Thursday, October 29, 2009

photos - family visit - part 1

From left to right are my mother, father, Rick and Anje Boer. Every evening we sat up on the roof. It is cooler than inside the house.

Rick and Anje brought a large donation of toothpaste and toothbrushes that was collected at their church. Thank you for this donation. We have a year's supply of toothpaste now!

My mother enjoyed handing out candies to the children in the school program.

Smarties was a favorite for the children.

The children enjoy coloring. They trace their own designs and then color them.

photos - family visit - part 2

People in Canada are making mats using plastic milk bags. Bugs can't hide in them. There is a lot of work that goes into making these!

We bought some foam to make the new cushions for the couch. Here Anje is measuring up the size.

The children were interested in watching.

Benson and Manu made a money pouch out of some left over material.

Manu really enjoyed having in-depth conversations with the visitors!

photos - family visit - part 3

Anje did a lot of painting! Here she is repainting the wall by the outside sinks.

A new coat of paint was put on the walls of the outside rooms and also the metal doors.

Rick and my father worked on installing a new counter top and boards for the table and kitchen sink.
They did some varnishing and sealing as well around the sink.

Kimosabee has some problems. Rick and my dad removed the air conditioner fan motor. We couldn't find another part here in Haiti so they took it back with them to Canada. Pray they can find another one.

photos - family visit - part 4

We made a visit to Bonnette to see Paulna's family. Here Paulna is introducing Rick and Anje to her sister. Some of the children of the village followed us around to check out the new visitors.

We went to see Michelore's mother. She was not feeling well. There are a lot of fevers going around. Pray she gets better soon.

This girl was carrying a bucket of water home to her family. It is women and children's work to haul water.
This woman had a stroke a couple of years ago. Deedee is looking after her baby (Rachel). Her son was helping her to cook the family meal.

There is a nice view from Boutilliers overlooking Port-au-Prince at this look-out point.

photos - family visit - part 5

We headed up the mountain to see the sights. At Fort Jacques there is a good view of Port-au-Prince from the walkway around the fort.

There were a lot of people at Fort Jacques because of the holiday -"La Mort de Dessalines" ( translated as "the death of Dessalines")

On Sunday everybody piled onto Kimosabee to go to church. Kimosabee had no trouble!

We made a visit to the abandoned children's ward at General Hospital. The room was packed with 34 abandoned children.

Some beds had 3 and 4 children in one bed. The workers do their best to look after the children. Haitian society needs to change. The abandonment of children is becoming more of a problem here in Haiti and there are not very many missions who want to look after handicapped children.

photos - family visit - part 6

Cousin Johnny is seated cutting some sweet oranges for everyone. His family sent a gift of food grown in their garden in Jeremie by boat. I took all the visitors to wharf Jeremie to pick up the bags of food. The family sent yams, bananas, bread fruit, oranges, tarot, grenadia, labapen

Everyone helped in preparing the Sunday Thanksgiving dinner. We ate turkey, fresh beans and potatoes! It was a nice change from beans and rice!

Anje made a floral decoration for the table from our garden. It makes a nice photo!

The last evening we had a going away party for the visitors complete with chips, pop and cookies!

Here is the finished couch. It now has cushions instead of a board. Rick and Dad are modeling the new couch.


Il Divo sings a good rendition of "Amazing Grace". God's grace is sufficient in all circumstances. To watch this video follow the link to:

haiti update - october 28, 2009

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8

Hi! It’s been a busy couple of weeks with visitors! My parents and Rick and Anje Boer came in on October 13th and stayed until October 23rd. It was good to spend some time with family. They brought lots of nice clothes that were donated by people at church for the children as well as towels, washcloths and vitamins. We now have a year’s supply of toothpaste! This is a real blessing. Even the children in the school program got to enjoy eating candy. Thanks to everyone who donated supplies for everyone here at Coram Deo. I kept everybody busy doing some repairs while they were here. The kitchen table was fixed. It was getting a little wobbly because the termites had eaten through one of the legs so now there is a brace in place to make it sturdier. Anje made some cushions to fit on the couch and chair. The outside kitchen had repairs made to the sink and table and the back outside rooms were painted as well as the metal doors, front gate and Marie’s hut. Rick and my father worked on the pick-up truck. Kimosabee has had some difficulties lately. The air conditioning doesn’t want to work (it needs another fan and motor). They removed it and will try to get a replacement in Canada. One of the rear automatic windows now works for the first time in 2 years! Some other repairs were made too. We have been having a run of flat tires lately but no flats while my parents were here. A couple of weeks ago one of the tires almost fell off while we were driving on Airport Road after the tire changer forgot to tighten the bolts. We are going to have to plan in the future to buy some more tires as these ones are starting to wear.
It wasn’t all work while they were here. We met with Pastor Charles Almicy. He had spoken at Rick and Anje’s church while visiting Canada in September. We drove out to his mission compound out in Cabaret. It is a large compound and a lot of building has been done out there. Inside this compound there is a church, mission team guesthouse, orphanage, school and a couple of other buildings. They were affected by last year’s flooding and are still replacing outside walls and a bridge. Pray for their efforts as they serve in the Cabaret community. We made a trip up the mountain to the Baptist Mission, Fort Jacques and to Boutillier to see the sights. There is a good view of Port-au-Prince from there. October 17th was a holiday here in Haiti. It commemorates the death of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the Haitian leader whose forces defeated Napoleans’ army for Haiti’s independance. He died in an area called Pont Rouge, which is near the lower area of Delmas. The holiday fell on a Saturday and we usually go for vegetables at the large downtown market. We brought Anje along to show her the area but got stopped by the palace police. They told us to take a different way. President Preval was in the area. The detour road had heavy traffic and we didn’t want to wait in the traffic jam and turned around. It was a surprise to see 2 men on horseback at Carrefour Aviation. They were dressed in costume from the early 1800’s and one was dressed up to represent Dessalines. They were stopped at the traffic light. I wish that I had my camera with me. It would have made a great photo! We made a visit to the village of Bonnette to meet Paulna’s family and some of the other people we know from that village. Paulna’s family had several turkeys running by their house and I asked Paulna if we could take the largest one home for a thanksgiving dinner. She wouldn’t let us. Instead we went to MegaMart and bought a frozen turkey that was imported from the United States. We had a Haitian thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. It was a Haitian Thanksgiving because the turkey pan that we bought had a hole in it and we ended up chopping up the turkey to make it fit into another pan to finish cooking. The visitors even got the opportunity to experience shooting on the street corner. Saturday at midnight everybody was awakened by 4 gunshots near the front of the house. There was a motorcycle too. We listened for awhile and everything was quiet. It’s a good thing that the UN Security Council voted to extend the peacekeeping mission in Haiti for another year. The UN authorized that the number of soldiers be reduced by 120 to 6,940 and the number of UN police be increased by 120 to 2,211.
We visited the abandoned children’s ward at General Hospital. My mother wanted to see where her adopted grandchild John came from. I have never seen that room so packed with children. There were 34 children inside the room and they were crammed inside the beds. Some had 3 and 4 children to one small bed. One crib had 4 small children packed in like sardines. They couldn’t move around if they wanted to. The problem of the abandonment of children is a growing one in Haiti and the government can’t keep up. There are not very many orphanages willing to accept handicapped children. We left the room and my mother wanted to take every child out. Pray for the work of missions with handicapped children and that more missionaries would help them out. The government does not have the facilities or resources to help out the children that are abandoned.
For the last 3 days of my family’s visit and until today I was also chauffeur to a medical team of family medicine doctors from Maine and Kez who were doing medical clinics with Angel Missions. They held a couple of clinics at Dr. Joey’s clinic in the Delmas 31/33 area, Cite Soleil, Wings of Hope orphanage in Fermathe and the ravine on Delmas 31 by Sherri’s mission. They helped lots of people in their time here. We also visited General Hospital with them on Sunday afternoon. Some of the children had been removed from the abandoned ward and we didn’t see 4 children to a bed like it was a few days before. There were still children sharing a small bed though. One boy was on an iv and he was not in good shape. A young handicapped girl who couldn’t move had her head lying next to his backside and diarrhea from the boy was starting to go near her head. I changed her position. We visited the rest of the pediatrics ward and met some of the Haitian medical interns. They were busy dealing with all the cases. One of the babies who had died earlier was in a crib in the hallway covered in a sheet. Another area of pediatrics is what looks like a neo-natal area but it is not functioning well. At least a dozen incubators are tossed unused in a corner of a room. We saw a woman holding a premature infant born at 7 months sitting on a bench. The baby was tiny and couldn’t have weighed more than a couple of pounds. This baby could have used one of those incubators. We also visited the maternity building and then walked over to the surgery building. In General Hospital there are only a few functioning operating rooms and all departments in the hospital need to use these rooms. As a result people can wait in their hospital beds sometimes for one month waiting for a surgery slot. One man we saw was curled up in pain with a hernia that needed surgery. He told us that he was supposed to have had surgery the prior day. Hopefully he doesn’t die from a strangulated hernia before he gets his surgery. We were walking down the hallway and a woman came up to me holding a photo of her son who looked to be in his late teens/early twenties. She told me that someone had poured gasoline on her son and then lit him on fire. Both his legs were completely covered in burns. I went to the room with the mother and there was a set of double doors. The room was air-conditioned. This room was the burn room. It was good to see that the hospital is trying to make the room as sterile as possible. I am going to visit him later in the week. If this young man survives he will probably be needing plastic surgery in the future on his burn scars. Future plastic surgery teams may be able to help him. Pray for this young man as he fights to live and for his mother as she tries to find help for him. We went up to the pediatric surgery room and the families there showed us 2 children who had been abandoned by their parents. The other parents in the room were helping to look after them. One baby was abandoned because it was born with a cleft lip. The other had already had surgery for a colostomy. Pray that an orphanage can be found to help these 2 babies. Pray for Haitian society to change their thoughts that a handicapped child is a curse.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

photos - michelore/bonnette

A couple of weeks ago we made a visit out to Bonnette to see how Michelore was doing. He is enjoying living with his family again. Micheline (his mother) is on the left, Michelore in the middle and Luckenson on the right. You can see that Luckenson has problems too.

Michelore enjoys being with his brother.

Keziah Furth, an american missionary nurse saw the children in the village and offered to come out on a regular basis to provide medical care. It is children like this girl with the orange colored hair who will benefit the most. It is impossible to help the whole village so we will be focusing on children under 6 who are in the most fragile state.

Walking through Bonnette where the people live is like walking through a desert, scrub brush, cactus and lots of dirt.

The children are happy despite their poverty.

Monday, October 12, 2009

photos - various

This 13-year-old mentally handicapped child is from the village of Merger. When her mother brought her child for the first time she only weighed 20 pounds. The mother has been coming here every week for some Feed My Starving Children rice meal packages. In one month's time she has gained 5 pounds and she now weighs 25 pounds. She still has a lot of catching up to do but hopefully this forward progression in weight will continue. We give the Lord thanks that we have food to share with those in need.

One day Benson came home from school to change out of his school uniform. He put this outfit on. I told him that it was too early to go to bed. Notice the long sleeves. It definitely was not a cool day here in Haiti. He liked the colors!

This is "Gus" my pet gecko. In the early evenings he usually climbs up the wall hunting for mosquitoes. There is a nice view of the Rideau Canal in winter in the background.

I call the Coram Deo home a flophouse because we live quite humbly here. The cushions were ripped a long time ago and we make do with what we have. I told my parents that if they want to sit down on something other than a bench that they would need to make new cushions.

The furniture is very solid!

photos - UN plane crash

The following photos were taken from the internet. A CASA C212 plane which is flown by the Uruguayan military as part of the UN mission here in Haiti crashed into a mountainside last Friday. All the 11 soldiers on board died in the crash
(5 Jordanians, 6 Uruguayans)

On Friday afternoon the UN vehicles passed us in Croix de Bouquets as we were driving out to the village of Bonnette. The ambulances had a long wait. The area of the crash was a difficult area to access. There were no roads and rescue teams went to the site on foot to see if there were any survivors.

The people on board the plane had no chance.

The plane hit the side of a mountain in an area called Pays Pourri (translated in english as Rotten Country)

All 11 bodies were recovered and transported to Port-au-Prince on Saturday morning. Pray for all the families who lost loved ones.


Don Moen recorded a song entitled "Give Thanks". In Canada it is the Thanksgiving Holiday. We give the Lord thanks for giving to us His son. To watch the video follow the link to:

haiti update - october 11, 2009

“Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.” Psalm 118:19

Hi! This week I was able to see some of the people here at Coram Deo catch the “community spirit”! It looks like the visit to the paralympics the other weekend touched the hearts of the older guys who are part of the Coram Deo family. On Thursday they came up to me to talk about something. Amos (who helped as an escort for the blind at the paralympics), Fedner and Macdonald (handicapped young adult) presented an idea about starting an adult literacy program here at Coram Deo. They want to offer this program in the late afternoons. There is a high illiteracy rate here in Haiti and not being able to read is a handicap for an adult. They already have an application form in hand and are making plans to start the program. I think it is great that these young adults want to do something to help their community. This idea came from their own hearts. Part of the vision that I have for Coram Deo is to be out in the community. It is not about “me” helping the community but getting the Haitian people who are part of Coram Deo to help the community. It is great to see after the problems that Coram Deo has gone through to see this vision blossoming. Pastor Pierre has always been active in his community and he is now getting the people who live in the mountainous area that I call the “far away church” to mobilize and improve access to their area. The people have formed a “kombit” (Creole word that means “people working together”). Last Wednesday 300 people came together with hoes, picks and shovels to build a better route. They did this on their own because they want their area to have better access. The lack of a road and good trails cause this community to be isolated. Some of their children are suffering from malnutrition. It is their goal to eliminate this isolation. This week they hope to have 400 people helping. Pray for these people as they strive to improve their lives and for the next “kombit” that will be held this Wednesday. Pastor Pierre tried to suggest making smaller groups but they told him that they wanted to do this together as one large entity.
Keziah Furth is an American nurse who went on a visit with us a couple of weeks ago to Bonnette. She saw the living conditions there and offered to go out there on a regular basis to help monitor and treat the children with their medical needs. This was an answer to prayer. She has the community spirit too! Pray that the Lord sends more people into our path to help and work together in the Haitian community. Another American missionary contacted my father about using the “Moringa” tree to help improve nutrition of the people in Bonnette. The leaves, pods and flowers of this tree are edible and are very nutritious. Each ounce of Moringa contains 7 times the Vitamin C found in oranges, 4 times the Vitamin A of carrots, 3 times the iron found in spinach, 4 times as much calcium as a glass of milk and 3 times the potassium contained in a banana. In the United States this tree is known as the Horseradish Tree. Pray we can get the people in this village to grow and eat from this tree and teach them about the health benefits. Malnutrition can be reversed. Pastor Pierre is willing to talk to the people in his area.
The mother of Jonel Colo has really been struggling to care for him. He is the 2-year-old hydrocephalus child with the pressure sores on his head. His head is basically rotting. She was happy when we told her last week that we would visit her at her home to regularly change his dressings on the pressure sores. She lives in the area behind the American Embassy on Tabarre. When we visited there the first time she met us at the corner with a couple of her friends. She is poor but does what she can to look after her family. We were able to meet some of her other children. She has 7 children and lives in an unfinished cement block house. Jonel’s head stank and was oozing green pus. Some of the blackened tissue came off. We change the dressing every couple of days. The challenge right now is to prevent the sores from getting worse. Please pray that these sores can heal. The third time we changed the dressing the smell wasn’t so bad so maybe all the antibiotic cream is helping!
We went out to the village of Bonnette on Friday afternoon with Deedee and the children to make a visit to the families of Samson and Rachel. These children are thriving in Deedee’s care. Rachel weighed just under 5 pounds (at 3 weeks of age) when she first started looking after her and she now has doubled her weight in a couple of months. Rachel’s mother and the neighbors were happy to see how well she is doing. Rachel’s mother has been having trouble with pain in her legs and arm. She remained sitting on the floor of her hut when we were there. Pray that the pain goes away. She is paralyzed on one side from the stroke that she had a couple of years ago but is a very determined woman. Samson’s mother wasn’t in the village while we were there but other family members and friends were at the spring washing clothes. They rejoiced when they saw Samson! Part of the reason they rejoiced was that one of the women had a “revelation” (Creole word for dream) the night before that the “blanc” would be bringing Samson to the village that day. She was surprised that her dream came true! The day that Samson first left the village he was not in good shape. His body was swollen from what I thought was malnutrition. After a week at Deedee’s the swelling was gone and he was well hydrated and starting to drink small amounts at a time. If he wouldn’t have left the village that day a few weeks ago he would not have survived the week. His kidneys were failing. Last week when Samson saw the people at the spring he just stared at them and looked like he was not that happy to see them. All the people who saw him though were rejoicing with smiles on their faces. Pray for Deedee’s efforts in looking after these children. Their families are grateful.
On the way to Bonnette on Friday UN vehicles and ambulances with sirens going came up behind us in the Croix des Bouquets area. We pulled to the side of the road and they went on ahead. On our return trip to Port-au-Prince there was another UN ambulance heading out from the Croix des Bouquets area that passed us in the opposite direction. The UN uses their sirens only in emergency situations and seeing a few ambulances meant that something bad happened involving the UN. When we got home I turned on the computer to see if there was anything on the internet and the news was that a UN plane had crashed. 11 UN soldiers (5 from Jordan and 6 from Uruguay) were on board the plane when it crashed into the side of a mountain in the Ganthier area. The village, which is nearby the crash site, is called “Pays Pourri” (English translation – rotten country). The rescue teams had difficulty accessing the area and the bodies were removed on Saturday. Uruguay is involved in border surveillance. Their boats help patrol the coast of Haiti and the airplane that was involved in the crash was a Uruguayan plane that was used for surveillance of the Dominican/Haitian border area. Pray for the families who are affected and for the UN personnel who are here helping to stabilize and develop Haiti.
This past week another of the ex-presidents of the United States made a visit to Haiti. Jimmy Carter through the Carter Center is focusing on eliminating malaria in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Currently 5% of the Haitian population has malaria. His plan is a 10-year plan at a cost of 200 milllion US$. He is currently launching a $200,000US$ pilot program here in Haiti. The poor political situation of especially the last 25 years has contributed to the malaria problems in Haiti. President Preval said that between 1957 and 1985 Haiti was almost declared free of malaria, but with the political disturbances the situation deteriorated. On the island of Hispaniola, 90% of the cases of malaria are in Haiti. According to the Carter Center, Hispaniola is the last major stronghold in the Western Hemisphere that harbors malaria. Pray for Jimmy Carter’s efforts at eliminating malaria here in Haiti.
My parents and a couple of their friends will be arriving in Haiti on Tuesday. We are trying to spruce up the Coram Deo flophouse to meet Canadian standards. We went hunting through the house with the dog and killed a few mice and found no evidence of any lurking rats (my mother is scared of them). They also don’t have to worry about the roosters crowing too much in the yard. We ate one of them a few weeks ago for an early Thanksgiving dinner. To all the Canadians have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Thursday, October 8, 2009

photos - paralympics - part 1

The Digicel sponsored soccer team is posing in front of the Paralympique sign. Kenson is the third guy from the right. One of his arms is deformed. He lives in Cite Soleil. It was good to see him participating in the paralympic games. He scored a goal in overtime penalty kicks.

Here the athletes are heading towards the opening ceremonies.

The organizers invited me to join them. I was proud of those who participated. These athletes are all very determined people who don't let their handicaps stop them from participating in Haitian society.

This handicapped lady waited patiently on her knees for the opening ceremonies to begin.

Different types of handicaps were represented at these games.