Haiti News – March 2023

The staff are excited when we bring doctors along on our visits as there always seems to be extra hard and trying cases needing special attention. This trip we were accompanied by Dr. Luke Channer, Dr. Dylan Nugent, and Dr. Pierre Schwab. Dr. Luke, a general surgeon in Hamilton, MT, is on our CSL board. Dr. Dylan is an orthopedic surgeon from Springfield, MO, and this was his third trip to Haiti, his first being right after the earthquake in August 2021. This was Dr. Pierre’s first trip. He is a resident in an orthopedic program and has worked with Dr. Dylan in the past. Dr. Pierre immigrated to America from France some years ago, and his ability to speak French helped him make quick connections with staff and patients. We hope this is the first of many trips for him. We are so thankful for these doctor’s willingness to spend their time and money to come and minister to the Haitian people. As those of you who have gone to Haiti know, being presented with a tote (to keep belongings in for future trips) and your own set of hospital keys is done in ceremony fashion. I wish we could have presented Dr. Dylan with his keys and Dr. Pierre with his tote in true ceremony fashion this trip, but time robbed us of the custom.

Dr. Dylan & Dr. Pierre

We had a couple of special cases this trip. A gentleman showed up in the emergency room one morning with a severely broken leg from a not so uncommon scooter accident. Thankfully for him, we had just delayed an orthopedic surgery, had an opening in the schedule, and operated on him within a couple of hours. He now sports a rod in his leg and was a very happy man when he walked out of the hospital the next day. We never know what the Lord has in store for us from day to day.  We also operated on a 6-year old little boy who had broken his leg 3 weeks before he came to the hospital. I wasn’t able to get a great picture of him, but the before and after pictures show the extent of his injury.

When thinking about this ministry – it’s past, present, and future – I realized that we have devoted much time planning and working on projects that needed to be done and provided what tools we could to aid our staff.  Our present outlook has shifted to walking beside and working with our people.  Our staff work in less than ideal conditions every day, in a country where it is hard just to live. They care for people who only come to them when they are having a bad day, and it’s hard to always exhibit care and compassion under these circumstances. They have kept on through hurricanes and an earthquake, while violence is always close by. In appreciation for what they do, we hosted a special evening for our staff – a nice dinner with a band from the local church. It was a refreshing night and everyone really enjoyed themselves.

After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, over 30 of our staff’s homes were damaged – some completely destroyed, others needing major repairs, and many roofs basically gone. We put our team of Haitian workers that we hire for special projects to work and they replaced about 30 roofs, mostly with donated material we shipped over from the US. We had done about all that we could when the earthquake hit in 2021.  Since then we have been doing repairs once more, but getting material to Haiti has become difficult. We have given money to purchase local materials where it made sense and progress is being made, albeit slowly. Duane was out in the field every day this trip giving directions for these repairs and lining up work to be done while we are gone. This is hard work and takes up a lot of his time both in Haiti and at home. I was made aware this trip of one of our guards who is still living in a tent with his wife and two children. The need is still great. If you would like to designate a gift for staff housing, please make a note on your donation. As with all of your gifts, 100% of the money goes directly to Haiti. We cover all administration costs.

Our OBGYN program continues to be an area of major growth. We have started to interview doctors for this program, and have identified a few pieces of equipment we need to send on the next container. Please pray for wisdom as we cautiously expand in this area.

Lest I forget, none of this would be possible without your support. You are the Lord’s means of sustaining this ministry.  Some of you give your time, some your talents, some your resources, and a lot of you pray for us and those who come to the hospital. We continue to be encouraged by the response to our Chaplain’s ministries; every month we see 50-75 patients give their lives to the Lord. They are then introduced to a church near to them that walk alongside them in their new journey. This is the reason for our ministry – to glorify God in our work and see Christ’s name exalted.

Thank you,

Dan and Duane

Another Safe Trip

We are so thankful to have been able to visit Haiti within the last few weeks – our second time since July. The unrest does continue, but the gangs have backed off a little, allowing fuel to be delivered and some shipping containers to leave Port Au Prince, bringing vital supplies to the rest of the country.

There were five of us on this trip, the first trip since last April where we brought team members along to work on various projects. Dr. Jose worked alongside the doctors and organized and prepared for the installation of donated Endoscope equipment. Patti Hicks assisted Dr. Jose and organized surgical supplies again (not her first time). Mark Snyder and Paul Grifhorst worked with our Haitian construction men to install roofs on two of our employee’s homes.

It seems like I am mentioning this continually, but the solar system has become a huge part of our ministry. I don’t think we fully understand the importance of having consistent electricity. Take a moment and think how your life would change if you didn’t have electricity – no lights, no water, no computers, no microwaves…and the list goes on. But this is everyday life in Haiti. Having a solar system giving us 24hr electric every day is changing our ministry, especially with the number of patients we are seeing as CSL is becoming the hospital to seek medical care at. We are blessed to have dedicated staff who desire to serve their community, not just to have a job, and we do our best not to turn any patient away. There are medial issues that we are not equipped to handle, but we continue to improve and expand our services. Most patients are able to pay some, if not most, of their bill, but Poor Fund needs do continue to grow as we see more patients come through our doors.

Deliveries at CSL have exploded recently, from 4-5 a week now up to 3 a day. There is always one, sometimes two or three, women in either labor or delivery. Within minutes of our arrival, Dr. Jose was already assisting in the delivery room. A 32-yr old woman requiring a C-section with her second pregnancy came to us after she had been turned away by two hospitals. The first because they don’t perform C-sections; the second (government hospital) because of a lack of power. She was referred to CSL after being in labor for 16 hours. Dr. Moise & Dr. William called in staff from their homes and Baby Angeline was delivered at 7:30pm on Friday night!

One day I found Patti taking a break in our office; I asked if there was a problem, to which she had me listen to a recording on her phone she had taken of a woman in delivery. The surgical supply area she was organizing was next door to the delivery room. Haitians are quite vocal and loud, and after listening to the sounds of women in delivery for the past 3 days, her ears needed a break!

Ms Aurelia, a 65-yr old woman, was another patient we helped during the week. She had been traveling to the market by motorcycle taxi when the motorcycle crashed and she sustained a lower leg (tibia and fibula) fracture. The local hospital gave her a shot for pain before turning her away because she had no money. When she arrived at CSL, she went into surgery the same day, all thanks to the generosity of our supporters. The Poor Fund covered the cost of her care, and the digital x-ray machine we used was donated by Samaritan’s Purse in 2021 after our organizations worked alongside each other following the August 2021 earthquake.

Ten of our employee’s homes had been damaged or destroyed in the earthquake and we have been raising money since then to help them rebuild. Civil unrest and a lack of funds had placed this program on temporary hold. After receiving some more generous donations, it was a blessing to have Paul and Mark on this trip so they could work alongside our Haitian team in the rebuilding process. Two roofs were installed! In addition, they helped set-up for another roof to be installed by our Haitian team this week. We also supplied the materials for a member of our staff who will complete the work himself. There is more work to be done as soon as we are able to ship more materials and we look forward to completing more of these necessary repairs.

The Lord continues to bless our ministry in every aspect, including through your generous support; we are excited to continue our work and hope to send another team to the hospital in March. Please pray for our efforts supporting the hospital and for the many staff who work and live in difficult conditions. Pray also for the gospel to be carried forth throughout Haiti. Every patient who comes through our doors is an opportunity to witness about God’s redemptive grace, which we then pray will be shared in their local communities.

Blessings, Dan and the whole team

A Safe Trip After a Long Wait

After gang violence forced us to cancel a trip to Haiti three times since our last in July, we were finally able to make the trip again last week. We had been keeping an eye on conditions, waiting for an opportunity. One of the safety issues to work through was finding someone we trusted who could drive us from the Port Au Prince International Airport to the General Aviation Airport (where we catch our flight directly to Les Cayes). Although this doesn’t seem like a big deal since the two airports are only on the opposite sides of the same runway, in Haiti, it is. The last several years we have relied on a man in Port Au Prince to drive us. However, shortly after our last trip, a gang followed him home, stole everything he had, and threatened him. He felt lucky to escape with his life and ended up leaving the country. Recently we were given a recommendation for another man who we could trust for reliable information and transportation between the airports. We used him on this trip and now feel that we have another good resource.

There are always risks when traveling to Haiti. We largely determine whether a trip is safe by listening to what those who live there or have recently been in and out of the country have to say. Sometimes though we have no choice but to go, trusting that we are doing the right thing and praying for protection. We are thankful for the Lord’s protection on this last trip. Our worries about travel ended up being unfounded as our trip went very smooth.

When we arrived on Monday, we went right to work with many planned tasks and quickly had unplanned tasks added to our list. However, we found the whole hospital running much better than expected. Our management team (Dr. Moise, Dr. William, Shansley, & Manekens) have done an excellent job. We so appreciate their service and dedication to the Haitian people.

Dr. William Telesma

The gangs pretty much have control of the whole country at this point. Highway 2 (a two lane road) is the only road to Port Au Prince and they control several towns along the road – letting them control who/what they let through. Which isn’t much. Very little fuel is being allowed through and as a result none of the gas stations are even open; any fuel being sold is done alongside the road from one gallon containers. No fuel also means no generators that the power company uses to produce electricity. Because of no electricity, none of the area hospitals are open, meaning all emergencies come to us.

Historically, the hospital would have roughly 10 deliveries each month. With Dr. William able to do surgery every day, added with the lack of other facilities, we had 81 deliveries in October and 64 in November, plus 8 or 9 C-sections. It’s been a very busy delivery room! Ironically, the number of orthopedic surgeries is down, which we think has to have something to do with so few vehicles on the road!

The exchange rate went from 100 to 1 in July to 145 to 1 last week. Just another strain on everyone trying to support their families.

All of these situations continue to add stress to everyone’s financial status, and each month the need to use money from the Poor Fund grows. Thanks to all of you who faithfully support this fund!

We have been blessed to have many companies supply us with excess, seconds, and tear-off building materials which we use on home repairs after hurricanes and earthquakes. The home repair process continues and we have plans to install two new roofs on two of our housekeeping ladies’ homes next month. Once again – thank you for your support!

Thanks to your generosity, we collected over $20,000 for the rice and goat fund – our largest year to date. With this money, we will be able to give 136 families some much needed support during this Christmas season.

Times are hard in Haiti – harder than they’ve been in a long time. Yet God continues to bless our ministry. Our staff not only works hard, offering great service, but are also working on making improvements. The monetary needs are great, yet are met through your support. We are so thankful. I wish each of you were able to visit and experience how the Lord is working in Haiti. Please continue to keep the staff, chaplains, and patients in your prayers.

Merry Christmas,

Dan Boerman and Duane Verkaik

Prayers Needed as Unrest Intensifies

It has been a couple of months since we have been able to visit the Centre. It seems as if we’ve been changing our plans almost daily for the last few weeks.  The unrest in Haiti has recently found its way to the Les Cayes area, creating a lot of problems, and protesting has reached a level we have not seen in a long time. The road from Port Au Prince to Cayes has been blocked for some time, and as a result, no food, fuel, or basic supplies are being delivered.

We have seen a large increase in women needing C-sections as I don’t believe the other hospitals are fully operating because of the fuel shortage. We are especially thankful at this time to have the solar system. Our out-patient and other departments are slow, however; patients are only coming if they have no choice as they don’t dare travel with the protests and fuel shortages.

Our staff is having a difficult time getting to the hospital. There are road blocks everywhere – last week I heard there were 6 blocks between CSL and the airport (roughly 4 miles). Many of our staff live in that direction.

We have been planning a makeover of the operating rooms and have been trying to get the needed material shipped. It is ready to load on a container, but will have to wait until the road is open and safe for truck traffic. We have delayed trips to work on this project, and not shipping a container also means a delay in bringing hospital supplies. Our main, yearly order of medical supplies from a foundation in the Netherlands is preparing to ship and I’m afraid this will be delayed as well.

Please continue to keep the hospital and Haiti in your prayers, that the protests will end, gangs will open the roads, and patients will be able to travel to the hospital. Pray also for our staff and their families as they not only struggle to reach the hospital but also care for their family needs. These are trying times, but we rely upon God’s goodness and trust that he will bring us safely to Haiti in His good timing.

As many of you know, supporting the staff was of great importance to Dr. Bill. One of the ways he helped do this was by gifting staff members a bag of rice and a goat every Christmas, something he began doing many years go.  We are keeping this tradition alive again this year. If you are interested in supporting, please note ‘Rice and Goats’ on your check memo. Needs for the Poor Fund also continue to rise, and support of this important function of our ministry is appreciated.

Some of you may be receiving this email for the first time.  When looking through newsletters Dr. Bill had sent in the past, we realized that not everyone he shared these with were added to our distribution list when we transitioned to the email marketing service last year. If you no longer wish to receive these, feel free to unsubscribe through the link at bottom. We appreciate many of you who pass along these newsletters to your friends and family. They may also join the mailing list themselves by following the ‘Subscribe’ button on the bottom of this email.

Your prayers and support are a great encouragement to us and we couldn’t begin to do this without you. God has been very faithful to us throughout the years.

Dan Boerman with Duane Verkaik, Dr. Jose Dominguez, Dr. Luke Channer, and Tabitha Sheen

May – July Happenings

We were happy to report in April that the solar system project had been completed, and that we no longer had to rely on two diesel generators to power the hospital. Since the installation, the system has been reliably operating and we’ve had 24/7 electric service!  We received many thank yous from the staff during our visit last week. How often don’t we take our electric for granted? – yet for them it is a such a gift. This project will affect the lives of the Haitian people every day. Thank you again for your support!

It has been a little while since our last newsletter, but much has been happening.  Dr. Luke, Evert Bek and Justin Karns (Smucker’s tech) spent a week at the hospital in May.  They had a profitable trip working with the doctors, meeting with staff, visiting patients, completing some maintenance projects, and working through a few bugs with the solar system.  The staff greatly appreciates these trips as time is devoted to work through some of their problems and frustrations.  These trips are important in showing how much we care about them and the work that they are doing.

Duane and I also traveled to the hospital on July 9 and spent a week meeting with a lot of our staff. (Duane absolutely loves these meetings and wishes he could spend more time in them!)

Kurt Vander Loon, the owner of Embroidery House, graciously donated new security uniforms for our guards that we brought down with us. The timing was perfect as we have been working on new procedures for the guards.  They are the first people that our staff and patients see when they enter the hospital gates, and they have been focusing on how best to serve those who enter. This was a nice reward for their efforts.

One of the challenges in Haiti is the absence of a Lowe’s or Home Depot around the corner.  Sometimes we have to make repairs with only things that we have on hand.  The week we were there we needed to fix the X-ray film dryer as it is old and worn out – a hair dryer for the win!  Donations towards a new x-ray film dryer would be greatly appreciated as it really needs to be replaced.

The healthcare that we provide at the hospital opens the door for us to share the gospel with all who come through the gates. The Sunday we arrived, Pastor Zidor was ministering to a couple of young men. He shared that these men had been watching him from a distance during the worship service earlier in the day. He sought them out afterwards, and after spending some time with them, they decided that they wanted to follow Christ. That same afternoon, one of the nurses told Pastor Zidor that a patient wanted to see him. When he visited her, she said she had heard his message from her bed and she was ready to commit her life to the Lord. She passed away two days later.  God’s timing is always providential. We are blessed to have dedicated pastors sharing God’s word every day. Our hope and prayer is that the rest of show forth Christ’s love in all that we do. In June we had 84 salvations – we praise the Lord for his amazing grace.

Inflation continues to increase as the Haitian buying power continues to decline with the exchange rate now being at 125 goudes per dollar. When patients are unable to pay for services at the hospital, we use our Poor Fund to cover the cost. We have a couple of organizations and several faithful donors who regularly donate to this fund. We also use money from our general fund to fill in any gaps. Please prayerfully consider making a one-time or monthly donation to this fund so that we may continue to provide services to those who are unable to afford them.

Thank you for all your continued prayers and support.

Dan with Duane