Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac - Part 1

Here are a few videos that I tried with my new camera.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 1

Tropical Storm Isaac hit Haiti late Friday/early Saturday morning. The wind was bad for a bit through the evening. Here is some of the leaves/branches that came down; not bad at all in our yard.
A neighbour had an electrical prise line broken during the storm. The line is shown hanging down in our yard.
We had trouble sleeping with the noisy wind and the clanging almonds hitting the tin roof of the kitchen shelter. There are lots of almonds scattered on the ground. Pachico is eating one while Manu is brushing his teeth.
This is the view of our street corner and of Delmas 31. People were going about their activities in the rain.
This tin wall was knocked down by the winds on Delmas 31.

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 2

Heading up Delmas 31 there were some large branches on the road.
This is a view of a large branch blocking a side street off Delmas 31.
There was just enough room for us to drive through the gap on the road. This is the back road towards Airport Road leading from the top of Delmas 31.
These men were removing some large branches, hacking away with machetes. They made quick progress.
Swift rains means flooded streets. This is the corner of Airport Rd and Delmas 33 prolonger.

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 3

We drove through this large puddle on the road which covered all the road :)
The Tabarre bridge had lots of water from the River Grise flowing. The river was churning. The power of water is amazing.
The water waters were at maximum but didn't jump the banks in this location.
Large rapids/waves were at this bend in the river; would make some great kayaking!
This is a view downriver from the other side of the bridge.

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 4

It was a light traffic day on Saturday morning.
People stood by watching the powerful waters running down the Riviere Grise.
This is a view of the Riviere Grise at Croix-des-Missions. In the distance is the flooded Croix-des-Missions street market.
This is a view downriver. A lot of water flowing from a few hours of rains.
Due to the height of the river the police had blocked off the bridge. Vehicles were banned from crossing, only pedestrian and motorcycle traffic was allowed.

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 5

The river couldn't get much higher. Only a couple of feet separated the rushing waters from the bridge.
People rushed over the bridge. You could feel the bridge swaying a bit.
Police were standing by monitoring the river and watching traffic.
There was constant movement over the bridge.
We drove on and followed behind this tap-tap carrying a load of animals. These poor goats were tied by the ankles and hung upside down at the back of the tap-tap.

photos - tropical storm isaac - part 6

As the storm approached some precautions were taken. Large billboards were removed.
The UN was keeping an eye on the Palais Nationale and the Champ Mars.
There was hardly anyone downtown. We made quick time traveling around the city.
The broken Palais Nationale will be removed starting in the next week or two. Sean Penn's organization will be doing the demolition work.
We stopped by to visit our gatekeeper Yonel and his family. They weathered the storm well and didn't have flooding in their neighborhood. The canal functioned well draining away the rain waters.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Haiti Update - August 23, 2012

“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Hi! Tropical Storm Isaac is heading through the Caribbean and is expected to hit Haiti tomorrow. It may reach hurricane status before it hits on Friday. The environment ministry has declared a red level watch for the country. There may be heavy rains associated with Isaac and some wind as well.

Last week we purchased a Nu-TV digital television receiver and we can receive channels from Europe, Canada and the United States. It is relaxing in the evenings to watch Canadian news and keep up-to-date on current events. I also bought a small stereo that has a cd player/radio. I have decided that it is good to take some time at the end of the day to not focus on the challenges of Haiti. I am not a person who goes out to places and thought that these luxuries would be a good way to relax. I didn’t use Coram Deo funds to make these purchases or for the exercise equipment purchases. I never thought I’d see the day when I could watch Hockey Night in Canada here in Haiti but this will now be a reality as we can now watch the CBC!

We have been monitoring the progress of the storm on the weather channels from Florida and last night they had an entire program on Isaac and the storm is still far from Florida! One point of advice was to remove the coconuts from the trees as these could be flying projectiles during a storm. I told the children about this and they elected Reginald to climb the coconut palms and remove the coconuts this morning. This is our effort at improving safety in our community in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac. Pray for Haiti, especially for those who live in low-lying areas. Flooding is always a possibility during these storms.

The government is getting serious about the environment and the big garbage problem here in Port-au-Prince. Effective October 1st the government will be prohibiting the importation and marketing of polyethylene bags. The last few years small bags of water have been sold on the streets and the empty bags are dumped everywhere. These bags are not biodegradable and can take 400 years to degrade. It is common for Haitian cooks to use a black garbage bag to cover a large pot of rice. Marie, our cook insists that these black garbage bags help the rice to cook faster. It is great that the government is now educating the people that this cooking practise is wrong and unhealthy. As a foreigner it is difficult to make changes to a culture but a Haitian president sure can create a change fast! The government is also banning Styrofoam packaging as well. In the canals and on the streets of Port-au-Prince, Styrofoam and plastic are everywhere! Pray for these changes. They are good changes for the country and the government is leading to establish these changes.

In March 2013 a green energy project costing $250 million US$ will be started. International Electric Power is an American company that will be building an energy –from-waste plant on land provided by the Haitian government, 10km north of Port-au-Prince. 30 megawatts of electricity will be generated by converting garbage into energy. 2,000 tons of garbage is generated each day in Port-au-Prince. The company is planning to collect all the garbage from the streets of Port-au-Prince and truck it to the plant. Effective March 15, 2015, Port-au-Prince will finally have a way to dispose of garbage in a good way!

Our exercise/living room is being well used! The exercise bicycle, treadmill, gym set, abs roller and weights are getting good use. Last night it was 8:00pm and supper hadn’t been started yet. One of the older guys had to make supper and he enjoyed the exercise room so much that supper was delayed. We now have a new rule for the exercise room.... all chores including supper need to be done before the exercise room is open :)

I came back from Canada with a digital video projector so that we can host a community cinema. Christian and children’s programs will be shown on Fridays once the school year starts. This digital video projector will also be useful for parent meetings and also for the clinics that are held here.

Floridalaine is a young girl who was born with congenital cataracts. She lives with her family in the mountains of Kenscoff. Yesterday we brought her to the eye clinic at General Hospital to see if they will do surgery to remove these cataracts. Pray that a solution can be found to improve her sight and that surgery can be performed.

Johnny Jean was one of 24,000 people to write the exams for entrance into the police academy. The results were posted and he wasn’t selected. He really wants to be a police officer. I am praying that one day he can achieve his dream of being a policeman or in the Haitian military. In the meantime he loves working out in the exercise room in his spare time. This week the guys saw the police at work on our streets. They were sitting out front of the house chatting on the street when a police car drove to the corner, stopped, and a policeman descended from the vehicle. He shot in the air 2 times and then got back inside. That made everyone jump. Manu decided it would be best to go to bed. It is great to have policemen as curfew enforcers :) There have been some problems with street crime in the neighbourhood. Sadly one of the guys we helped after the earthquake is involved. Junior has been stealing cell phones, chargers and other items from people and then tries to re-sell them. Pray for Junior to leave his life of crime. The police were shooting in the air to let thieves know they were in the area.

We have been getting good electricity lately. For most of the day we have electricity and only use the invertor for the evenings. For the last 6 months though the electricity line on our street has been sagging and is now just below the barbed wire on our walls. We have contacted EDH several times requesting them to come out and fix their line. Pray that they will eventually come out and fix it. Yesterday afternoon, around 4:00pm we heard a bang and then there was no more electricity. We figured that a transformer blew but the cause was something worse. In the Cite Aux Cayes area, a man was on the roof attempting to steal electricity. I don’t know if he tried to connect to a high tension wire but the ending was not good for him. He was burnt from head to toe and taken to the hospital. I don’t think he survived his injuries. Regulating electricity is also a big task for the government to get control of. People are constantly stealing electricity from the lines and sometimes dying in the process of their quest for electricity.

That’s all the news for today. We are preparing for a stormy weekend! Have a good storm-free weekend.

Karen Bultje, Coram Deo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The 9th tropical storm of the 2012 Hurricane Season has formed and is named Isaac. There is a possibility that Isaac will turn into a hurricane before it reaches Haiti. Everyone is planning for a rainy weekend. Pray for those living in the refuge camps and in dangerous areas. In Haiti the biggest problem is flooding due to the large amount of rainfall that may occur.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

photos - golf tournament - part 4

You can see by the photo how much time went into planning for the golf tournament and for organizing sponsors. The committee had a lot of planning sessions the last few months to prepare for this moment
It is good to see both old and young participating.
The funding from this tournament helps us out a lot!
Thanks to all who gave of their time to organize this tournament.
Here is the cheering gallery :)

photos - golf tournament - part 5

This part of the course was to hit the golfball into the boat!
Here are some of the supporters/golfers standing by one of the hole sponsor signs.
I was praying for a nice day of golfing and you can see by this photo that conditions were great :)
A nice day so that babies could attend too :)
The golf course had a good tee off mat.

photos - golf tournament - part 6

It was a relaxing day of golfing.
This golfer is winding up to tee off.
Celebrating a good shot :)
A golf group waiting to tee off.

Thanks again to all who participated to make it a successfuly day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Haiti Update - August 20, 2012

“I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14,15)

Hi! My sister Michelle had surgery last Monday to remove her rectum and is now getting used to having a colostomy. The surgeon saw that the tumor had completely disappeared. Michelle spent one week in hospital and is now recovering at home. Pray for her as she continues her cancer treatment. My mother had surgery last Wednesday to remove the gall stones from her bile duct and she is now waiting for the surgical date for the removal of her gall bladder.

The golf tournament that the Coram Deo committee in Canada has been busily preparing for was a success. There was a full slate of golfers participating last Friday. We give the Lord thanks for all those who participated and for the sponsors who helped support the tournament. It was a sunny day of golfing!

The new school year was supposed to start on September 3rd, but the government has delayed it to October 1st. Some school directors and citizens are disappointed with this decision. The international standard for days of schooling is 200 days. With the September 3rd opening there would have been a 190 day school year, but with the delay to October 1st there is now only 156 school days. School directors who have been doing curriculum planning will now have to re-write it taking into consideration the reduction in school days. The reasoning by the government was to give parents more time to prepare for the new school year and the extra month gives them more time to save money to purchase books, pay for school fees, etc. There has also been a shakeup at the Ministry of Education with the Minister of Education being replaced. This has also delayed the signing of the book subsidies of the government with the school textbook publishers. We were able to get the book catalogue from the Henri Deschamps book dealer ahead of time, along with the unofficial book subsidy list and brought our order in to them last week. They will call us as soon as the government contract has been signed. The rest of the books we need that we can’t get at the subsidized prices we will get downtown at the “black book market”; the rates there are cheaper.

Last week we registered students for the first year kindergarten class here at Coram Deo. Some first year students have come from the countryside to Port-au-Prince to stay with relatives. These students are older and never have had the opportunity to attend school. Jn. Eddy did the intake testing for these students to determine what level they are at.

We finished paying the last instalment of tuition fees last week for Jn. Eddy Alexandre and Josue Marcelin. One year of university costs $2,000 US$ for books and tuition. Pray for funding for their 3rd year of university which will begin in October 2012. The school year runs from October to August. Last week they presented their marketing project that they have been working on for the last couple of months. Jn. Eddy and Josue both take their schooling seriously and want to have a better life for themselves and for their families.

Last week the results of the 9eme AF state exams were released (these are students who have completed their 3rd year of secondary schooling). We only had 1 of our secondary school sponsor students writing these exams. Claudin Jean passed his exams and now will be advancing to the next level of his secondary education – 3eme Secondaire). 119,338 out of 177,502 participants passed these exams, a 67.23% pass rate. Pray for Claudin as he moves on to his next level of schooling.

The former Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean, is now a Special Envoy of UNESCO to Haiti. Michaelle Jean has a special interest in improving the education system of Haiti. A consortium of universities from Haiti and Canada gathered in Haiti last week to form an alliance for the reconstruction of the education system of Haiti. 18 Haitian universities and Canadian universities from Laval, Moncton, Ottawa, Sherbrooke and Montreal took part. The consortium is known as CIRSEH (Consortium Interuniversitaire Pour La Refondation Du Systeme Educatif Haitien). It is good to see Canadian Universities participating in improving the education system of Haiti. Please pray for their efforts.

Michelet Laurent is an adult male who has suffered with a growth on his knee that has caused him pain for the last 10 years. We helped him last week to see a doctor and get testing done for his problem. On Friday he had surgery to remove this growth. Pray for him as he heals from this surgery. Pray also for the medical system here in Haiti. Because of Michelet’s poverty he has suffered with a medical problem that was easily treatable.

Recently, there were 2 policemen who were shot in the Delmas 19 area. One was killed and the other was shot in the leg. Criminal gangs are at the root of most of the violence here in Port-au-Prince. Police focused on the Delmas 19 area in the search for the shooters and they specifically were keeping an eye on the neighbourhood where our gatekeeper Yonel Glezile lives with his family. It ended up that several arrests of gang members were made. Yonel told me that the individual who shot the policeman lived in a temporary shelter that had been constructed by the British Red Cross. Yonel is frustrated with the criminals in his neighbourhood that cause problems and was happy to see some of them arrested. Yonel continues to live in his broken home with his family. The width of the house is now exactly the width of a double bed, with no room at the sides. The double bed is elevated so that the children have room to sleep under the bed. The Red Cross gave him sheets of plywood to put up as a wall along the side of the house that they smashed. He is determined to keep his home along the canal. It is sad that the Red Cross didn’t supervise the project enough to prevent his home from being smashed. It ended up that the Red Cross determined that the canal didn’t have to be that wide, but that was after Yonel’s house was already partly demolished by workers. We visited the canal project the other day and work is progressing. The canal isn’t completely covered yet and people are dumping garbage into it. During the last major rainfall the canal was plugged by garbage and also was boarded off for the construction work that was being carried on further down the canal. This blockage created flooding in the neighbourhood and people had to flee for higher ground. Some of the men broke the sides of the canal with sledgehammers for water to flow. Pray that Yonels’ house is restored and that the Red Cross will reconstruct Yonel’s home. The neighbourhood was about 80% destroyed by the earthquake and it will be interesting to see how it will be reconstructed.

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

photos - golf tournament - part 1

The Mission of T.E.A.R.S- Coram Deo Committee spent a few months meeting together and organizing a fundraiser golf tournament. It was amazing to see how many people sponsored the golf tournament. The big day arrived and there was good golfing weather :)
Dan Vis is a committee member. He was driving a moto-golf cart :)
Len Harsevoort to the the left and Dan Vis to the right were also golfing partners for the day.
This is Dan and his wife.
Dan Hullemann is also a committee member.