Brief Update On Haiti And It’s Donkey

Hi All:

The Haitian Donkey has been quite busy trying to stay healthy, so a bit behind on other things.  I have mentioned the distasteful flooding that has bothered me for the last month on an increasingly frequent basis.  I also have had a central line (for my TPN feedings) infection, again the fungus, likely the same species (they didn’t do the complete testing this time, not sure why).  So, back on the Sporonox, have 3 weeks down and 6 to go.  It is very tough on my already feeble intestinal tract, but no alternatives.   I had my central line changed last Friday, that went well, thankfully.  My 3 holes that are the cause of the flooding have been a struggle, Dr. De Cook took out the drain that has been there since the last surgery in August right after I got back from Haiti in December but the volume has not diminished and we are working on trying to put ostomy bags over them with varying amounts of success.  Rachel and Jenn have accompanied me to the Holland Hospital Wound and Ostomy Clinic to learn the technique as they give me a mirror but it is below the tiny bulge of my belly and hard for a donkey to do.  The largest hole has developed a fair amount of infection in the tissues around it, so Dr. De Cook is planning on trying to clean things up in hopes that the ostomy will be more manageable.  I have to be at Holland Hospital at 12:30 tomorrow, so likely will start the operation about 2 or a bit after, if all goes as planned.  For a time, I will have a larger yet hole, but hoping it will heal up and be smaller and more able to be sealed in the future.  Pray for wisdom for Dr. De Cook and healing for the Haitian Donkey. 

It has been a bit hard to juggle other activities around the work schedule and my at least weekly visits to Holland Hospital for the changes and adjustments to the ostomy.  Jenn has been doing the changes at home between the visits, she has a real aptitude and is greatly appreciated, though she is not enthused about the smelliness of the affair and, at times, we have to do this daily on one or both bags.  Hopefully things will smooth out over time, both in the irregularity of the belly wall (so the bags will stick better and not leak) and our skill in keeping the fluids where they are supposed to be.  I have eaten very little as the Sporonox inhibits any appetite, but we still have enough drainage from the sites to make it unpleasant. 

Dan, Duane, Jose and Kevin (another surgeon friend of Jose’s) will leave tomorrow for a week in Haiti.  It seems things are starting to settle down and we are praying that will continue and they can do the work they would like to get done.  Dan, Margie, Tabitha and I plan on going on the 14th of February for our week there, again, most delighted that our friend, Ken De Young, is willing to fly us in and out as he will be there with a team on their projects there.  What a blessing.  In addition to the other jobs she will do in the OR, Tabitha (and maybe Margie will need to help some) will do my ostomy changes and teach Miss Lisberthe and others to do them when I make my future trips. 

By God’s grace, we already have had some money promised towards the Solar Project and we are excited that things are progressing for that also.  Will keep you updated on all aspects of our work as time and new developments come out as we greatly appreciate all the prayers, support and encouragement you all are to us daily as we strive to serve our Savior at Centre de Sante Lumiere, Les Cayes.

In His Service,


Bill for Dan, Duane, Jose, Kevin and the rest of the Haiti Team

New Developments For The Haitian Donkey And Colaborers

Hi All:

We pray that you had a Merry Christmas and a blessed start to the New Year.  We are very thankful that enough money was raised for the Rice and Goats (and Chicken) Fund to make the season much more enjoyable for our employees.  We appreciate your generosity in helping to reduce the stress that the unrest has caused the Haitian people.  You have followed Jesus’ example where repeatedly we find Him “seeing the multitude and being moved with compassion toward them,” He then reached out to help supply their needs.  We received reports that it was relatively peaceful throughout the holiday season, and some supplies were able to reach Cayes to bring more joy to our dear friends. 

Our trip back home from Haiti was uneventful, for which we are thankful.  I had my blood checked right before we left and no bugs had grown after the 9 weeks of treatment for the yeast in my blood, a serious situation.  As I continued to have considerable drainage from the extra holes in my lower abdomen, as soon as I got home, Dr. Dan De Cook removed the tube from my lower abdomen and set me up to get some help from the wound and ostomy clinic in the hopes of getting better control.   I have to put a bag over the 3 holes in my lower belly to control the floods that had been abundant before and have been more energetic since the tube was removed.  I began having fevers soon after and again, after only 3 weeks in the clear, discovered another yeast infection growing in my blood.  I have been eating and drinking essentially nothing but still have enough unplanned floods to change all my clothing up to 4 times daily.  I have had 4 visits now with the ostomy nurse and we have tried a number of different appliances and I think we are making progress.  At least the laundry pile is shrinking anyway.  It was great to have Rachel home for the holidays, especially as she seems to like doing laundry and was especially valuable in that realm.  I got my CT scan today and will get my TPN (IV food line) changed on Friday to hopefully get ahead of the infections.  She also helped me profit from the post holiday sales to get more dark long underwear and nice looking dark sweat pants as we clean the stuff but the stains can be hard to get out.

As I mentioned in a previous update, we are growing more concerned with how to keep the Hospital running with the unreliable government system providing less and less electricity.  We desire that every person who comes through our gates has an opportunity to hear the Gospel message, but to do so, we must be able to provide consistent reliable service to the community.

In our current state, we have several battery inverter systems and two diesel generators to support during outages.  In 2019 we only received 240 hours of electricity, most during the nighttime, which is not ideal. This forced us to run our generators 12-14 hours a day, and at night supplied electricity with our battery inverters enough to run lights.  Haiti is now facing shortages of almost everything and inflation is steadily increasing prices, including the diesel fuel needed to run the generators.  In addition, the Haitian government has been subsidizing the price of fuel a dollar per gallon, and once they stop, the price of fuel will naturally go up even further.

We have considered a solar powered system several times in the past, but the initial expense ($275,000 USD) has always made us reluctant.  However, with all the increased uncertainty in Haiti, politically, financially and in availability of supplies, we now feel installing a solar electrical generating system is the only option for a more reliable method to keep the hospital functioning.  We have gotten two estimates, although both systems have small differences, the estimated costs are very close. This system has to be able to handle all our needs, which are quite large. We have an X-ray machine, water system, refrigeration, laundry, ultra sound equipment, Lab equipment, Operating Room equipment, air conditioning, lighting, etc.

We think we can do this in a couple of phases, with the first phase being approximately $150,000. This would give us the batteries and inverters which we could charge with the generators in two or three hours a day, allowing less fuel to be used and allowing us to be able to run our equipment 24 hours a day. Then, as we are able to raise more funds, we would add solar panels and charge controllers to complete the project properly.

All this being said, we are reaching out to you, our ministry partners, as many of you have asked how you can pray and/or financially support our efforts in Haiti.  We know this will be a large undertaking, but trust that if this is the direction the Lord would have us go, He will provide.  Proverbs 3:6 reminds us that we need to “in all our ways (to) acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths.”  

As always, we appreciate all you do, individually and corporately, to help us serve our Haitian brothers and sisters in the Les Cayes, Haiti area at Centre de Sante Lumiere.

In His Service,

Bill, Dan and Duane

If you wish more information on the Solar Project, feel free to contact any of us (though my two partners undoubtedly will know infinitely more details than I):

Dan Boerman

Dan@pviwashing.com

616-901-6104

Duane VerKaik

Duane.verkaik@gmail.com

616-299-3454

Bill Ten Haaf

616-322-1496

William.tenhaaf@gmail.com

As usual, you can send the funds to either:

Centre de Sante Lumiere USA

c/o PVI Washing

2632 28th St SW

Wyoming, MI  49519

Or

Byron Center Bible Church

8855 Byron Center Avenue

Byron Center, MI  49315

And mark it for “CSL Solar Project” in either case

A Great Finish

Dear family and friends;

We hope you had a special Christmas. In spite of a difficult year for Haiti, the month of December has gone well, with calm returning, roads opening up and fuel flowing. 40 ft containers which have sat in Port au Prince for many months were released, and arrived in time for Christmas. We worked for 5 days to prepare over 2000 gift bags for our Sunday school children at Renault.

Thanks to you who sent the beautiful clothes, gift bags and food items. 
The kids were thrilled with the special personalized gifts this year. 

Some of our family had hoped to visit us in Haiti this Christmas, but with the uncertainty of Haiti, we agreed to meet in Florida for a visit.    We had a great time and it was great for Katie and I to finally meet Daisy. (Dan and Christie’s youngest)

While in Florida, I enjoyed a visit with Danny, Pam, Ethel and Cassie (the Harvest International Staff).    We appreciate their partnership so much and when Danny heard that things had calmed down in Haiti, he immediately took action and sent us another container of manna packs.

We arrived back in Haiti on Christmas day. Three days later, on Saturday we had a huge day with a volleyball tournament  for the young people, and a hot dog lunch, where we served 300 hotdogs. 

Saturday evening, we continued with a sit down dinner for the young people and a Gala type event, where they were able to taste many special Christmas baking treats.    Deb and her kitchen helpers did a great job and even Sandy helped to make sure that the guys didn’t take too many items.

It all ended at 9:30 pm, and just as the kids were leaving the yard, the container full of Manna packs arrived, so we worked until midnight unloading it.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we have our younger kids group coming for a big day of volleyball and another meal with about 500 hot dogs. 

The Renault Sunday school is very full.   This picture shows the addition, which is now unable to seat all the children.    Please pray with us as we have a meeting planned on Jan 6th with a man regarding the possibility of buying the larger, original piece of land where we began the Sunday school 12 years ago.   

Thanks again for your prayers and care, We wish you a Happy New Year.    Katie made a video of the Christmas gifts to the Renault Sunday school kids if you would like to watch it on youtube.  https://youtu.be/JBz_DLemfn4
bye for now, 
Love Rod, Deb and Katie

A Brief Update On The Haitian Donkey’s Arrival Back In Frigid Michigan

Hi All: 

First of all, my computer in Haiti has some glitches and there are some errors in the last update, for which I apologize.  My spelling is certainly not perfect, but neither is it that bad.  Hopefully you could sort out what a Dutch/Haitian Donkey meant.  Karen always tried to proofread my updates, sometimes a frustrating task for her as she was of the opinion that my English was not great and my French worse (fortunately, she could not evaluate my Dutch, as surely that lacked even more).  So, will give you a brief update on the pressing issues.

First of all, other than the freezing temps on our arrival, the trip home went well.  Ken, as always, is a most gracious friend and we had a great flight back to Port with him and a few other passengers.  He has been making many more trips to Haiti to help out with a variety of projects he has become involved in and his initial conversation to us was that when he first met me back during the earthquake relief effort, he shared with his friends that he had met this crazy American surgeon who tried to go monthly to Haiti.  Since then, he has been doing more and more with Haiti and, if I remember right, this was like his 18th trip or so to Haiti in 2019.  He has a larger plane than the one we flew in on during the earthquake and what he used to fly Duane and I and others during the elections and all the unrest back in late 2010 and it is a very nice ride, even for the Donkey who isn’t in love with flying.  It is exciting to hear what all he has become involved with to help the Haitians in their struggles and I hope we can meet up again in the future, Lord Willing.

Politically, things seemed a bit quieter for likely a few weeks, though as mentioned, traffic was greatly reduced due to the fears of the rioters doing damage to the people and the transports, no matter what type of vehicle it would be. Dr. William was with us for a bit of the week and shared that he has treated so very many people who have been shot (and many who have passed away) by the armed gangs and rioters.  He was obviously quite saddened by his fellow citizens and the senseless acts they have been doing to their brothers and sisters, stating that the young were by far the most frequent victims.  Haitians are used to constant turmoil and unrest, but the intensity and duration of this present disruption of life has most of them troubled. 

We will continue to look into ways to help the hospital adjust to the struggles that the future seems to bring them, most notably looking into possibilities of the solar system reducing our dependence on the unreliable fuel supply and the totally nonexistent (though we keep getting charged for the “privilege of access to power” at a rather healthy rate. (Rumor, likely with some basis in fact, is that Haiti owes in the billions for fuel and the uncertainty of someone willing to extend further credit may be questionable).   We are planning to totally disconnect from government power as they have given us somewhere in the range of 24 hr in the last 6 months or so, if my aged memory serves me correctly, Dan was rattling off the figures, and he calculated we paid like $30 for each kilowatt hour.  In the meantime, we continue to raise funds for the “rice and goats fund” to help them survive in the short term and at least have a bit more to be joyful for this season of celebration of Christ’s birth.  We thank all of you who have been contributing to make this possible again this year.  We will email them the total raised on the 23rd of December and then divide it up among the 106 employees of Centre de Sante Lumiere.

Once again, thanks so much for your prayers, encouragement and other means of support for our efforts to serve our Lord in Les Cayes, Haiti, for His glory.

In His Service,


Bill, Dan and Duane

The Haitian Donkey Is Loving The Warmth But Not The Floods

Hi All:

The week has been progressing nicely after the rough start.  Monday night, the retching stopped and Duane had made some chicken noodle soup for the three of us and my little bowl tasted so good.  I didn’t eat much the next day, but Johannes and Luise invited us over for dinner Tuesday night, always a gastronomic experience. They certainly know now, but don’t know if they knew it before, but they make special dishes and they have a book of the 100 best dishes of the world, one for most countries and they made Nasi Goreng, the food from Indonesia, a variety of fried rice and one of my most favorite foods in the world.  Needless to say, any thought of not eating succumbed to the temptation. They sent the rest home with me and I continue to enjoy small amounts regularly.  However, my belly fistula has rebelled and I have been changing my clothes at least twice daily as it suddenly discharges not so savory intestinal contents that flood my dressings and other equipment designed to control the outbursts.  I have a stack of scrubs in my bedroom to change into as needed, but will stop eating and drinking Saturday morning as don’t have that option on the planes.  My strength is returning and have been able to keep the clinic running (short as Dr. Rachel has been ill all week) so have tried to help out with more than just surgical patients.  It would be easier to do the surgeries with Dr. William or Moise and make the others work in the clinic, as they know the French meds better than I, etc, but my goal is to help the hospital progress all I can.  We have goodly numbers but they are down from normal and few people come further than 1/2 hour from here as the roads are dangerous. Normally I have people come from as far as Port au Prince and further, but that has been limited.

Dan and Duane have been fixing things, though I think Dan has given up on trying to fix the lab machine I brought all those suitcases of reagents for and we will carry it back home and send it back in January with the team then (Jose and a couple of his colleagues plan to come with Dan and Duane) and Dan will go with me in February whenever we can find a way to get here with Delta dropping out and in country travel likely remaining nasty.  Sometimes it is a bit eerie as it is so quiet on the road that goes past the hospital,  where normally the traffic is noisy as one could not drive in Haiti without a horn and they use it liberally. As the hospital is on a hill, the traffic has a blind corner to turn from the town of Simon onto the dirt road that runs to the missionary housing and other places past us.  So, vehicles toot their horns when they approach, but things are very quiet around here. There just are very little in the way of motorcycle taxis or other modes of transportation around, nice to have it quiet, but the reason, not so good.   Speaking of the hill, the government told us a while ago that they were going to widen the road (someone out of country must have donated the huge payloader, it was brand new and worked well), so they told us to move the fence around the hospital back 10 feet.  We didn’t want it on the edge, as the poles are imbedded in cement, so Dan and Duane and crew moved it back 13 feet or so. Despite our protests, the government took the whole 13 feet, exposing the cement bases which now are unstable.  Another way that Haiti makes things more difficult than it needs to be.  They are organizing the guards more, with the anticipated continued unrest, to handle the possible difficulties that may arise with robbers, etc.  The guards told them they didn’t like the bright shirts they had supplied them because they can’t hide well if trouble comes with them on.  An interesting concept.  They have finished the cashier’s room and we hope this will help relieve some of the congestion in the lab, clinic, etc area.  They are trying to organize things to allow us to use less fuel until, hopefully, we can raise funds for a solar project.  There is so much uncertainty that it sometimes is hard to know how to proceed. 

Surgery went pretty well so far.  William went back to his training program so I have filled in more.  Did a small lady with a huge, fibroid filled uterus on Thursday that was a struggle from start to finish. I must have been more tense than I realized as my upper back was speaking to me the last 1/2 hr of the case.  We also had 2 people attacked by boar hogs 8 hr apart show up at about the same time last evening. We ended up trying to salvage the lady’s leg tendons and clean up all the debris and infection the pig had left, as I doubt he brushed his teeth before biting her.  I worry a lot about losing the tendons in the infection that inevitably will follow, plus a lot of her skin was literally chewed up and not salvagable to cover the defect. .  Physiotherapy is progressing nicely, thanks to Ulrike Schaller, a physical therapist from Germany who does this at Port a Piment an hour up the road donating some of her time to us, as well as her great expertise and some of her trainees and we are very excited about the development of that department.  

Lord willing, we will pack our bags tonight and take a flight with our friend, Ken De Young, tomorrow morning and hope to get home a bit before midnight.  Pray for safety on the trip, no floods of intestinal contents and also that we will be able to make plans for some sort of safe travel to the hospital in the months to come.  Obviously, if God brings a measure of peace to Haiti, that would make things so much simpler, but we will try to make plans otherwise if needed.  It is hard to plan without knowing what is going on.  Thanks again so much  for all your support, prayers, encouragement for us and our CSL team as we strive to serve Him safely for His glory.

In His Service,

Bill, Dan and Duane