“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.” Psalm 34:19
Hi! It’s been very busy here, but there have been visitors helping out. This past week Dr. Karen McCarthy and her team held 5 medical clinics. They saw and treated around 1,200 people. 3 of the clinics were held here at Coram Deo. One of the highlights of the clinics here at Coram Deo was when the team found an egg laid by the children’s pet chicken in the pharmacy supplies! The chicken’s days are numbered. They also held a clinic in Cite Soleil and near Pastor Senor’s church in the Petionville district. The last clinic day here at Coram Deo was on Thursday and that morning there was a line-up at the gate. Around 500 people showed up at the gate throughout the morning seeking medical care but around 250 people could be helped. There are a lot of respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and fevers going around. A few of the babies who came showed signs of malnutrition. A mother came with her twin girls. They are 3 months old. They were born premature at 8 months and now weigh around 6 ½ pounds. The mother is having trouble caring for them and was seeking assistance. We contacted Dorothy at Faith, Hope, Love Infant Rescue and she admitted them to her house and will care for them for awhile. The mother will continue to visit them at her house. The baby’s names are Naphtalie and Naphtalia. This is the second set of twins for this mother. She already has twin boys who are older and are named Poutchino and Poutchini. They used to be sponsor students here at Coram Deo a few years ago. Pray for Dorothy and her staff that are looking after the twins. Another mother was brought by someone to the clinic by a cousin who lives in the Cite Aux Cayes neighborhood. She too had given birth premature at 7 months. The baby now is 5 months old and only weighs 6 pounds. We contacted Dorothy and she took in this child and mother as well! Pray that other missions are established to help families in the same way that Dorothy does. Families are struggling still after the earthquake and some need a helping hand.
Not all mothers want a helping hand with their child. Some come to the gate looking to give them away. A mother from Cite Soleil who had a baby a few months ago was looking to give the child up for adoption. The father left the family and she was struggling now to provide for 8 children. We contacted an orphanage and will be going to Bien Etre Social (Haitian Social Services) with the mother and baby next week. Because of the concerns of child trafficking here in Haiti, it is important that Social Services have a file and are involved in the placing of children given up by their parents. In this way the Haitian government takes responsibility for the child and assigns it to a recognized crèche.
Two weeks ago the focus of the workweek here at Coram Deo was on post-earthquake repairs to the property. We had a lot of helping hands! The Canadian military came over and rebuilt 2 of the outside walls as well as rebuilding and improving the playground and building some tables and benches. Tim Bos of Mission of T.E.A.R.S. came with his wife Kim and Brian Dalrymple, Greg Van Veen, Jackie Bultje and Jantje Scheele. Marie’s hut was taken down due to the earthquake damage. We plan on rebuilding a bigger and better dormitory area here at Coram Deo. A generator house was built on the roof to protect the generator from the elements. We give the Lord thanks for the funds raised for making our repairs and to the Canadian military for their helping hands at providing the labor of putting up the walls. The children made a lot of friends with the soldiers and we are enjoying their gifts of MRE’s! We are having rotating teams coming in to do all the different work of medical, repairs, and distributions. The visitors staying here recently organized a couple of food distributions to a couple of refuge camps in the area. We also handed out some tents. Without their efforts not much could be done. Marlene and an Angels to Haiti team from Canada have come and gone too and were involved in obtaining and organizing supplies. We had fun at going to the airport and getting supplies at what we call “Wal-Mart” and also to another area that we call “Canadian Tire” for tents. We call the World Food Program depots “Food Basics”. It was nice to spend some time with both my sisters Michelle and Tanya and nephew Matthew.
To be a missionary here in Haiti means that you have to “fight”; fight for the principles that you believe in and fight to help those who need help. The last couple of weeks we have had to do quite a bit of “fighting” and it was great that my family was able to be part of it! Children who have lost their parents in the earthquake are starting to come forward looking for help. These “lost children” have been living in refuge camps or on the streets with neighbors and now are searching for homes. A 13-year-old boy got up at 5:00am one morning in order to attend one of the clinic days here with his 2-year-old brother. He and his 16-year-old sister are now “earthquake parents” and they were seeking medical care for their youngest brother. A 14-year-old girl came to the gate and asked if we were the people who helped people. She lost her parents in the earthquake and was looking for a home. A 13-year-old girl came with 2 of her younger siblings to say that their parents were lost in the earthquake. These children are too young to be adults but now have to fight for survival for themselves and their younger siblings.
UNICEF is a large organization and involved in the rights of children. I had read in a news article that they were involved in registering and placing all the “lost children” due to the earthquake. We figured that they should be able to help us out. I went with my sisters to the airport where the UNICEF tent was to tell them about the children who lost their parents. The secretary at the desk was not helpful and told us that Bien Etre Social handles the cases. We mentioned the article that told about UNICEF’s efforts with the displaced children and also that in that same article it was mentioned that adoptions be discouraged and that children should be placed with family and not in orphanages. She then went back and spoke with someone and a worker from USAID came out to talk. She then gave us some contact information and one of the workers said for us to come back the next morning to pick up a UNICEF worker and that they would then register the children. We went outside the gates to find a tow truck prepared to haul away Kimosabee. We ran and jumped inside Kimosabee and demanded them to lower him down. One of the tow truck operators had just opened Kimosabee’s doors with a “slim jim” and he quickly tried to remove it but the bar was stuck. We only had to yell a couple of times to lower the vehicle and they did. It was nice that my sisters could join in on the fight. We almost drove away while the one man was frantically trying to remove the “slim jim” from the window. I wish we had a camera with us. I think that they were trying to steal Kimosabee.
The next morning we went back to the airport and the Haitian security said our name wasn’t on the list and wouldn’t let us in. I ignored him and walked past him and he called to the next security guard to stop the “blanc” but he didn’t move. My sister Michelle and nephew Matthew stood by the security guard and talked with him and explained the situation while he threatened to write a report. At the UNICEF tent I explained the problem and walked back with the worker to leave. I am glad they didn’t arrest me! The UNICEF worker met with and registered the displaced children and the worker said that she would create a report and that they would follow up. We had to drive her back to the UNICEF tent at the airport. We have been waiting for the follow-up for a couple of weeks now and still no sign of UNICEF. I personally think that UNICEF is causing more problems here in Haiti than helping. Orphanages are scared to take in the “lost children” because they fear being accused of child trafficking and stealing children from parents. The children continue to wander the streets. There are many UNICEF vehicles. I don’t understand why we had to go and pick up one of their workers instead of them taking one of their own vehicles and I don’t understand why they don’t come back and help the children in our neighborhood. Pray for the “lost children”, that they can find homes and that UNICEF will follow-up with them.
I enjoy “fighting” here in Haiti to help people!
That is all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo