“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Proverbs 15:3
Hi! This week was busy with the medical program. We went to the US Consulate to get a medical visa for Angelo Lafortune. He is the young boy who went to the United States a couple of years ago for surgery to remove a brain tumor. He needs to go for follow-up visits every year. His mother will also be traveling with him. They will travel on Monday morning. Pray for traveling mercies and that Angelo has a good checkup! He is a happy boy and enjoys going to school.
There are 2 plastic surgery teams in Port-au-Prince this weekend performing cleft lip and palette surgeries. One of the teams is from the University of Miami and the surgeries are being coordinated by Project Medishare at Hopital La Paix, on Delmas 33. The second is a Smile Train team and they will be operating out of Bernard Mevs Hospital on Airport Road. This is a double blessing! Pray that lots of children get help. We have been providing the breakfast and supper meals for the parents at Hopital La Paix this weekend. It’s great to see children getting their faces changed! This team will also be doing plastic surgeries on burn scars as well. A couple of people cannot extend their elbow because of scar tissue and after surgery will have a fully functional arm again. Handley Lelain is a 4-year-old boy and he will have his cleft palate repaired. We visited Cite Soleil yesterday when we heard that there was a cleft lip case there and some children in the Wharf area of Cite Soleil led us to where the family lived. This young girl is being helped by the surgical team at Bernard Mevs Hospital next Thursday. We had also heard of some people in the Petionville area but haven’t been able to make contact with them yet. Hopefully we can locate them and they can get some help in a future surgery.
We picked up Vanessa of Angel Missions from the airport this week. Next week the surgical cases from the USNS Comfort hospital ship will get post-op evaluations by some visiting doctors at the Angel Missions Surgical Center. The surgical center is still under construction. Pray that construction can be finished and that visiting surgical teams will be able to use this center to help more patients.
Near the end of this month a medical team will be holding 4 medical clinics in different locations. There will be a clinic day held here at Coram Deo, in Cite Soleil, at Pastor Leny’s church on Delmas 19 and at Sherri’s Christian Light Mission. We went with Jim of Christian Light Foundation and Sherri to visit the clinic sites. The team will have 21 members, which means that lots of patients can be seen at the clinic sites. The total mission team has around 50 members. The rest will be organizing vacation bible school and a pastor-training seminar at Pastor Leny’s. They hope to work with 100 Haitian pastors. Pray for all the plans being put in place by this Christian Light team.
This week we saw the determination of a family in seeking out medical care for their children. Tuesday at midnight a father and mother started their walk with their 2 children from a place far in the mountains. They reached our house the next day at 3:00pm. When I went outside they were waiting on the bench and I told them that it was too late to do anything that day. They responded that it was okay. They would wait until the next morning. This family were our visitors for that evening! It is good that our house is a flophouse as well! The father explained that his youngest daughter has been suffering from swelling and this is caused by kwashiorkor (wet malnutrition). It is caused by lack of protein in the diet. Another family had told them about us and this is why they made the journey. This girl is now in the Missionaries of Charity Hospice being treated for malnutrition. Pray for those providing for her care. We gave the family a ride to Petionville and they started back on their return journey home. This family set out on the journey for medical care because they knew of a place to go to for help. But there are many families who don’t know where they can go or where all the missions are that can help them. Sometimes the children in those families die because of malnutrition and/or no medical care. Seeing the family that came to the house this week and reading something a couple of weeks ago in a news magazine from Canada made me think. If a child dies in the situation that is currently going on in Haiti, should the family suffer the judgment of God? Should they be charged with negligence or an investigation launched? I don’t think so. Haiti has such extreme poverty. If a crop is destroyed because of a hurricane, as is often the case here it takes time before another crop can be grown. In the meantime the family doesn’t have funds to purchase food. When their neighbors are also in the same situation they cannot help either. Missions and foreign aid cannot provide 100% of the needs of the people here. There is not enough to go around. Missionaries cannot help every single person who comes to their gate. God sees all and knows the situations of the families living here in Haiti. From afar I don’t think that we have the right to pass judgment on a Haitian family because one of their own dies; especially when the person who is passing judgment lives in a first world country and Haiti is a third world country. Pray for Haiti that one day the country can feed itself and provide medical care for those in need.
We got some good news this week! The electricity sub-station on Delmas is generating electricity again after only one week of blackouts!
The medical students started protesting recently because of curriculum changes. Things have deteriorated in these demonstrations and some of the other students of other faculties have joined them in their protests. It started out as sit-ins at the rectorate demanding that the dean be replaced and curriculum changes be reversed. They started with tire burnings but the last couple of days have been more disorderly. They have been throwing stones at vehicles and they also burned a state vehicle. The police in turn have been firing tear gas and shooting in the air to control them. These demonstrations are primarily taking place in the downtown area near the state hospital. The demands of the students have also grown. Now they are primarily protesting to pressure the government to implement the new minimum wage rates that have been passed by the parliament and senate. The daily minimum wage is to rise from 70gourdes per day ($1.75US) to 200 gourdes per day ($5US). Businesses are against this almost 200% increase in the wage rate. Now these student protests are not really student issues but political issues and others are now involved. The students are throwing rocks at vehicle windshields and at the police and the street children pick them up and toss them back to the students so that they in turn can smash more windows. In this way the students have a continuous supply of rocks. Other people than students are amongst the protesters. One man in the Delmas 31 area usually spends his days passing time by playing dominoes. Now he is no longer in his usual spot but is involved as one of the protesters. He is boasting that he is going to be there with them until everything stops. I guess protesting is more fun than playing dominoes! Hopefully the government can stop the protests from increasing and becoming more troublesome. On Monday protesters plan to walk to the Prime Ministers residence on Bourdon to protest so this will probably cause traffic problems in that area as well. Pray that the government can resolve these issues.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo