“A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.” Proverbs 14:28
Hi! The week began with a lot of noise. Early Sunday morning at around 1:00am everyone in the house was awakened by the sounds of things going bump in the night! The dog did a lot of barking too. The guys were worried that people were moving things against the wall to climb into our yard but these people were instead moving the metal workers’ unfinished projects from in front of our wall and dragging them to the street corner to use as barricades to block the street. This went on for a while. Then they smashed up some tables that the street vendors use to display their wares to use as kindling to light the tire fires that they started on the corner. This was the beginning of election day in Haiti! I couldn’t take pictures while this was going on but I took some after and put it on the blog. Lukner has an old wreck of a tap-tap that he is trying to fix and he had the top cover at the welder’s waiting to be repaired. He was able to rescue it from the barricades in the morning. The police were busy at around 5:00am moving the barricades aside to open the roadway again. Election day to elect senators officially began at 6:00am. The older guys here who are of voting age told me in the morning that they had no intention of leaving the yard. After a noisy evening the day was very quiet! Word on the Haitian grape vine here in Port-au-Prince was that if you wanted to vote you better write your name on the soles of your feet so that when they find your body on the street people will be able to identify it. The Lavalas political party was banned from the election and because of this they had Operation “Porte Fermee” (Closed Door) in place. The police didn’t allow public or private transportation on the streets. All these things contributed to a very low voter turnout. The electoral council estimates voter attendance at 12% across the country. In the Central Plateau region of the country the election was very disorderly. In Mirebalais supporters of different parties clashed. An electoral worker was shot. Voting centers were ransacked and voting ballots were taken and destroyed. Windows of vehicles were smashed as well. We were listening to the radio and heard reports coming in from people in Mirebalais saying how bad the election was going out there. People were trying to get inside a hotel there to get at someone and police had to fire tear gas. Some armed gunmen were going into voting centers to cause problems. There were similar situations taking place in Sarazin and Maissade. In Papaye supporters of a candidate went into a bureau and stuffed the ballot boxes with their candidates’ name. The electoral council ended up canceling election day for the Central Plateau region and they will need to be held again at a later date. There were some post election problems this week in the region of Aquin. On Tuesday, windows of vehicles were damaged by supporters celebrating the victory of their candidate (even though results haven’t been published yet). These supporters forced school directors to close their doors and send the students home and businesses were not able to function. Other than these isolated incidents things were very quiet across the country. Election results will be issued on April 27th by the electoral council.
The USNS Comfort left Haiti on Sunday to travel to its next destination in the Dominican Republic. In a 10-day period: 6,731 patients received treatment; 30,856 patients encountered; 161 surgeries performed; 15,504 prescriptions filled and 2,354 animals treated. This week we have had contacts with some of the people who had surgery. Kervens Guerrier has his leg in a cast and will need to have the pins removed from his clubfoot surgery in a month’s time. The 3 orthopedic cases will get follow-up care at Healing Hands. Roosevelt Rejuste (hernia surgery) and his mother came by to visit this week. Rosita Petissaint had a hysterectomy and we had her go see a gynecologist at Bernard Mevs for a post-op check this week. Pray for her as she is still in a lot of pain.
Staff from the USNS Comfort also did a renovations project at the state General Hospital while they were here in Haiti. The pharmacy has been closed for months and with the renovations that were done hopefully it will reopen again soon. The workers from the USNS Comfort also experienced some of the frustrations of working here in Haiti. At the end of one day before heading back to the ship the workers asked the Haitian security at General Hospital to watch the lumber materials. In the morning they came to the hospital and found that the wood had walked away during the night! The Haitian security guard told them that he had no idea what happened because he was sleeping. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Saturday morning when the American ambassador Janet Sanderson cut the ribbon. Earlier in the week the ship workers saw an injured handicapped boy on the grounds of General Hospital near where they were working. He had been hit by a car and was abandoned and they transported him to the ship for medical treatment. The boys name is Koolikoo Joseph. He doesn’t have family and was watched over by people on the grounds of the hospital. A few days later when it was time for him to be discharged from the ship they didn’t want to send him back to the grounds of General Hospital. Different missions were contacted with the hope of finding an orphanage to take him in. One American man who has a mission here in Haiti said that he would take him into his orphanage and the ship people gave him a donation to help out with Koolikoo’s care. Everyone on the ship was relieved that he now had a home. At the ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday the ship people were surprised and upset to see Koolikoo back on the grounds of General Hospital. We went to General Hospital on Monday and saw him by the gates of the church. A couple of vendors were sitting there with him. They told us that the “white man” dropped him off there. We told the vendors that another orphanage was willing to take in Koolikoo and they told us that they were his “minders” and that we would have to talk with the “responsible” person and we would need to come back on Tuesday. The next day we went back and that person wasn’t there. While we were talking to the vendors a Haitian lady came up to me and asked what was going on. I explained to her about Koolikoo’s situation and that we had found someone to take him in and told her about the problem of locating the person who was responsible for him. She got angry and said that the people were using him to beg with in front of the church gates. I told her that if I couldn’t meet with the person responsible for him that I would just go over to Haitian Social Services (IBESR) and talk to them. The vendors immediately said “Take him, we don’t want any problems with the police!” We then brought him to an orphanage that was willing to take him in. We give the Lord thanks that Koolikoo now has a home!
On Friday it was Manu’s 11th birthday and we had a birthday party at Epi Dor’s and a cake back at the house. He was looking forward to the birthday party all week long!
That’s all the news for today. Have a good weekend!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo