“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Hi! Port-au-Prince is ready to take a big step forward with the education system. The Minister of Education, Joel Desrosiers has announced that the school system in Port-au-Prince will re-open on April 5th. Schools are busily preparing for the re-opening of the school year. It will be a difficult task. The earthquake has destroyed 57% of public schools and 26% of private schools. 52% of private schools (2,394) are seriously damaged and cannot accommodate students. The government is encouraging that tents and provisional shelters be used and is willing to provide shelters to schools for use to accommodate students. They have requested several thousand. The government has also expressed their intention to take charge of payroll and school fees at the private schools to help to accommodate children there. Pray that schools can reopen. At Pastor Octaves’ school across the street and here at Coram Deo we are planning to reopen on April 5th. An inspector from the Ministry of Education came on a motorcycle and visited Pastor Octave and was positive about supplying shelters. Some of the large private schools that have been destroyed have cleaned out their sites. At the St. Paul school we saw workers preparing to rebuild the school. The government is encouraging schools that have been destroyed to remove the rubble and clear a site so that temporary shelters can be set up. We visited the Chima Christian School that Paulna attends and the director told us that he would reopen the school on April 12th at an alternate location. The Chima School has some minor damage to their building. We also visited the Guilgal Christian School that Fedner, Johnny and Herode attend and that building had some serious damage. There will be a parent/director meeting tomorrow to discuss their re-opening plans.
We lost our 2 oldest guys here at Coram Deo in the earthquake. Samuel Marcelin and Jackenmy Milien went to school on January 12th and never came back to our house. Their bodies were never found. They were the 2 role models that the other guys could follow. Amos is Samuel’s brother and he has taken Samuel’s place as a role model for the younger people here at Coram Deo. He has a large heart to help people. Jackenmy was our handicapped class teacher. When trying to find another teacher to take his place I spoke with Amos about whom we should hire. I told him that we needed to find someone like Samuel and Jackenmy and he presented Herold Mertil. I met with him and I think that he will be a good choice to replace Jackenmy. Pray for Herold as he jumps in in the middle of the school year into a difficult situation to fill the position as the handicapped class teacher. We are also making plans to hire a deaf teacher for some of the students and will start the search process soon for that position. Our funding has improved and we are now able to consider expanding our programs here at Coram Deo. Thank you for your prayers and financial support. We are fortunate to be able to continue on as we always have. We have always had open concept outdoor classes under shelter. In the past I have had some people from Canada tell me that classes outside are not practical and that a building is necessary for properly instructing children in their academic endeavors. I think it is ironic that now the Ministry of Education is pleading with schools to use outside facilities! Now maybe they will believe that it is not the building that makes an education.
Dan Vis headed up a construction team to rebuild the dormitory. They made good progress on the building. A few more days work and the building will be done! Pray another team can be formed to finish up the work. Dan is also a mechanic and he did some service work on the pick-up truck. Kimosabee also has a new set of tires, thanks to Brian Dalrymple and his co-workers and to Jantje Scheele. Kimosabee rides much more smoother now! Dan’s team left on Tuesday. Now we are focusing on fixing all the cracks in our house from the earthquake. This week a Haitian cement boss has been busy chiseling out the cracks and filling them in with cement.
A medical team from the Florida and Georgia areas held a few clinics here at Coram Deo, Cite Soleil and near Pastor Senord’s church in Petionville. This was a first time visit for all the members of this team. We give the Lord thanks for medical personnel who come to Haiti to help the Haitian people.
The first patient the medical team treated happened to be a boy who got in the way of a thrown rock. According to the UN, violence in Haiti is not a problem, but according to the Haitian people there is more violence and crime now since the earthquake. It has been reported that the morgue at General Hospital has received 63 gunshot victims for the month of March alone. During “normal” times the rate is 6. Medecin Sans Frontieres has treated 50 gunshot victims since the earthquake and we have seen gun shot victims come in to General Hospital and at the University of Miami/Project Medishare tent hospital while we were there. I talked with one man who had a metal attachment to his jaw. He couldn’t talk very well and mumbled because of it, but his brother filled in for him when I asked him what happened. He went out with another guy’s girl and ended up being shot in the jaw and upper left arm. He is fortunate to be alive. Fritzner came to the house this week. He is from the Soleil 17 area in Cite Soleil. He was shot in the lower left leg in the Lasaline area on January 14th. In our neighborhood the “brigade civile” has taken care of 4 criminals by killing them and leaving them on the side of the road. Some of the increases at the morgue are due to street justice being carried out by the people. The people know that the prisoners escaped and they don’t have confidence that the Haitian police and justice system will take care of criminals. Downtown crime is also on the increase. People are being robbed shopping at the outdoor markets. Market vendors are being robbed as well. A lot of those crimes happen early in the morning. Trucks carrying food have been stopped and looted in the downtown area. A gas truck in the Cabaret region was held up, the driver shot and then the truck was driven away. The gas truck was later found empty in the Croix des Bouquets region. Pray that the UN/Haitian police can improve the security in place. Pray for the training of the police department by UN police officers.
That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo