Monday, July 6, 2009

VIDEO - You Raise Me Up

The Lord lifts us up to stand on mountains and to walk on stormy seas. Josh Grogan and the African Children's Choir sing "You Raise Me Up". Please follow the link to:

haiti update - july 5, 2009

“The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” Proverbs 17:3

Hi! This week was busy preparing to go to Canada for a vacation. I had to go down to Haitian Immigration to get a “visa sortie” (exit visa) stamp put into my passport. The person writing my name in the notebook looked at the name “Bultje” and was convinced that it was a spelling mistake in my passport. She asked me 3 times if I was sure that was how it was spelled. She finally believed me and I picked the passport up the next day with the stamp added to it.
We went to the US Consulate this week with Solyvien Favra and his father for a medical visa. He was granted the visa and now plans are being made for his travel arrangements. Angel Missions is organizing the medical care and travel arrangements for Solyvien. Pray for traveling mercies and for all those who will be involved in caring for him.
At the last medical clinic that was held here at Coram Deo there was a woman who came with a lung infection. The medical team examined her and provided her with medicine. She was weak and we gave her a ride home. Early Saturday morning I got a call from Lukner telling me to come to her home with the truck. Her husband “Jimmy” needed to go to a hospital. He had been severely beaten by an angry mob of people. This happened around 4:00am.near the Food for the Poor mission in Cite Aux Cayes. They accused him of illegally hooking into an electrical line. The mob hit him with rocks, a knife and their fists. When they were done with the beating they left him for dead on the street. Later, the police came by and noticed that he was still alive and brought him to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Hospital and they wouldn’t receive him there. The police than brought him to his home in Cite Jeremie and left it up to the family to find medical care for him. He wasn’t very alert when we laid him into the back of the pick-up truck. He had some lacerations on his head that required stitches and had a broken arm. Since Medecins Sans Frontieres couldn’t help him we drove over to the Brothers of Charity Hospice in Cite Pele. They told us that they couldn’t help this man either. We then drove downtown to the state General Hospital. There is a strike that just started this past week at the hospital. It started with the security guards and cleaning staff going out on strike claiming 8 months of unpaid wages. At the end of the week everybody went on strike at the hospital. There is garbage all over the hospital grounds. At the entrance to the emergency department there was a bunch of garbage. We walked inside the emergency department to see if we could find a doctor and there was only one doctor in civilian clothes and he told us nothing could be done as there was nobody that could help this man. All the beds in the emergency room were full of patients stuck with no medical care. It is a strange sight to see a full hospital with no medical personnel! Because there are no security guards some supplies and equipment have been removed from the hospital and some equipment has been damaged. In the morgue there is nobody working there and the corpses are left to rot. It is not a good situation at this hospital. Pray that the strike is settled soon. The man’s wife was starting to get upset and was thinking that her husband would now die without medical care. I called Dr. Ed and asked him if he could help and we then drove over to his house. We tried to get Jimmy to walk from the truck but he passed out and we had to drag/carry him into Ed’s house. We put Jimmy on the dining room table. It was good that Jimmy had passed out because then Ed didn’t have to use any anesthetic. He pulled on Jimmy’s arm to realign the bones and then the 16 year old son held his fathers hand up to keep the bones in position. When Ed asked the family what the man’s name was the boy said he would write it out for him and he let the hand drop back to the table, which caused Jimmy’s forearm to be out of alignment again. Ed then had to reset the bones again before putting on the cast. Ed sewed up all the lacerations that needed stitches and then we dragged/carried Jimmy back to the truck. It was great that Ed let us ruin his plans for the morning! We drove Jimmy and his family back to their home. Pray for Jimmy, that his wounds heal and that he finds another job that doesn’t involve hooking up electricity. We found out that the mob that beat Jimmy intended to kill him with their beating. They were surprised to learn that he was still alive. One of these people spoke with Lukner and told him that Jimmy was an electricity thief and they weren’t happy that we helped him. Lukner told him that when the family asked for help they told us that he was on his way to the bus station and was mistaken for the electricity thief and that an electricity thief doesn’t deserve to die.
Lukner is always looking to help people in the community and he was proud that Jimmy got some help. Another incident that happened this week didn’t go as planned. Somebody approached him asking about finding help for a friend. This friend has a handicapped child. Lukner explained where our house is and the father and this child came to visit us while we were gone. The father abandoned the child in our yard. We got back and Lukner picked up the child and brought him back to the person who had asked for help for his friend. Lukner laid the child in front of his feet, told him it was not right to abandon children and walked away.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reported that Haiti is no longer the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The economy of Nicaragua is now worse than Haiti.
The World Bank, IMF and Inter-American Development Bank have cancelled 1.2 billion US$ in debt that Haiti has. This debt forgiveness is 2/3 of Haiti’s outstanding debt to these organizations. Canada has also forgiven 2.3 million CDN$ in debt as well. Hopefully these debt forgiveness programs will assist the Haitian government in its allocation of budget resources.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Thursday, July 2, 2009

VIDEO - Port-au-Prince in the 1940's and 1950's

Last week's senatorial elections did not have a very good voter turnout. In Port-au-Prince especially, people are discouraged with how things are. People don't have confidence that those elected to government can bring good change to how things were. Haiti used to be the "Pearl of the Antilles". Follow the link to how life in Port-au-Prince was like in the 1940's and 1950's. The video is in black and white and in french but you can sure see the contrast between now and then.

photos - john, montreal

The Haitian people love to play soccer. Even the elderly enjoy this sport!

The medical team from Roanoke, Virginia treated a lot of people during the 4 clinic days. They came with a lot of glasses. We had people trying to sneak into the clinic to get a pair.

This photo is a view from John's hospital room in Montreal, Quebec. A lot of haitian people live in Montreal.

Here is a view of the hospital. John stayed in Montreal General Hospital, the children's hospital. The orthopedic surgeons were from the Shriners Hospital. The Shriners paid for transportation, lodging and meals while my family was in Montreal. Pray for this organization. They do good work!

photos - john, montreal

John is relaxing in his bed after surgery.

You can see that John is a big kid! When John was discharged from the hospital they stayed for another week at the hotel. The first night back at the hotel Tanya and my mother were lifting John into his bed when my mother broke a vertebra in her back - L3. Now she has no choice but to rest. Pray that the vertebra heals and that the pain goes away.

John had to re-enter the hospital a second time in order to undergo anesthesia to change his cast. He now has a nice color purple cast on his leg!

My family went out in Montreal to the 3 Amigos Restaurant. John loves mexican food!

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