“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1
Hi! My nephew John is finally getting the opportunity to have surgery for clubbed feet caused by his hydrocephalus. John is 13 years old now. We found him in the abandoned room at General Hospital when he was only a month old. Doctors and other people here in Haiti wrote off John as having no brain and not helpable. My sister Tanya contacted a neurosurgeon in London, Ontario and he was willing to perform surgery to install a shunt and remove the pressure on his brain. This surgeon believes the brain of an infant is very adaptable. At 6 months of age John’s head circumference was 83 cm when he had his first surgery. Now, after a few surgeries his head is around 67 cm and will stay this size. The Shriners are sponsoring his surgery and Tanya, John and my mother travel to Montreal Sunday afternoon by train. The Shriners are paying for transportation, hotel and meals. On Monday he will meet the doctors and Wednesday will be his surgery. Pray that all goes well. John is a talkative boy and enjoys being around people. He has been a part of my sister Tanya’s family since his arrival in Canada 13 years ago.
Daphka Saintvil is a young girl who is currently in Ohio for orthopedic treatment of a deformed leg. She just recently had another operation and now has an external fixator in place. Pray the leg heals well.
The Smile Train plastic surgery team conducted 35 cleft lip/palette surgeries at Bernard Mevs Hospital. On Tuesday one of the plastic surgeons examined Magalie Toussaint. Roberta is trying to find someone to help Magalie. She is a 2-year-old girl with an encephalocele growing between her eyes. This is causing her eyes to be pushed to the side. The plastic surgeon has a contact in Dallas who specializes in this type of surgery. Pray he will agree to do the surgery. The University of Miami plastic surgery team also performed around 30 cleft lip/palette, burn scar surgeries. We give the Lord thanks for this bountiful harvest of surgeries! Another Smile Train team is coming to Haiti in September to the Baptist Mission Hospital. The University of Miami plastic surgery team will be planning another round of surgeries at Hopital La Paix sometime in December coordinated by Project Medishare.
Friday morning was busy making a couple of trips with people who had surgery on the USNS Comfort Hospital ship to the Angel Missions Surgical Center. A team from Maine made post-op evaluations. This Maine medical team was co-ordinated by Angel Missions. On Saturday they did a medical clinic at Roberta’s mission and saw about 100 patients.
Phara Simeon is a young hydrocephalus child and she died at her family’s home in the countryside. She was one of the children who went to the United States for surgery. When she came back to Haiti her head circumference continued to increase and she had a second surgery at Hopital La Paix when the University of Miami Neurosurgery team came in May 2008. When I last saw Phara, her hair was turning an orange color (which is an indicator of malnutrition). Her mother is a good mother who loved her. I am sure that she did her best in taking care of Phara.
Ganna and Aldai are 2 brothers who are friends of the children here at Coram Deo. I usually have to make them leave the yard every evening. Their 21-year-old cousin was robbed downtown and the thief stabbed him in the chest. He died right there on the street. This happened in the middle of the morning and there were people who saw what happened. The onlookers grabbed the thief and held onto him until the police arrived. He is now in prison. Pray for Ganna, Aldai, and the rest of the family.
The student protests continued again this week. Several students were arrested at the end of the prior week and the students concentrated their efforts by protesting near the courthouse area to demand their release. Most of the actions happened during the beginning of the week. On Tuesday afternoon, around the hour when students are heading home after the end of the school day, the state university medical students and their supporters started throwing rocks. A UN vehicle had their windshield damaged and the UN and police were firing tear gas back at the students. This all happened when the streets near General Hospital are the busiest with pedestrian traffic. Young school children and others were in the middle of the tear gas. A journalism student was found dead on the street after being shot by someone. The end of the week was calmer than the beginning of the week. The UN soldiers from India were in front of the Palais National on Friday with their water cannon truck but they didn’t need to use it that day. The students never held a protest in front of the Prime Minister’s residence at the beginning of the week. They stayed downtown protesting for the release of arrested students instead. We saw UN police from China protecting the prime minister’s residence. The Chinese have these personnel vehicles that are very small. There were 5 of them, lined up one after the other, and each one had a UN policeman standing guard in the hatch opening of these small box-like vehicles. There was a photographer taking a picture. It looked like a lineup of “jack-in-the-boxes”! I wish I had a working camera. This would have been a funny photo! The president wants to consult with the business sector first before officially authorizing the new minimum wage laws. Pray for an end to the student protests.
June 14th is the International Day of the Child. Amnesty International reports that there are 500,000 children living in Haiti as domestic servants and living in poor conditions. These children are known as “restaveks” and are modern day slaves. Many poor families will send a child to live with someone with the promise that in return for housekeeping duties they will get an education and regular meals. Instead these children aren’t allowed to go to school and are mistreated. Pray for the plight of the “restaveks” and that this form of slavery will one day end here in Haiti.
Thursday was a national holiday here in Haiti. “Fete Dieu” (God’s Day) is a special “birthday” for God held every year. I think that Haiti is the only country who has this day. Businesses and schools were closed that day.
Exam week officially started Friday but most of the schools will be commencing exam week on Monday (we are too). Coram Deo has been a busy place in the afternoons lately. Between 50 and 70 students outside of Coram Deo come into the yard to use the chalkboards preparing for upcoming exams and also for state exams every day. There are state exams for 6th grade (last year of elementary school), 3rd year of secondary school and also Rheto and Philo, which are the last years of secondary school. Study groups of all these levels get together to prepare for exams. The students themselves form these groups. A few Christian schools in the neighborhood have students in these groups. In the elementary study groups are children from Adoration, Chima and Fraternite Christian schools. In the elementary study groups older student mentors from the secondary levels work with these children to help prepare them for end of year and 6th grade exams. It is great that the grounds can be used to help out other Christian schools in the neighborhood. I hope all this extra studying helps the children get good marks so that they can advance to the next level! We give the Lord thanks for having a large yard to be able to host these study groups and for student mentors willing to work with their peers.
This week I saw how God can touch someone’s heart. One evening this week a Haitian Christian woman who is very active in her church went to sleep and had a dream. In this dream she was told to go to Coram Deo and pray. She woke up in the morning and this was on her heart. She had never heard of Coram Deo and didn’t know who it was and she started asking around. Eventually she found out from someone that Coram Deo was a mission and where it was located. Thursday morning she prepared a letter and came to the gate and the people here at the house brought it to me. She was asking if she could bring a group of people over for prayer. This was set up for Saturday afternoon. 6 members of this church group came over and we got everyone together here at Coram Deo for a prayer service. This was the first time that we met. The service lasted around 1-½ hours. The evangelist spoke and his sermon was about not letting your heart be troubled by what you see and hear and not to be discouraged. Jesus has the last word and He will control everything. They sang some Creole songs with the children too. Before leaving they told us that they would be willing to come over again if we wanted. This might be a good thing to do in the school program for next year. The song that was sang after the message was “To God be the Glory.”
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo