Hi! Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! It is the winter season in Haiti now and the weather is great! Temperatures are in the 80’s during the day and the evenings are cool. Everyone is glad that hurricane season is over (it ended November 30th). This past hurricane season was a bad one for Haiti. It seems like there is a cycle to bad hurricane seasons in Haiti . 2004 and 2008 were years of bad storms and both times many lives were lost. The 2012 season ended with not a large loss of life, but there was a large loss in the agricultural sector, which carries implications for the current dry season. 70% of crops were lost and people out in the countryside are at risk of hunger in the next few months. The southern part of the country really took a hit by Hurricane Sandy. The last couple of weeks Benji and his mother were staying here at Coram Deo. Benji has hydrocephalus and received a shunt surgery during the last round of surgeries. He has gotten malnourished. We sent them back to the Jacmel area before Christmas with a box of Feed My Starving Children Manna Packs and told her to come back each month for another box. We can’t help all the families who lost their crops during the hurricane season but we can help one family. Pray for all those who will be struggling with hunger during the next few months.
Our school program is on Christmas break until January 7th. We held exams one week earlier because we had a medical team doing 3 clinics here. It ended up that all the schools had exam week earlier than normal. People were saying that the end of the world might happen on December 21st because that is when the Mayan calendar ended and the children wanted to make sure there exams were done before that day. Some children thought there might be an earthquake that day. I am glad no earthquakes happened and that the end is not yet! There is lots of work to be done. Now that the Mayan calendar is no more maybe people will focus on what the Bible says. It is good that we can focus on Christ’s birth and the hope for peace one day.
We are thankful that Ed Amos moved his medical clinic here to Coram Deo from the Adoration school. Every Monday and Tuesday are medical clinics, with a maximum of 50 patients being seen each day. Ed even does minor surgeries. During those days fewer patients are seen. Wednesday and Thursday are dental clinics and up to 20 people are seen for teeth cleaning, minor fillings and tooth extractions. Ed has 2 Haitian nurses who help him with the clinic. Macdonald registers the patients and also maintains the patient log for appointments. Through these clinics 3 orthopaedic cases came to our attention. All needed surgery. We brought them to Adventist Hospital where the Cure team works and they all received a free surgery. 2 were children who had bad fractures to their lower arm.
Raymond, a young man was in a motorcycle accident last December. The doctors at Medicine Sans Frontieres told him that nothing could be done here in Haiti for his injured hip and that he would need to go to another country for medical care. Raymond and his family is poor and for the last year has been getting around on crutches with a hip that has been out of place. Dr. Nelson, a visiting Cure American orthopaedic surgeon performed surgery on December 10th at the Adventist Hospital, located in the Carrefour area. Raymond spent one week recovering from the surgery in hospital and the doctors told him that in 4 months he will be walking normally again. We give the Lord thanks for this gift of healing.
Berno is a young man who came to Ed’s clinic one day with a large keloid. Berno had been in a bus accident on Rte. National #1 that had killed 17 of the 26 passengers in the bus. Berno survived the accident with a broken leg and a laceration near his right ear. The scar tissue formed into a keloid and grew to the size of a baseball. Embarrassed by this disfigurement he always made sure to wear a hat covering up the keloid. Ed surgically removed the keloid and now the disfigurement is gone. Pray for patients like Raymond and Berno who come to the clinic with the hope of a solution. Ed’s main financial supporter will not be able to fund the clinic after the end of 2013. Pray that support is found for him to continue to run the clinic.
Rick Boer and my dad made a visit to Haiti in October. When Rick went back to Canada a friend talked with a dentist in Wyoming, Ontario. The dentist saw the pictures of the clinic and Coram Deo and he decided to donate his entire dental clinic furnishings, as he was transferring to a new clinic and buying new equipment! Pray for a way to send this equipment to Haiti. Ed could really use the equipment and this also opens up the possibility of having more dentists come to Haiti to hold more dental clinics. Our large living room makes it perfect for a clinic!
In the last few months we have been blessed with medical teams who use our facilities for medical clinics. Dr. Karen McCarthy and medical team members came in October from Jacksonville, Florida. A medical team from Amelia Baptist Church came in November and a medical team from Auburn United Methodist Church came in December.
We are thankful that Pastor Pierre and 18 other Haitian pastors, and church workers were able to participate at the Timothy Leadership Training seminars that were held at the Christian Reformed Ministry Center in October. The day that the seminars were to begin was the day that Hurricane Sandy hit Haiti. I thought that not many would show up because of the weather but everyone showed up! The people from the mountains of Kenscoff (14) walked through the night through windy and stormy weather. It goes to show how hungry the church leaders are for training. They didn’t even allow a hurricane to stop them! Pray for more training for these pastors. Pastor Pierre has at least another 20 pastors interested in attending these seminars.
We completed a shower construction project recently. It started while my dad and Rick Boer were here. The new shower was constructed as an addition to the dormitory. That corner of the yard is now cemented and cement benches were constructed. The new shower has a tiled floor and walls, and also a changing room. A water tower was constructed for the shower. The old shower was knocked down and this now gives more room for the school shelter along the back wall. Pray for future projects. We need another school shelter constructed along the front wall and also to cement that section of the yard. We also need to construct another toilet room and renovate the existing one. With more people in the yard we need more toilet facilities. We also need to tile and make some modifications to the existing washroom. With cholera being here in Haiti it is easy to keep the toilet room clean with tiled floors. We would like to have laptop computers so that students can learn computer technology. One project idea is to have 10 computers and set up a cyber cafe. A few of our teachers are taking computer courses and need access to a computer. If anyone would like to donate a computer please contact myself or Tim Bos.
I give thanks for a board/committee that has the same vision as I do. We are working together to pursue the vision of Coram Deo. Tim was recently here in November to help with the shower project. The committee is supportive and encouraging. It is good to know that I can contact Tim by phone, text, Skype or an email at any time. It is good to see committee members coming to Haiti to help out in constructing our vision here in Haiti. The “field of dreams” is taking shape!
We are thankful for the financial support we have received. Right now the funds are low but we are praying for support. I don’t have a salary and don’t seek one but I pray that people will be supportive of the project. All the funds I get here in Haiti go towards helping the Haitian people.
Have a Blessed New Year!Karen Bultje, Coram Deo