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

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