Saturday, February 28, 2009

haiti update - february 28, 2009

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12

Hi! This week was Karnaval and this meant that everything was shut down for the first few days of the week. I took that time to work on some paperwork. During the 3 days of Karnaval festivities 3 people died and 850 people were injured throughout the country. The people here at Coram Deo went to one of the evangelical crusades that were held at Henfrasa on Delmas 33. These crusades were held in the hopes of keeping people from participating in Karnaval. Several thousand people attended each evening during the 5-day crusade period.
The schools in Haiti were closed all week because of Karnaval. The oldest student here at Coram Deo is Macdonald Jean. I have known him for several years. He is now 22 years old. He has some form of neurological disease that gets worse over time. When I first met him he walked normally and his only complaint was that he had trouble standing up when he was in a crouching position. Now he can only stand and walk with assistance. His physical disability prevents him from maneuvering around. He wanted to continue his schooling and has been attending classes here at Coram Deo since January 2009. He even comes here on Saturday’s because he enjoys being here. He is a smart guy and knows how to use the computer. This week he has been showing everyone here how to use the computer that was set up by the visitors last week. Everyone looks forward to spending time on the computer. Seeing this gave me an idea. When our funding improves and we have a couple of additional computers we can start a computer class here at Coram Deo for the students. I think that Macdonald would make a good teacher. He is patient in showing the people here how to use the computer. Being a teacher would give him confidence and make him feel productive in Haitian society. Pray for him as he strives to live and be productive with his handicap. He is a very determined young man.
On Thursday we held a medical clinic in Cite Soleil that was led by Dennis and Karen McCarthy who are both doctors. They were working at Sheri’s mission for the week. They were able to see around 90 patients. It was great that people were able to receive medications as well. We also handed out evangelical tracts that are in Creole to people who were standing at the street entrance of the church. The tracts were appealing to the youth because they were in a comic type format. I would hand out one to a child and then he would ask for more to give to his family at home. Some of the children would come back with a friend and ask for a tract for him too. Sometimes the children were pushing to be the first to receive a tract. People on the street walking by would see and then ask for one too. I had to stop after a while because the entrance was getting clogged up by children. It was amazing to see the people so receptive! Halfway through the clinic we heard a smashing glass noise and thought that there was a car accident near the church. When we looked it wasn’t an accident. Someone was angry with the tap-tap driver and smashed his window with an iron bar. There was a small crowd and some angry people but after a couple of minutes things were resolved. It helped too that there was a UN patrol a few vehicles behind the tap-tap. One person was slightly injured because he got clipped with the iron bar but the tap-tap took this person to the hospital. We give the Lord thanks for sending this medical team to do a clinic. Dr. Karen also saw a young boy who had come to Coram Deo with his parents. Michaelson is 4 years old and he had a swollen belly that made him look to be 9 months pregnant. The family had a sonogram done but the results don’t really identify his problem. We are going to send him to Bernard Mevs and have one of the surgeons there examine him. The family is from the Belle-Anse region and he started with the swollen belly since he was 3 months old. Pray for Michaelson and that we can find out what is causing his swollen belly. He is a happy boy who does not suffer any pain.
Smile Train is sponsoring cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries at the Baptist Mission Hospital. A medical team from Surgery Volunteers International will be performing the surgeries over the next few days. This morning we drove Yvenson Joseph and his parents up the mountain to the hospital. The upcoming surgeries were well advertised by Smile Train. People have traveled from all over and there were many waiting to be consulted. There were several adults who have lived with cleft lips/palettes all their lives. Some would sit with their hands in front of their mouth so people wouldn’t notice them. With these surgeries they will not have to hide their face again. While driving away we saw a woman with a cleft lip walking to the hospital. Thanks to the support and investment of Smile Train cleft lips and palettes will now no longer be a handicap here in Haiti. Babies born with this defect will have the opportunity for surgery and will not have to live their lives as the adults who we saw walking to the hospital. Pray for the surgeries taking place at the Baptist Mission and the future surgeries as part of the Operation Cleft Free Haiti project. On March 7th another Smile Train team will be operating at Hopital Albert Schweitzer located in Deschapelle. American surgeons will be training Haitian surgeons how to do cleft lips and palettes. This is the second phase of the project. The objective is to train Haitian surgeons to do these surgeries. Smile Train will then sponsor the surgeries at various hospitals throughout Haiti. This is how the vision of a cleft free Haiti will come about.
Late this morning a manifestation was held. Supporters of the Lavalas political party walked through the streets starting from the downtown area and ending up at the electoral council building in the Delmas 41 area. We saw about 1,000 people walking by the One Stop grocery store heading up Delmas. One was carrying a sign saying, “Titid we will never forget you”. “Titid” is the nickname for the ex-president Aristide. He has a large following amongst the poor of Haiti and people are also upset that the Lavalas party was declared ineligible for the upcoming senatorial elections. Pray for stability for the country.
The 2008 Human Rights Report on Haiti has been released. If you are interested in reading it you can access it at "".
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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