Thursday, July 2, 2009

haiti update - june 28, 2009

“A violent man entices his neighbor and leads him down a path that is not good.” Proverbs 16:29

Hi! Last Sunday was the 2nd round of senatorial elections. Early in the morning someone burned a tire on our street corner but after that things were normal. The police allowed vehicle traffic on the roads and only motorcycles were banned for the day. Everyone I know ignored the election. There was a very low voter turnout here in Port-au-Prince. Some of the poll workers had naps waiting for people to come in to vote. Port-au-Prince probably only had a voter turnout of 1%. The Lavalas party had Operation Closed Door 2 in place and were encouraging people to ignore the elections. On Sunday afternoon I met the Rainbow Forest Baptist Church mission team at Sherri’s place. They are from Roanoke, Virginia. The team is a large team of around 50 people. I tagged along with some of the medical team and Sherri as they walked through an area of the ravine in the Cite Aux Cayes area. Sherri regularly has medical people walking through that area providing medical care for children. I met a handicapped teenager who has never had the opportunity to go to school and hopefully in September he will be able to attend classes here at Coram Deo. In the ravine walk they saw several children with medical problems. When we were re-crossing along the bottom of the ravine heading back toward Sherri’s place we saw a couple of young guys running down from the local soccer field. When I asked them why they ran they said that there was a fight. One of the guys told me that there was one guy on the ground hurt and I went on ahead to see if anyone needed a doctor. Near the soccer field there were a bunch of spectators watching the “hockey fights”. The guy that had been on the ground had 3 teeth knocked out by a cement block. I was told that his friends had taken him to seek medical care. There was another guy though running around with a 2x4. The bystanders pushed him away. A few minutes later the guy with the missing teeth came back with his friends. His face was bloody and I just finished telling him that there was a doctor in the area when he looked ahead and saw someone he was angry with. He went charging after him and hockey fights started again. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and I gave up in trying to help the guy with the missing teeth. He sure did look like he had been through a hockey fight though. I went back to the medical team and told them it was useless and that everyone wanted to fight. We then went home. As I got close to Coram Deo I saw a police vehicle and it passed quickly. The policemen had a serious look on their faces and were wearing helmets. They went and broke up the hockey fights. The guys told me that the reason for the fighting was because of the Brazil-Italy soccer match. People in Haiti are very passionate about soccer.
The Rainbow Forest medical team held 4 clinics. For the team members it was their first trip to Haiti. On Monday the medical team held a clinic here at Coram Deo and treated around 160 people and provided medications as well. They also did eye exams for another 60 people and provided glasses. In Haiti a lot of people go without eyeglasses because they cannot afford them and this was a blessing to see people be able to get a pair of eyeglasses. On Tuesday the medical team held a clinic in Cite Soleil at the Maranatha church. Again they treated and provided medications for around 160 people. Eye exams were done at this clinic too and glasses were provided for those who needed them. The eye clinic station was set up at the back of the church near the door and when the day was over I decided that if we ever have an eye clinic again it will be at the front of the church as far from the entrance as possible. The team also had sunglasses and the young guys in the neighborhood all wanted a pair. They hung out by the door the entire day and I think that one guy alone asked about 200 times for a pair of sunglasses. Pastor Pierre sat on a stool by the door the entire day making sure nobody would reach in and try to steal glasses. In order to maintain good gangster community relations I asked the team for some sunglasses and gave 6 to one of the guys by the door to separate with his friends. One of these guys in particular never could manage a smile the entire day. Other than being harassed for glasses the day went well. There were a couple of children treated for burns. A lady came in with a broken artificial leg. She needs to get another one over at Healing Hands. Pray that she can get help for this. Near the end of the afternoon there must have been some sort of fight in the neighborhood. A teenage girl came to the door asking to see a doctor. She had a rag pressed against her head. She had gotten in the way of a rock that was thrown by someone and needed stitches. About 15 minutes later a young man came to the door with the same request. He too was holding a rag pressed against his head and had gotten in the way of a thrown rock as well.
On Wednesday a medical clinic was held at the new Kings Hospital being built near the Delmas 33 area. A couple of the nurses assisted at the vaccination clinic there. One of the nurses got stuck with one of the needles while vaccinating a child. The next day we went over to International Child Care on Delmas 31 with Linda and she was started on ARV treatment as a prophylaxis for HIV. She will need to take these medicines for one month. Pray that she has no complications. On Thursday the medical team held a clinic in the Delmas 19 area at Pastor Lenny’s church. The medical team was kept very busy the entire week and saw a lot of people. We give the Lord thanks for people willing to come to Haiti to help out. The team left us with some of their leftover snacks and our snack box is now full again with candy and crackers. The children were very happy! They also gave some jars of peanut butter! This week also had a surprise when cleaning out the depot. We have started to buy bar soap for the first time in a long while. One of the boxes held a case of soap so this will last us a while. We have had funding problems and getting the snacks of candy, crackers and peanut butter and finding the case of soap in the depot is a large blessing! We give the Lord thanks for these.
My nephew John is doing well. He went under anesthesia for his casting change and woke up to find a bright colorful purple cast on his leg! When John was discharged from the hospital the other week my mother injured her back when helping my sister Tanya lift him into bed. She broke the L3 vertebrae in her back and this gives her a lot of pain. Pray for John and my mother as they heal.
The students are still striking this week. One day they demonstrated in front of the Parliament building and were planning to walk to the rectorate and demonstrate there too but then the time for the Brazil soccer match came and the students decided to go to the rectorate another day. They didn’t want to miss seeing the soccer game on the television. It has been determined that the man who was killed after the Father Jean Juste funeral the other week was shot and did not die from a blunt object. Now it needs to be determined if it was a UN bullet or someone else’s. I saw a photo of one of the people who attended the funeral. This man was well dressed and had a fancy, expensive pair of sunglasses on. I was surprised at recognizing him as the unsmiling guy standing by the door at the medical clinic in Cite Soleil. He was one of the guys saying he was hungry and wanted a pair of sunglasses. He definitely is no poor slum dweller. Pray for this man and other guys like him who have a cold heart and live the gangster life.
Port-au-Prince has the distinction as being one of the dirtiest cities in the world. According to the 2007 Health and Sanitation Rankings Quality of Life Report which is based on levels of air pollution, waste management, water potability, hospital services, medical supplies and the presence of infectious disease; Port-au-Prince, Haiti is number 4 on the list. The world’s dirtiest city is Baku, Azerbaijan. Dhaka, Bangladesh is second and Antananarivo, Madagascar is third. Calgary, Canada has the distinction of being the best city in the world according to this report!
On July 7th I will head back to clean Canada to visit my family for a few weeks. I will be staying until July 28th. If anyone would like us to do a presentation while I am there please contact Tim, or my family. I am looking forward to eating a Big Mac at McDonalds!
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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