CORAM DEO HAITI UPDATE – NOVEMBER 27, 2016
“Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath, for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. “ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21)
Haiti is waiting for the results of the presidential election. Last Sunday was a day for elections in the country. The streets were peaceful and we visited several voting centres around the city. We were in the Delmas, Canape Vert, Tabarre, Petionville, and Cite Soleil areas. There were people who came to vote and couldn’t vote because their names were not on the voting list at the centres they tried to vote at. A couple of older women came up to us in Cite Soleil came up to us and told us that they wanted to vote and they couldn’t. Some young guys who overheard told them off and said that they shouldn’t be complaining to foreigners J Jean Bertrand Aristide came to vote at the Lycee Jean Marie Vincent in the Tabarre area. He was accompanied by an enthusiastic crowd of supporters of the Lavalas political party. They were sure that Lavalas would be the winners of the presidential election and that their candidate Maryse Narcisse would be the next president of Haiti. The larger voting centres that we visited in the Petionville and Cite Soleil areas were busy but smaller voting centres were not very busy. It is being reported that 23% of the population exercised their right to vote. People don’t have a lot of confidence in the electoral process.
Elections are a long process here in Haiti and results are not quick. This week workers at the vote tabulation centre have been working tabulating the votes and results will probably be issued later today or tomorrow. Police are preparing for protests. People that I know have either voted for Jovenel Moise of the PHTK party or for Maryse Narcisse of Lavalas. Some of the voter tally sheets are posted on the CEP elections site. For the area near Pastor Pierre’s church the people in the mountains of Kenscoff voted overwhelmingly for Jovenel Moise. Lavalas supporters are making comments that “weapons are legal” (which means that they will shoot to protest the results). Pray for the election result day. Losing political parties may take to the streets to protest. We have been making preparations for potential problems and have a stock of fuel, food, water and supplies on hand. The police are on maximum alert and will be out in force. Please pray for safety on the streets.
We are thankful that the hydrocephalus surgeries took place this past week. 22 hydrocephalus babies and their mothers stayed at Bernard Mevs Hospital on Saturday evening to await the arrival of the neurosurgery team from Miami Children’s Hospital led by Dr. John Ragheb. We had a busy day on Sunday visiting the election sites and also the hospital. Bettina Boniface and her adopted mother stayed with us for a few days. Bettina is a 2-year-old girl who was abandoned by her family beside the road in the Fond Des Blanc region of the country when she was a young baby. She was abandoned because of her hydrocephalus. A Haitian mother who already had 6 children of her own saw her lying in the road. Dogs were keeping an eye on the baby. Her heart was touched and she took in the baby as her own. She is getting support from the St. Boniface Hospital in Fonds Des Blanc. She does the best she can to raise Bettina. Hurricane Matthew tore the roof off her home and she is staying with neighbours. We are thankful that Bettina got chosen for a surgery. Not all of the 22 babies who came to be evaluated were selected. Surgeries took place over 3 days and by Thursday there were only 2 patients left at the hospital. Our food service team prepared and delivered meals to the hospital twice a day this week. Please pray for all the surgeries that took place and for those who didn’t get selected for surgery; that they will be able to receive an operation from a future neurosurgery team visit.
We have had a couple of people come to the house for help who had some huge abscesses on their face. Jeff, a young man came to the house on Tuesday and one side of his face was very swollen. His eye was swollen shut. We were planning on bringing him over to Hopital La Paix and the abscess popped open on its own. Fluid started to gush from his face. Within a few minutes his eye was not as swollen. We brought him over to Hopital La Paix and they did a surgery to open up the abscess further and drain the rest of the fluid .
A father came to the house and told us that his 7-year-old son died after falling head first into a barrel of water. He drowned. The family lives in Cite Soleil. Father Rick at Nos Petits Freres et Soeures Hospital gave them a coffin so that the family could bury their child. Please keep this family in prayer as they mourn the loss of their child to this accident.
This week we had problems with both of our vehicles which directly affects our mission work. We were driving on Delmas 31 and saw an accident that took place between 2 motorcycles. One motorcycle driver cut in front of the other and the guy who got cut off fell with his bike. He had a lower leg injury. We stopped and talked with him and he said that he couldn’t put any pressure on his leg. We offered to give him a ride to the Medecins Sans Frontieres Trauma Hospital. When I went to start Kimosabe Jr. (Ford Ranger) it wouldn’t start. I called Amos to come with Kimosabe Sr. (Toyota HiLux) and a mechanic. When the mechanic arrived Amos took the injured man to Medecins Sans Frontieres Hospital in Kimosabe Sr. and we tried to push start Kimosabe Jr. We had good exercise pushing the vehicle down the road. It felt just like the “Cool Runnings” movie on how the Jamaican bobsled team trained J The truck wouldn’t start. We rented a battery to drive it the rest of the way home. The alternator was broken. Vehicle parts in Haiti are expensive at the dealers and after getting a quote of 1,000 US$ the mechanic headed downtown to the black market to look for an alternator. Some of the parts being sold in the black market come from local chop shops who take apart stolen vehicles. Instead of paying 1,000 US$ we paid 300 US$ and have a running vehicle again.
We had trouble with Kimosabe Sr. on election day. It is difficult to get the truck in reverse and into first gear but once we finally get it in gear the 2nd through 5th gears work well. When we approached the lycee where Aristide was going to vote at there was yellow tape blocking the road. I tried to back up but the truck wouldn’t co-operate. A friendly policeman let us cross under the yellow tape so that we could turn around. The clutch/transmission problems are becoming more severe and we are putting Kimosabe Sr. out to pasture until we can fix his problems J Pray that we can fix Kimosabe Sr.
November is usually a high crime month as thieves prepare for Christmas and New Year festivities. Stealing increases as people resort to crime to get funds to celebrate. A couple of weeks ago Amos was driving a young man who had surgery on his face home to the Puit Plain section of the city. They passed a vehicle with a driver who had just been shot and who died at the scene. Gunmen on motorcycle shot and killed him. Friday afternoon there was a shooting incident on Delmas 48.
Motorcycle riding gunmen killed someone who was returning from the bank after making a transaction. Another group of motorcycle gunmen killed a woman as she was exiting her vehicle in front of the 4C pharmaceutical administration building. Yesterday, the former prime minister from 2002-2004, while Jean Bertrand Aristide was president was shot twice in the elbow and wrist areas in the Williamson area of Arcahaie. Yesterday a group of 4 thieves attempted to enter the Unibank in the Darguin area of Petionville. One security guard was shot and one thief was killed in the exchange of gunfire. A manager of a Haitian music group was robbed after he left a bank. A Haitian news station is calling yesterday Black Saturday, not for holiday sales but for crimes that took place. Please pray for the security situation in Haiti. Pray also that something can be done about the bank bandits. It looks like people working inside the banks are letting thieves on motorcycles know who has made withdrawals. Even people who use ATMs are being targeted by thieves.
Due to the possibilities of protests once the results of the elections are announced we told our students not to attend school until the streets are calm. Results should be announced later today or tomorrow. Haiti has a culture of revenge. If someone does something wrong, they take revenge. Pray that people aren’t overcome by evil, but that they overcome evil with good.
That is all the news for today. Have a good week,
Karen Bultje, Coram Deo
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