Monday, September 26, 2011

haiti update - september 26, 2011

“See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land..........

......No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the Lord; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water. The scoundrel’s methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. But the noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands. Isaiah 32:1,2,5-8

Hi! For almost a year now Haiti has been in the process of establishing a new government. People are praying for a government that will lead in righteousness and with justice. The election of a new president was a long and difficult one. The majority of the Haitian people ignored the elections (almost ¾ of the people didn’t vote). For those who did, they saw an electoral machine tainted by fraud and corruption. We saw the frustrations of the Haitian people when it was announced that Michel Martelly would not pass the first round. We treated people who were injured after the results were released. The street corner where we live is always busy with people. A man who joked and bragged to his friends that he voted for Celestin was attacked and beaten by his friends who had voted for Martelly. Another man was injured after being hit by a rock. The entire city was shut down as people took to the streets in frustration. Tires were burnt, and Celestin election posters were ripped and burned along with the Celestin headquarters. We were on the streets to be a witness to what was transpiring. The first day of protests were the worst. People in Haiti are looking for change. They want a leader like in Isaiah 32:1,2 and they voiced and acted out on their frustrations by experiencing what the poor in Isaiah 32 5-8 experienced. The Haitian people want a noble man to lead the nation and those who voted decided for change. They voted against the status quo. They voted for a man who was a musician, whose stage name was “Sweet Mickey”. While Celestin posters were ripped and burned, Martelly posters were removed with care and taken home as souvenirs. We walked with a group of thousands who were heading downtown to protest by the ruins of the National Palace. The walk was sort of festive in the beginning. Some of the people had rocks and sticks that they used to hit at Celestin posters. Heading down Delmas 18 it was like a parade. At one section of the road we stopped and waited while another grouping of hundreds of people headed down a different section. We were near the ruins of the Cathedrale when there was gun fire. A gang was firing on the crowd. There was a home nearby with an open door and we dove inside for cover. The man who owned this house was friendly and we waited there for a few minutes until the shooting had stopped. This man then told us to wait while he went up the street to make sure the gunmen were not in sight. After he came back and it was clear we went forward. Gunfire happened again at the Cathedrale. The gunmen didn’t advance and stood in the distance shooting. These gunmen were Celestin supporters. Once we arrived on the Champ de Mars everything was calm. It was sort of funny how calm it was. Riot police were leaning calmly against the gates by the palace and smoldering tires were on the streets. Everyone was thirsty from the walk and there were vendors selling freshly squeezed orange juice and shaved ice frescoes. There were posters on the palace grounds of all the candidates. Michel Martelly’s poster was in between 2 other posters. One man said to me : “Look a man hanging between 2 thieves”. The people were looking at Michel Martelly as a messiah to lead them out of their troubles. They voted for change. Politicians never led them anywhere and they voted for a musician. The protests reached the ears of both the national and international community. The votes were re-examined and changed with Michel Martelly advancing to the 2nd round and then on to becoming president of Haiti. The Haitian people were determined that their voices would be heard. Now the country is waiting for a prime minister to be approved by the senate so that the country can move forward in its rebuilding efforts. Pray for this last hurdle to be overcome so that the country can move forward with a fully functional government in place.

There are still around 600,000 people living in refuge camps around the city. There is a lot of pressure on some of these tent refugees to leave but they have nowhere to go. We have helped a couple of employees leave their refuge sites. Joanna, who is a teacher’s assistant and is the cook for the hydrocephalus surgeries needed to leave her site. She doesn’t own property. We helped her by paying rent for 1 year. In return she donated her time to the hydrocephalus program. Yonel, our gatekeeper and his wife had a young baby and they were living in a shelter of wood scrap, tin and tarp. Their small home was destroyed during the earthquake. After a team from Angels to Haiti visited they sponsored the reconstruction of his home. It is good to see people leave the camps. Many missions are helping but the main problem everyone is faced with is a place to build. Pray that the new government can make the plans and choose building sites for all the refugees.

The new government brings along with it encouragement for the hydrocephalus program. A few months ago Wyclef Jean and his Yele charity donated a cat scan machine to Project Medishare at Hopital Bernard Mevs. With this donation the hydrocephalus children can benefit from receiving a cat scan at no cost. We were there when President Martelly and Wyclef Jean inaugurated the cat scan machine. Jansika and her mother were chosen along with 4 other hydrocephalus children and their mothers to meet the president. During his speech President Martelly talked about hydrocephalus. He is the first leader to take an interest in the lives of hydrocephalus children. Pray that the Haitian society changes to accept hydrocephalus children. The society in general considers these children as a curse and parents of children are given advice to “throw their child away” or abandon it. Sadly during the last round of hydrocephalus surgeries 2 babies were abandoned by their families at Bernard Mevs Hospital.

This year we have held summer school for the students in our program here at Coram Deo. The teachers requested this. It is good to see their desire to teach. Several of our students have learning problems and the long summer break means that they forget what they have learned. By continuing to work with them the children continue to advance. The government has set October 3rd as the official first day of classes. This week is going to be a busy week as we make preparations for the new school year. Jn. Eddy Alexandre will be starting his 2nd year of university and we will have 6 students sponsored in the rheto and philo classes, which are the graduating secondary school classes. It is an accomplishment here in Haiti for a student to finish secondary school. Only 1% accomplish this feat.

The teachers and young adults here at Coram Deo were given the opportunity to participate in a seminar sponsored by the Playmakers/Life Is Good program. The seminar leaders are Haitian and their goal is to teach those working with children the importance of play in the lives of children. There were a number of activities that were shown to the seminar attendees as well as a powerpoint lecture. At the end of the day each participant received a diploma. The Playmakers/Life is Good trainers will follow up at the schools with the teachers to see how they are applying what they have learned. Pray for the work that Playmakers/Life is Good is doing here in Haiti. It is good to see Haitians teaching Haitians.

We have a few extra people residing here at Coram Deo. Currently there are 5 hydrocephalus mothers and their children who are staying while their children are recovering from surgery or awaiting the next round of surgeries, which will be held at the end of October. These mothers are all from outlying areas and it is difficult and costly for them to travel back and forth. Pray for these children and their parents. One of Manu’s chores is to make sure that all the plates of food are on the table for meal time. The other day he came and said that we have 26 plates of food for supper. We give the Lord thanks for a large yard. We live simply here but everyone has a place to lay their mattress!

Kimosabee has not been performing well lately. He has a problem with the radiator and overheats quickly. Pray we can get the truck fixed into a good working condition so that we can continue with our work helping people with medical care. We rely on Kimosabee a lot and right now are limiting our trip distances to protect him from overheating.

As we start a new school year we ask you to pray for Coram Deo and also pray that financial support is raised to support our work here at Coram Deo. I read the poem that appears below and it represents what the Haitian people are going through. Please pray for Haiti and for its people.

“Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm;
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm,
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fullness of enabling love.
O Love of God, do this for me;
Maintain a constant victory.

Before I leave the desert land
For meadows of immortal flowers,
Lead me where streams at Thy command
Flow by the borders of the hours,
That when the thirsty come, I may
Show them the fountains in the way.
O Love of God, do this for me;
Maintain a constant victory.


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

1 comment:

Len said...

Hey Karen, Nice to read the update. Keep up the Lords work. We continue with you in our prayers for a blessing over Coram Deo and all the children involved. The Lord is Good and always provides.
Can't wait to see you all this weekend!!!