showing the regional director of Smile Train around to different hospitals. Smile Train is an organization that is working around the world providing medical care for cleft lips and palettes. Their goal for Haiti is to make it possible for every person born with a cleft lip/palette to be able to get plastic surgery to correct this congenital defect. Angel Missions is coordinating with Smile Train in these efforts. Pray for open doors at hospitals here in Haiti to make this goal possible. A mother came with her malnourished child to Coram Deo this week and he was in bad shape. Stevenson is 16 months old and he was dehydrated and limp. We brought him to the hospital at Bernard Mevs where they immediately admitted him to the pediatrics room and started him on iv’s to rehydrate him. He was also put on oxygen. After tests were done he was found to have pneumonia in both of his lungs. Pray that the medical treatment that is being given will be able to help him. It is difficult for a malnourished child to overcome illnesses sometimes as they are already in a weakened state. The mother as well is malnourished.
The UN World Food Program is increasing its efforts to feed more people here in Haiti. It is preparing to feed 2.3 million people or around 25% of the population of Haiti. This figure gives an idea as to how the high food prices are affecting this country. Currently the UN World Food Program feeds 800,000 people.
In Haiti, 1 out of 8 children die before reaching 5 years of age and 1 out of 14 children die before reaching 1 year of age. Some of these deaths are caused by malaria. Out of 100,000 cases of fevers treated at health centers here in Haiti, 30,000 or 30%, are diagnosed and treated as malaria. The government is encouraging malaria education to combat these high rates.
Haiti is also dealing with higher fuel costs, which is causing some difficulties. More people have decided to walk greater distances to save money. Some families are reducing the quantity of food eaten in a day in order to pay for the increased transportation costs. Out of frustration passengers sometimes fight with the drivers of the tap-taps over the increased fares. ¾ of the population live on less than $2 per day. The $2 can only go so far and when food and fuel prices go up life gets more difficult.
Willy and Joel will be starting a summer camp for about 500 children in Cite Soleil starting on Monday. Pray things go well for this camp. Cite Soleil is calm. The guns are still there but they are hidden because of the presence of the UN.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Sunday, July 6, 2008

photos - hydrocephalus surgeries

Juniya Lyra was only 1 week old in this picture. She was born with a large head and was delivered caesarean section. Her father came to Coram Deo looking for help.

This is Juniya one week later, the day after surgery. It is amazing how things fall into place. We give the Lord thanks that the team from Miami Childrens' Hospital led by Dr. John Ragheb could again perform 18 hydrocephalus surgeries in May 2008.

Here are proud parents of this young hydrocephalus baby.

We bring food to the hospital for both the child and parent while they are there. In Haiti the hospital provides no meals. We supply a meal in the morning and another in the evening.

This young boy with hydrocephalus looks well after surgery.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

haiti update - july 5, 2008

“ He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14:31

Hi! It’s great to be back in Haiti again after visiting Canada for the last few weeks! We made a few presentations on the work here at Coram Deo and were able to do some fundraising. Thank you for your prayers and support of the work done here. Our monthly budgetary needs are $6,000 US per month and for the past year we were $19,000 under budget for the year. We look forward to the upcoming year as we are planning to start our school program again. We will be introducing a child sponsorship program. Anyone interested in sponsoring a child can contact me at my email address listed below. We hope to have 2 classes for poor children living in the neighborhood as well as 1 deaf class. I look forward to having the yard full of children again! The Haitians living in the community have been supportive and an elderly lady who sits out front all day long selling cookies and candies gave a welcome back gift of a marmite of beans. Things at the house went well while I was gone and the last couple of days I have been catching up on things that have happened. First I had to buy another battery for the pickup truck because the other one was no good and wouldn’t hold a charge anymore. While we were hauling food yesterday the steel bumper started to fall off but we tied it up with rope and partially fixed it when we got home. Just before I went to Canada in June the truck got rear-ended by a van while we were driving downtown. The bumper seemed sturdy at the time though. The van ended up with some front-end damage. The driver apologized and said that he had trouble with the gas pedal. I figured it was either that or trouble with the brakes. We have had about 12 minor accidents in the last couple of years and the pickup truck has been holding up well!
“Frank”, one of the members of the Judas Gang who stole my computer in October is now living in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. His thieving in the Delmas 31 neighborhood was starting to catch up to him. He stole from someone near the mayor’s office on Delmas 31 and was pursued by some people. He ran for his life and was able to escape getting caught. Since he is now recognized as a thief by the people in this area he has fled all the way to the Dominican Republic! “Mack” another member of this gang has now sold his motorcycle that was purchased with the proceeds of my stolen solar panels and is preparing to join his uncle in crime in the Dominican Republic as well. It seems that Frank has found some “work” in Santo Domingo. I am not sure though what type of “work” this is.
Phara Simeon, a hydrocephalus baby returned from the United States while I was gone and is now back with her mother. She had a successful surgery and now I will keep contact with her and encourage her in raising her daughter. Phara is doing very good neurologically but it will be a few years before she will be able to sit and do other things due to the size of her head. Her body needs to grow and catch up to the size of her head. Keep this family in prayer and that Phara continues to make strides in her development. While I was in Canada there were a few families that came to the gate asking about help for their children who had hydrocephalus. Lukner visited their homes and we’ll follow up with these families in the next couple of weeks. One of these mothers was told by the father of the baby to throw it away but she didn’t want to do this and instead went searching for help. Another mother that we met with was told by the father of the baby that it couldn’t be his child because he wouldn’t father a hydrocephalus child. A week ago a hydrocephalus baby was abandoned in a cornfield. Somebody walking nearby heard a baby crying and went to look. The Haitian Red Cross came and removed the baby. We went downtown to the abandoned children’s ward at the state hospital to see if the baby was there this morning but it wasn’t. This ward is very full right now. A few of the beds were holding 3 children to a bed. All of the children in the abandoned ward are handicapped. The abandonment of children here in Haiti happens a lot. Some people living in the Arcachon 32 area of Carrefour heard a baby crying throughout the night one evening last week. In the morning people found a dead baby in front of the gate of the state hospital there. Pray that one day the practice of abandoning children stops.
Benson Junius is recovering well from his plastic surgery. His hand looks good. We will need to do some physical therapy with him on his knee but he is healing well. He is a special kid. When he was a baby his 3-year-old brother at the time was playing with matches and set the bed on fire, which caused Benson to be badly burned. The plastic surgeon that did Benson’s recent surgery told me that children who are burned that severely usually end up dying but I know that Benson had a strong spirit and God had a plan for him. Benson thinks that his brother was jealous and that is the reason he set the bed on fire but he told me that he is not angry with him because he is his brother. I promised Benson that in August we would visit his brother and his aunt. It was his aunt who brought Benson here to Coram Deo. She knew that we had helped Benson as a baby after he was burned and knew that he would have a good home here at Coram Deo. She did this to remove him from the care of his mother who was crazy and living with Benson on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Keep praying for Benson as he continues his recovery from surgery and that he would get full mobility in his knee.
Lukner’s nephew was shot and killed during a robbery attempt in the downtown area of Port-au-Prince last Friday. He had gone on his motorcycle to make a deposit for someone at a downtown bank. When he left the bank he didn’t know that he was being followed. A couple of thieves riding a motorcycle followed him and when his nephew made a stop at a downtown park to buy something they confronted him with their guns. He tried to escape on his motorcycle but they shot him several times in the head and neck and he died. A couple of motorcycle policemen heard the shooting and came quickly but the gunmen left their motorcycle behind and fled on foot merging into a crowd of people. Lukner’s 25-year-old nephew left behind a wife and a young child. Keep this family in prayer.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo