Hi All:(My apologies, the hide button does not show up on the computer here in Haiti?)
As some of you know, there has been a bit of concern about us going to Haiti with all the latest unrest that has been generated of late. On Thursday, Rod and Duane forwarded us the latest US embassy update regarding the fact that they were encouraging all non essential personnel to leave Haiti as they felt the government could not maintain stability. We prayed, contacted Johannes and Luise, Dr. Moise and Dr. William, all of whom felt we should proceed cautiously, which we always do, avoiding known hot spots, etc. The trip down went smoothly, without a speed bump, thankfully. Even customs went slick as can be. We took a longer, but safer trip through the part of Port au Prince that avoided the large street market where there have been a lot of violent episodes, including several deaths. We arrived at the hospital about 9 pm, about a 6 hour trip, a bit longer than our usual 5ish hour trips. There were a significant number of police posted along the way, never alone, always in groups of at least 3 or 4 and sometimes more with visible weapons ready to use. We thank the Lord for his protection and even encouragement as we saw the increased police presence, I would estimate I saw at least 3 times the number of police as normal.
So far, the clinic has gone well, a bit slower than usual, but normal for December, as funds are limited about this time of year for everyone. Surgeries also have done well, we only had 3 hysterectomies and 3 hernias so far today, but have had some other problems I needed to try to be the translator for as the water pump seems to have died. I asked Brenel and he said it was “the other day,” not sure how long it has not been working. Sometimes, the communication gap difficulty leaves a bit to be desired. As they were working with the electrical system, I wanted to be sure there was no miscommunication and getting someone to light up. The rest of the team has been making considerable progress on repairing the physical therapy department, making benches and getting the frames up for the hurricane windows.
Dr. William arrived last night after being on call the weekend in Port, so will be with us a few days and this will give us a chance to work more on plans for reintegrating him into the system when he finishes the residency program, hopefully in 20 more months. Of course, there are a lot of contingency issues/plans, as we don’t know how this will affect the surgery department, being available 24/7 for surgical patients and the ramifications associated. He seems to be doing well, has been trying to get his car back on the road for months now, allegedly has a new “used” transmission coming from the US that hopefully will make it roadworthy again. We spent some time tonight after surgery laying more of the groundwork for the future. As with riots everywhere, he states that many people are taking advantage of the riots to rob houses and businesses and resulting in a lot of gunshots arriving in the ERs. Haiti is one of many countries where gun control limits the availability of guns to the gangs and others with not the most honest of intentions.
With Christmas approaching, I am doubly thankful for your generosity in giving to the “Rice and Goats Fund” again. It will definitely make a special time of encouragement for all the employees in this year of runaway inflation and I thank the Lord for you all.
In His Service, with Thanksgiving,
Bill, Butch, Gord, Margie, Marsha, and Sam