Thursday, October 7, 2010

haiti update - october 7, 2010

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Hi! I saw the above Bible verse reference “Eb 4:16” printed on the side of a rickety “fresco” cart while I was stuck in traffic one day. A fresco is shaved ice with some sort of juice poured over top and it is refreshing to drink on a hot day. I saw this verse being put into action during a bad wind/rain storm a couple of weeks ago.

The storm first started with the wind. I told the children to keep away from the trees and electricity lines. Everyone was nervous with the winds. Nobody wanted to be inside the house including me. We stood under the carport to keep an eye on the front trees. The rain was pouring too. We were worried about those in the refuge camps.

As soon as the winds died down we went in the rain to check up on the camps that are near us. The first camp we went to was the Parc Maguana camp located on a soccer field near Delmas 31. Several tents had been ripped apart by the winds. We passed by the tent of a woman we know and she was crying because she was scared. We talked with her and encouraged her telling her that the worst of the storm had passed. Her tent was one that was spared from the winds. One woman was standing by all her possessions. The tarps of her tarp shelter had been lifted off and she was just standing there watching everything get soaked. The soccer field is lower than the level of the road and we were standing in water up to our ankles. Young children were in their tents standing in the water too. There was a nearby church next to the soccer field but people were scared to seek shelter inside. We encouraged people to bring the small children and put them inside the church even if it was near the doorway and also encouraged them to sleep inside the church during the evening. There is a large drainage pipe running onto the soccer field and it was gushing with rainwater contributing to the flooding of the field. This is how people in the camps are passing the hurricane season. After making sure that there were no injuries we went to the refuge camp leading up the hill on Delmas 31.

This camp has trees and a couple of the trees had fallen and smashed tents/shelters. Miraculously nobody was killed. One woman had been hit on the arm by the branch of a falling tree. Her arm was sore and didn’t appear broken and we gave her some ibuprofen for pain. Babies choose to be born sometimes at the most awkward moments and this was the case in this camp. When I asked if there were any other injuries in the camp someone told us about a woman who was bleeding. We went to her shelter and she was in labor. Thankfully her labor was not yet in its’ final stages. We still had some time to spare.

While we were talking with the woman in labor a member of another camp had come to our house requesting help for an injured person. Junior went with me to the refuge camp on the grounds of the Eglise Apostolique. A large section of tin roof from a large house nearby had been lifted off by the strong winds and thrown down directly onto a tent in the camp. The woman inside had been seriously cut by the tin on her back and side. Fortunately a person who lived near the camp rushed her to the Medecin Sans Frontieres Hospital. A young woman who also lived in the crushed tent suffered back injuries as well. We brought her to Medecin Sans Frontieres Hospital.

In Cite Jeremie part of a damaged wall on the second floor of a home collapsed into the corridor below along with the tin roof. One individual was injured and had been already transported to the hospital.

There were no other injuries in our area and we returned back to the camp where the woman in labor was. We brought her to the Chancerelles Maternity Hospital, which is located near Cite Soleil. That place is a beehive! Women in labor were everywhere. We followed the bloody footprint trail of another patient to the delivery room and left her there to see the doctor. We then headed home.

The day after the storm was a day of cleanup around the city. You could hear the sound of machetes. We cleaned up 3 truckloads of tree debris from our yard and then did a community clean up day with everyone here at the house and hauled away another 10 truckloads of debris from our neighbors to the neighborhood dumpster. The dumpster is not big and I just kept telling the guys to put the debris next to the dumpster and with our contributions and the rest of the neighbors contributions the “next to the dumpster” distance was about 50 meters of debris. It was funny to see and I felt sorry for the garbage men who would have to clean it up!

There were fatalities during the storm. 6 people were killed and there were several injuries but we saw a lot of damage that could easily have resulted in more fatalities. People are on their toes since the earthquake and what prevented more fatalities is that people ran from the treed areas when the winds were blowing. At least 10,000 tents in the camps were destroyed or were heavily damaged with rips. Pray for the people who live in the camps during this hurricane season.

The Bible verse I mentioned before was put into action by the people living in the camp that had the trees blown down in, which is located near our house. People in that camp were in fear and praying to God. They were singing and praising Him for sparing the lives of the people in the camp while the rain was still falling. It was an amazing thing to see. They found comfort in the Lord in the middle of the storm.

The lady in labor who we brought to the hospital had a baby boy. He is small, only weighing 5 pounds and his name is Yvon. It was also a good thing that the mother gave birth at the hospital. She lost a lot of blood and most likely would have died in childbirth if she had attempted to have her baby in the camp. There was not only death and injuries during this storm. New life was a product of the storm in the name of Yvon. I wonder how many babies were born in the camps that day.

Our neighbor who lives across the street from us is Pastor Octave. His church was heavily damaged during the earthquake. He improvised and had propped the tin roof of his church on supports. This is how the church worshipped since the earthquake. During the storm a large tree fell onto the church and the tin roof was knocked down. My cousin Jeff and sister Michelle are coming with a team on October 26th. Our objective will be to rebuild the church. The church is excited and has begun preparations for the arrival of the team. Please pray for the preparations that are being made and for traveling mercies and health for the team members.

October 4th officially was the first day of the school year but there was minimal turnout. 80% of the schools in Port-au-Prince were destroyed during the earthquake and on sites that have been cleared shelters have been or are being constructed to accommodate classes. Tuition fees at the private schools have increased. On the first day of school there were protests by a group of angry people in front of the Education Ministry. They were protesting that students were being forced to enter school buildings that were unsafe and unrepaired. The protesters were throwing rocks at vehicles. The UN and Haitian police broke up the protest with tear gas.

In our neighborhood the schools will be reopening on October 11th, including us. We will be adding an additional class to our program this year and hired another teacher. Pray for the preparations that are being made by all the schools in the earthquake areas.

Pray for the work of Adoration Christian School. Several people who live here are related to people who work with Adoration Christian School. Yvens Cherisier is one of the sponsor students at that school. He lives here at Coram Deo. He is proud of the school that he attends and helped volunteer to prepare the location in the Hatt area. Unfortunately problems occurred and now Adoration Christian School has to seek another location for their school. Yvens is not discouraged. He told me that he helped before in preparing the Hatt site and he will eagerly help again at the new location. Because we know so many of the students at Adoration we wrote an email to the leaders of Adoration Christian School here in Haiti and also in Canada and offered to them to “come join us under the tarps” here at Coram Deo and to share our facilities while their new location is prepared. In this way the school year would not be interrupted for their director, teachers and students. Pray for the decisions that they will be making.

Recently some young adults in the community are starting to meet here at Coram Deo to learn English. A dozen young adults have as their goal to be fluent in speaking, reading and writing English. Pray for the students and the leaders of the group.

Amos’s father, Pastor Marcelin is assisting us with our evangelism efforts. Every Friday afternoon he or a leader of his church meets with all the residents here at Coram Deo holding a Bible study. Pray for the leaders who will be leading this program.

In May while Mission of T.E.A.R.S made a visit to Haiti, they also brought along a representative for the Ontario government who was here for a fact-finding mission. We can now reveal that the Ontario government will be building 3 schools here in Haiti as a result of this fact-finding mission. Construction of these schools will begin in 2011. Pray for the rebuilding efforts being made here in Haiti.

That’s all the news for today. Have a good week!
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

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