Saturday, April 25, 2009

photos - various

On Friday was Manu's 11th birthday! We went to Epi Dor for his birthday and enjoyed a cheeseburger and french fries. We brought a cake back home and ate it that evening. This is one of Manu's friends - Harold.

Recently the children came running to my room with a crab that they found in the yard. In its effort to escape the crab scurried from his shell.

The children wanted to take a picture and decided that it would look nice to have some flowers in it. They then tried to get the crab to crawl back into its shell. Boys will be boys!

We visited Michkardel Poutoute. She had a skin graft surgery done in December 2008. We wanted to check up and see how she was doing.

When we first got there the youngest children ran. See in the background the young girl hiding behind her mother. I think that she was worried that I would take her to the hospital! Michkardel is sitting on the stairs. She wasn't happy to see me.

photos - election day

This large truck covering was moved to block the street. The people moving it sure made a lot of noise!

Lukner and a friend rescued the roof covering of his tap-tap from the barricades. He brought it into the yard for safe keeping!

There were several fires burning on the street corner. The black area are the remnants of the tires. Burning tires and barricades are common protest tools. The electoral voter participation rate was only about 12%.

Sunday was a quiet day. Not very many people were walking around the neighborhood. This is the view of Delmas 31 when you turn left at our corner.

This is the view of Delmas 31 when you turn right from our street corner.

photos - koolikoo joseph - USNS Comfort

Koolikoo Joseph is around 9 years old and he is mentally handicapped and was abandoned at General Hospital. The USNS Comfort crew that was working at rehabilitating the pharmacy saw him and brought him to the hospital ship for medical treatment. He had been hit by a car.

After being discharged from the USNS Comfort, an American missionary said he would take him to his orphanage. Instead he dropped Koolikioo back at General Hospital. We went on Monday to bring him to another orphanage and this woman who was his "minder" told me that I would have to speak with the person who was "responsable". The end of this story is that he now is in an orphanage.

We brought him to a boys' home in Jacmel. The administration there may transfer him to another orphanage that they have in Fermathe. He now has a home!

The view from the roof of the orphanage in Jacmel is beautiful. Jacmel has beautiful beaches and a great scenic view.

This area reminds me of the Georgian Bay area in Ontario. We couldn't stay long to enjoy the scenery though. We had to head back to Port-au-Prince before it got dark.

photos - various

Kervens Guerrier received surgery for repair of a clubbed foot on the USNS Comfort. He is not very happy to have a cast on his leg. In 4 weeks he will need the pins in his foot removed.

Roosevelt Rejuste received a hernia surgery on the USNS Comfort ship. We will be taking him next week to a doctor for a post-op check-up. He is doing well.

In November 2008 David Marzelus' family abandoned him at the entrance to the emergency department at General Hospital. We brought him back to his family.

He made a visit this week. He still is at his family's home. I am glad that his family has not abandoned him again.

Manu went with a couple of other people from Coram Deo to buy something for his birthday. While walking he noticed David lying on the sidewalk by the mayor's office. He helped him walk all the way back to our house as he didn't know where David's house was. We then brought him to David's home. I am proud of what Manu did. He saw someone in trouble and tried to help.

photos - calwens

Today we brought Calwens, sister and his mother to the Gonaives bus station. They had a post-op checkup at Healing Hands on Friday. He is doing well. His mother is happy to go home to the rest of her family who live in Marmelade.

Another of the hydrocephalus parent's stopped by the house today. Sterling Bonhomme's mother helped to carry Calwens. Hydrocephalus mothers have a common bond.

Lukner found them a seat on the bus that is loading luggage.

In Haiti public transportation quite often have biblical themes painted on them. "Lavi se yon konba" is the creole expression for "Life is a battle". Underneath is a symbol of a shepherd holding a lamb and the creole expression "Jesus ken bem" which means "Jesus hold me" in english.

This bus has "CHRIST VIVANT" printed on its side which means "Christ Lives" in english. We just recently finished celebrating Christ's victory on the cross. The design on this bus proudly proclaims the fact that Christ lives!

photos - delmas 31 ravine

On the other side of Delmas 31 on one of the side streets is a corridor leading to a ravine area where poor people live. This street has larger homes on it and if you wouldn't enter the corridor you would never see there is a poorer area hidden in the ravine.

Here is the entrance to the corridor in between 2 large homes.

At the end of the corridor is the ravine.

We know several of the families who live in this area. They are all poor.

Kemly Arisma is almost blind. She is one of the children who lives in the ravine. She was seen by a USNS Comfort doctor at Killick but he couldn't do the surgery on the ship. She needs to go to the United States for cornea transplant surgery. Pray we can find someone to help her.

haiti update - april 25, 2009

“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

Saturday, April 18, 2009

video - USNS Comfort - Begins Missions

A video was made on the start of the Continuing Promise 2009 mission here in Haiti. If you would like to see it follow the link at:

photos - carrefour traffic

On Monday afternoon there was a large traffic jam on the Carrefour Road. We first tried to take the Fontamara road but when we met up with the large rara we turned around and went back to the Carrefour traffic jam. I had my camera with me and took some photos. The Carrefour road always floods when it rains and the drainage canals don't work. There's lots of sitting water and garbage lying around.

The "marchands" (vendors) sit on the edges of the watery areas. The standing water is not very clean.

These are sacs of charcoal.

Driving around Port-au-Prince there is usually a UN vehicle around. The red and white car is a UN police vehicle.

The writing on the door of this room marks it as a "prayer cell". In Haiti groups of people will get together sometimes in people's homes especially to pray. These are called "jeune" services. When people attend these services they feel strengthened in their faith. People bring all their cares and burdens to these "jeune" services and pray together with others. Many of the parents we try to find help for will attend these "jeune" services asking the Lord to open a door for their child to find medical care.

USNS Comfort - part 1

People were crowding the main gate each day of the clinic hoping to be the first one in. It always took some time before the gates could be opened.

What the team wanted was for everyone to stand in line. Some people complied. Vendors were also in the area selling food and water to the people standing in the long lineups.

A few medical personnel are watching the crowds at the gate.

People were in line already since 3:00am in some cases. It made for a long day for these people.

People in Haiti are desperate for medical care. Several people came without a card hoping that they would be let inside too.

photos - USNS Comfort - part 2

The haitian police were out front of the gate where vehicles enter into the coast guard station to keep the entrance clear of waiting people.

It was tough on elderly people waiting in the lineups.

This man sold sweets to people waiting in line.

We took the children when we picked up Michelore and Deedee. Manu wanted to meet the soldiers from Sri Lanka who were standing in front of the Coast Guard Station.

The Carrefour road is a busy street with lots of traffic, including donkeys!

USNS Comfort - part 3

Lukner got his eyes checked and he got a new pair of eyeglasses plus a pair of sunglasses. I think he looks quite scholarly in this photo. He was excited to see Hillary Clinton and President Preval at the Palais National.

Pastor Varius is the pastor of a Fond Parisien church. He is getting cataract surgery.

Mr. Norville is getting cataract surgery as well. So many elderly people in Haiti never have the opportunity to get this surgery.

Many people came to the clinic without a card hoping to see a doctor. This man was hit by a car a few years ago and needs wrist surgery. He was frustrated at not being able to get in to the clinic.

We put his name on our medical search list. We met a few people who really need medical care and couldn't get into the clinic. Pray that we will find someone to help this man.