“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Hi! This week we got to see the results of having more policemen trained here in Port-au-Prince. “Mac the Knife” (real name – Mackenson Joseph) of the Judas Gang was arrested and is now getting the opportunity to reflect on his crimes while imprisoned in the National Penitentiary downtown. He used to be a sponsor student of Coram Deo and Adoration Christian School. Food for the Poor is a large mission in the Delmas 31 (Cite Aux Cayes) neighborhood. They provide cooked meals for a lot of poor people in the community as well as helping out missions with food and other materials. Outside the gates of this mission thieves wait to take what is handed out from Food for The Poor. Mackenson is one of these thieves. He approached a woman and demanded her to hand over the rice that she was carrying. She didn’t and he cut her hand with a knife. A police report was made and he was located and arrested. Pray that his heart is changed and that he repents for what he has done. Pray also for the other members of the Judas Gang and that they would repent for their actions as well. The catholic priest of the local parish received food from Food for the Poor as well and young men armed with rocks demanded him to hand it over. Once again police were called and quite a few of these guys were arrested! The other week we got some assistance from Food for the Poor too. Normally they request people to use an enclosed truck but we brought our tarp with us and tied it over the supplies. The guys from Coram Deo, including Cousin Johnny from Jeremie sat on the top of the covered supplies for security and I told them to hang on tight as we accelerated when we left the Food for the Poor gates.
On Monday we picked up Rachel from Deedee’s house to bring to Healing Hands. Rachel’s feet are slightly clubbed and she was fitted with some splints to hold the feet in the proper position. We were following behind a government vehicle and as we neared the corner of Rue Dalia and Faustin 1ere the car stopped and 3 men jumped out who were wearing uniforms from the mayor’s office. They quickly picked up the baskets and dumped them into their truck as well as booting one woman’s display of oranges all over the road. One vendor that had a bunch of sandals tried to run away with them but the guy grabbed them off the top of her head. They left the vendor alone who was selling books though. We went ahead and warned the vendors who were further ahead to move before they had their stuff taken too and a man who had a large bowl of bread ran inside a barrier. Joanna, who was holding Rachel told the people not to return and to find another place to sell if they didn’t want to lose their wares. The mayor has a very difficult job controlling where vendors can sell. A couple of hours later we returned and the vendors were back at their spot beside the church selling things. The Haitian people are very determined!
The man dressed in costume from the 1800’s sitting on a horse that we saw at Carrefour Aviation on October 17th made the news again. We were downtown on Tuesday morning and there was a special ceremony on the grounds of the Palais National. It looked nice and I wish that I had brought my camera. What happened before though shocked the palace security. The man on the horse followed the presidential convoy through the Champ Mars and to the palace gates. He proceeded to follow the vehicles onto the grounds of the palace and galloped up to speak with President Preval. This man identified himself as Emperor Dessalines and wanted to discuss the plans for the national holiday that was being held on Wednesday November 18th – Battle of Vertierres (one of the independence battles of Haiti). Dessalines was one of the leaders of the battles for independence against the French in 1803. Palace security arrested this man and brought him across the street to the police station and his horse is waiting on the grounds of the police station for his owner to be released from jail.
Wednesday morning we were busy picking up a couple of families who had come into Port-au-Prince from outlying areas for the hydrocephalus surgeries. We were heading on the road called “sur piste”, which is off Airport Rd. when we saw 3 men, each riding a horse. We passed them as they were trotting along. One of the men was holding a sword. They were heading towards Delmas 2. We went to the Jeremie wharf to pick up Guerdson Delile’s family who had come into port on the Jeremie boat and then to the Cap Haitian bus station near Cite Soleil to pick up Calwens Sanon and his family. Along with the 2 men from the mountains who are recuperating from their hernia surgeries we had 22 people sleeping here at Coram Deo! (this is our highest level ever). The Wednesday holiday was not a good one in the downtown area. The students from the state university were protesting the high cost of living, university reform and demanding the departure of the UN. The protests happened in the Ave. Christophe area. The protesters stopped 2 government vehicles and the vehicles were burned. Several vehicles had windows smashed by rocks, including 2 UN police vehicles. One professor and 12 students were arrested. We saw one government bus this week that had “UN” with an “X” through it spray-painted on the front windshield. Pray that the protests come to an end.
We made a couple of visits at the beginning of the week to see how Dathsun the premature baby hospitalized at General Hospital was doing. When we were there on Monday morning the grandmother was getting ready to put a 10cc feeding in the tube and we left the hospital confident that she was looking after her well. Every time we go to the hospital we usually see one dead baby in the hallway. That day there were two in the hallway when we got there. I should have noticed that something strange was going on. When we got there on Tuesday morning the grandmother told us that Dathsun had a difficult night and had breathing problems. He didn’t look good. She then said that there were no doctors around and that they were on strike. One of the parents had hit a doctor in anger on Sunday and since then all the other parents were being punished by the pediatric doctors. I looked at his chart and no medications were given on Monday or for Tuesday morning. The IV was shut off and the grandmother said that she was waiting for the baby to wake up before giving it milk through the tube. She had not given him anything since late Monday afternoon. There was only one nurse in the room but she couldn’t keep up with everything. I called Dorothy and we signed him out. While in the hospital he went down in weight from 2 pounds to 1 pound. Dorothy and her staff did all they could for Datsun but the Lord called him home and he died on Wednesday. We brought him to the morgue at General Hospital the next morning. While on the hospital grounds we saw Father/Dr. Rick from Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs Hospital leaving with a couple of their trucks. He is an American that has a unique ministry that not too many people know about. He regularly goes to the morgue and removes the unclaimed bodies for burial. This relieves the burden on the state and helps the morgue to function better. In the past when we have brought bodies to the morgue we have seen the government use dump trucks to haul the bodies away and they were placed into mass graves. Father Rick left that day with 35 bodies. We talked with a worker at the morgue and asked him to give Datsun’s body to Father Rick as the family wouldn’t be holding a funeral. He promised to do this. The grandmother was relieved and we brought her to the Gonaives bus station.
All the hydrocephalus children met at Hopital La Paix on Thursday and the ones who were chosen for the surgical list were hospitalized. The Miami neurosurgery team did 4 surgeries that day and the rest on Friday and Saturday. 29 neurosurgeries were performed which is the largest amount done yet. We brought food to the hospital for the morning and evening meals. Tim and Kim Bos arrived on Friday and they helped too in handing out the meals. Calwens and Guerdson did not receive a surgery but will most likely be on the next surgical list sometime in May. Healing Hands and Project Medishare did a good job of organizing everything. The nurses that care for the children are assigned by the hospital and they are the same ones each time. You can tell that they are now comfortable with looking after hydrocephalus children, which is a good sign for the future of the hydrocephalus program. The children received good care by the hospital staff. Pray for these children as they recover. It is great to be able to see these babies get surgery to stop their heads from getting larger. Carmilo’s head is now 85 cm and he was not selected for surgery. Pray for the mission that is looking after him. We are going to try to seek medical care for him in the United States. He is alert and smiles when spoken to and he is now starting to take in more fluids. Considering the size of his head, he has no pressure sores.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo