Wednesday, March 31, 2010

haiti update - march 31, 2010

“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.”
Psalm 25:4,5

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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

photos - bonnette - part 1

We went to visit Paulna and her family in Bonnette on Sunday afternoon.

Paulna's mother was ironing with her charcoal iron.

We also brought some food for Michelore's mother and grandmother.

Dan met Miguelson, the boy with the orthopedic deformity. Pray we can find an orthopedic surgeon that can help him.

Guerdeline is a child that was brought to Dorothy's Faith, Hope, Love Infant Rescue last August. She is doing great! On Sunday we saw her mother holding her new baby that was born in January.

photos - bonnette - part 2

Kim handed out some of the child packs to children in the village as well as baby supplies.

The children enjoyed meeting the visitors!

The candy was a big hit!

Jeff got swarmed. It was fun to watch! You can notice that nobody came to his assistance. We all took pictures.

This mother was plastering the walls of her hut. Her child was eating the mud.

photos - bonnette - part 3

There is a lot of sugar cane grown in this village. It makes a ready snack for children.

Dan made a lot of friends with the children of the village.

He scared this young child though. When we were driving out of the village he saw this young boy with his older sister. We stopped the truck and he went running to give him a candy. The child cried and his sister picked him up. She ended up with the candy.

Sunday afternoon was Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. We saw this symbol of Palm Sunday in the village.

We saw another symbol as well that had nothing to do with christianity, but was a voodoo symbol. By the hougan's house we saw this voodoo cross with different charms. The front thing looks like it is prepared to light a fire. I don't know why there is a rock on top of both objects.

photos - santo camp - part 4

The children of the village accompanied the visitors to our vehicle.

We passed the first official displacement camp organized by the haitian/international/ONG's which is located on Santo 17. OIM (an NGO) and the Dominican Republic flag are shown.

The camp is very organized and tidy. There are around 200 families living in this camp which before the earthquake was a soccer field and amusement park.

The people kept their tents clean. This family had potted plants in front of their tent.

There are a lot of children in the refuge camps.

photos - santo camp - part 5

These "port-a-potties" are missing their "potty"! The owner of the amusement park is not happy with them. They are of the "bend and squat" type. Half of the toilets are like this and the other half have a "potty".

The camp have a couple of water bladder sites for the residents to use.

At the back of the grounds is amusement park equipment. The owner doesn't run the equipment but the children enjoy sitting in the swings.

This is a close-up shot of the children.

The second piece of amusement park equipment is some form of roller coaster.

photos - santo camp - part 6

This group of children enjoyed playing on the amusement park equipment.

The owner of the amusement park is from New York. His son was born on the 4th of July. A very patriotic day! His son told him to fly the American flag in Haiti. He continues to do so even though some people have asked him to take it down as a promise to his son.

On the Piste Road there is a lot of activity. This tent camp is being neatly arranged. The rubble that has been crushed and tamped down by the large roller machine makes a non-muddy environment when the rains fall.

This water vat bears the flag of Israel, United States and France. It looks like these countries are contributing to the development of the Piste shelter site.

This organized camp grows every day.

Monday, March 29, 2010


(Washington Post) By William Booth

As Haitians deal with the psychological aftershocks of the devastating earthquake, city dwellers here -- prominent and poor alike -- confess they continue to harbor deep anxieties about entering buildings constructed of concrete.

Their fears, as it turns out, are entirely rational.

International engineers inspecting buildings in the rubble-strewn capital have found that houses and offices in Haiti suffered catastrophic damage mainly because they were poorly constructed -- made with a weak cement and lacking proper steel reinforcements, in a country where the government never enforced building codes.

Haitian President René Préval has said he is scared to sleep inside. The National Palace collapsed in spectacular fashion, and his own private home lies in ruins. Préval is staying with friends until he can move to an earthquake-resistant structure."Like you, I am nervous," he told reporters.

Later he explained, "Port-au-Prince was not well built."

Many people continue to sleep outdoors, fearful even of homes with only cracked walls. Their anxiety poses a challenge for aid workers and government officials who want Haitians to return to structurally sound, though damaged, homes.

Haitians are especially wary of entering large concrete structures. Since the Jan. 12 quake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people, many parents have balked at sending their children back to schools built of concrete. Some patients ask to see doctors in hospital courtyards because they don't trust the buildings.

Eduardo Marques Almeida, head of the Haitian office of the Inter-American Development Bank, remembers being in the bank's hilltop headquarters when the earthquake struck. The damaged building is now abandoned. He conducts his meetings under a mango tree because many of his staff members refuse to enter the bank's other, still sound offices, for fear they could collapse in an aftershock."We're going to tear them all down and rebuild, or else nobody will work inside," Almeida said.

In a confidential memo circulated among its employees in Haiti, the United Nations mission recommended that they stay out of concrete structures and offered suggestions on how to politely decline to attend meetings in buildings they deemed dubious.

For only the second time since the earthquake, Hiclair Siclait, 70, opened the door to his concrete home recently and entered hesitantly. "When the earthquake happened, I saw the roof going up and down." He rocked back and forth to simulate the motion.

Ever since, Siclait has lived in the streets under a tarp with his wife, four sons and two daughters. "I am afraid to sleep inside. If I find a tent, I will sleep on the roof," he said. "I think after a few months I might come back. With time, I might be less afraid. You never know."

There is a saying among engineers that earthquakes do not kill people -- buildings kill people, said Dennis Smith, a structural engineer with the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command. "And the buildings here were badly constructed. They failed for a reason."

Escorted by a platoon of U.S. Army airborne, Smith and a team of Haitian engineers went house by house in Port-au-Prince's Turgeau neighborhood, an eclectic mix of old French Caribbean wooden dwellings and newer concrete-block construction. The concrete buildings fared worse.

Haitian and U.S. engineers inspecting the 225,000 dwellings and 20,000 offices that the Haitian government estimates were damaged or destroyed say that much of the catastrophic damage could have been averted if concrete masonry had been reinforced-- one of the most basic rules of engineering.

"Simple things caused collapse," said Soon-Min Kwon, a project manager with the earthquake engineering firm Miyamoto, which is based in California. Kwon said columns, for example, were not properly wrapped with steel rods, or the rods were too thin, or the columns were not properly connected to the floors they were supposed to support.

"If there is a building code, we haven't been able to find it," said Vince Sobash, an engineer who works for the U.S. Navy, who was training a group of Haitian engineers how to rate houses for earthquake damage. 'We need rules'

In Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, most homeowners cobbled their houses together themselves block by block or paid a small-time contractor, who might have relied on tradition more than engineering.

For example, thinking they were making houses stronger, many homeowners made their concrete floors thicker, and thereby heavier, and did not properly use reinforcing steel bars, known as rebar. As they made more money, owners often added floors, and many of those two- and three-story buildings pancaked.

"I also think that a lot of the landlords were cheap with cement and did not build the houses strong because it costs them a little more money," said Oreste Joseph, a Haitian who once taught math and civics in Boston and was running a computer literacy school in his house. He pointed across the street to a collapsed four-story house that had been a warren of rented rooms. Joseph said 50 people had died inside. "We need rules and people need to follow them," he said."

There was no government oversight of construction, of the materials or the engineering," said Philippe Jourdain, a local architect. "Yes, you had to get a permit. Yes, somebody from the government came by your house. But not to inspect. To get paid something. It was a greedy adventure."

In planning meetings here, engineers envision a two-tiered system: one with strict international standards, with seismic protections for larger structures, and a simple but enforceable code for houses -- a five-page illustrated booklet that at least shows the proper way to use reinforcing steel bars to support columns and floors.

Many builders here skimped on cement in the concrete mix and block fabrication, producing concrete that crumbled and exposed steel rebar to the elements. The cement itself was also especially poor.

Haiti's government has now banned the commonly used sand quarried from the hillsides and recommended that builders use riverbed sand, though it is impossible to know whether this will be enforced."Poor people deserve decent engineering, too," said Leslie Voltaire, an architect and planner here.


(Wall Street Journal) By MIRIAM JORDAN

PORT-AU-PRINCE—A three-month-old baby suffering from shortness of breath recently was checked into a small hospital in the Haitian capital. A radiologist at work in his New York office diagnosed that the child's lungs were collapsing.

"I communicated to the hospital urgently," says Allen Rothpearl, the Long Island radiologist. The condition, pneumothorax, might have been caused by an injury to the baby's chest during the Jan. 12 earthquake.

As Haiti moves from an emergency to a recovery phase in the aftermath of the quake, fewer foreign health professionals are arriving from Europe and the U.S. to cope with the thousands afflicted with quake-related injuries or subject to pneumonia, tuberculosis and other diseases spreading through makeshift encampments. At St. Damien's, a nonprofit pediatric medical center, soon, "we will be left with just a few Haitian doctors who don't have the same expertise," says Patrick Reache, assistant national director for special projects at the hospital.

That's where Dr. Rothpearl, an expert in "teleradiology", comes in.

Horrified by images of earthquake victims, "I went home and told my wife I had to find a way to use my expertise to help," recalls the physician. "But I couldn't leave my practice to go to Haiti."

Weeks later, he read in a radiology newsletter that the x-ray suite at St. Damien's had suffered no damage from the quake. To save money during construction years earlier, builders had erected six-inch thick concrete walls around the room to avoid radiation seepage — instead of using pricier lead sheets.

Barbara Gearhard, an x-ray technician in Boise, Idaho, who was cited in the article because she had designed the radiology room, broke out in tears when Dr. Rothpearl called to volunteer his services. "It's an incredible thing to give the highest standard of x-ray reading to the poorest people in the world."

Since Feb 5, Dr. Rothpearl has led a team of physicians sitting in New York, California and Texas who are reading 20 to 40 digital x-rays a day for the hospital at no charge.

Every digital x-ray taken at St. Damien's is automatically transmitted to Dr. Rothpearl and his team, who respond within an hour. The software takes images produced by the x-ray unit, then digitizes, stores and transmits them. If an abnormality is detected, they alert Mr. Reache, who oversees St. Damien's x-ray operations, to draw the report to the attention of a physician.

Through their remote readings of x-rays, the radiologists have tracked the evolution of Haitians' health crisis since the quake: The first few weeks, they saw mainly fractured and crushed limbs, such as an 18-year-old with six separate fractures in her femur.

Lately, the physicians have been observing the consequences of unsanitary, crowded living conditions in the camps, where hundreds of thousands of people now live.

Earlier this month, Dr. Rothpearl donated new equipment to the hospital, which upgraded the server for digital radiology, boosting its transmission speed and multiplying its storage capacity.

"This is top-of-the-line technology," says Mr. Reache', as he installed it in the green radiology suite. "Real sweet - just like the one Dr. Rothpearl has in his office."


The Dominican Republic Symponic Orchestra play some music set to video of Haiti before and after the earthquake. It sure does show it all. But it also shows the haitian people coming back from the effects of the earthquake. To watch the video follow the link to:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

photos - various - part 1

The rebuilding of the dormitory is progressing well.

The guys had helping hands to mix the mortar.

Different groups of children helped out.

It's great that we have a large labor pool to choose from here at Coram Deo!

We have no age requirements!

photos - various - part 2

The children discovered that the sand pile is a good place to rough house and play!

Then they discovered that jumping off the cement block pile into the sand is fun too!

They got more bold and daring. You can see they are quite confident!

It looked so fun that I joined in too!

William is a mentally handicapped boy from the neighborhood who hangs out in our yard sometimes. He has a Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey! I don't think he knows what hockey is.

photos - various - part 3

A couple of members of the Canadian military came over Saturday morning to bring some things that they didn't need. The guys went out to help unload the box.

It looked like they were bringing in the Ark of the Covenant!

The Canadian military is leaving Haiti. We give the Lord thanks for their assistance in the earthquake relief here in Haiti.

They even left behind this light. We are going to connect it up in the kitchen to improve our lighting.

"Little Bill" and his grandmother came by this week for some formula. He is doing well.

photos - various - part 4

Kim put some children's packs together and also got some sandals as well. We distributed some of them in Jonel's area. At first things went well and then we were swamped. Fathers of children would force their way to the front to get something for their child. We packed up and left before things got too hectic and pushy.

This girl was happy to get her package and a pair of sandals.

This week we were blessed with a food donation from Love a Child of Feed My Starving Children rice meals. With this assistance we are able to reach out to the community and provide some food assistance to them.

Rudy's mother came up to me this week to give me a gift of a rooster as a thank you for helping her son. I couldn't refuse it and I told her thanks! She told me to keep it safe in my room and I told her that that wouldn't be a good place for it. I gave the responsibility of the rooster care to Johnny. He complained to me telling me that it wasn't fair because we just recently ate the children's pet chicken and I made him get read of the younger ones. I told him to fatten the rooster quickly so we could eat it.

We saw this banner "Ann Leve Kanpe" (Arise, Stand Up) on this wall in Petionville.