The Haitian Donkey Looks To An Uncertain Future

Hi All:

Usually, I try to be upbeat about what is going on in the Haitian Donkey’s life, whether his personal health or that of the hospital in his homeland.  I must admit that it has been a bit more difficult on both fronts.  There is not a lot of news about Haiti on the usual news outlets, probably because it is a small country and has struggled with disasters for years.  Plus, the information is a bit biased from the editor’s viewpoint, often proposing simple, though fairly unrealistic, conclusions, at least from the somewhat biased Haitian Donkey’s viewpoint.  I get fairly unbiased reports from my 3 contacts on the ground there, Drs. Moise and William and the administrator, Welser Romulus.  However, it looks rather bleak from what I am hearing, as there seems to be no end in sight to the destruction and violence.  We have been able to secure some fuel for the hospital and have been able to continue to offer services (except surgery since my last trip, in September) and this has been especially important as even the government hospital in Cayes has closed, last I knew, due to violence.  This puts added strain on our people, who mostly walk to work, as the motorcycle taxis they used to take are few and far between and very expensive, as the fuel is expensive and hard to get.  Thus, Dan, Duane and I have made plans to fly in to Port on December 7th and our gracious friend since he flew me in after the earthquake, Ken De Young, has volunteered to take us to and from the hospital.  That is a special blessing as he is a great and smooth pilot and I have not gotton airsick with him, thanks to his extra care.  Since we don’t know what the future holds, as Delta has cancelled all flights to Haiti starting the first of January and in country flights are difficult at best, we will try to do as much as we can to work on preparing for the future until we can come back, Lord willing.  Please pray for encouragement, safety and for God to intervene in their futures in Haiti, as man’s attempts are only going from bad to worse. 

Concerning the Donkey’s health, I have started eating a little each day, partially as I am on my 7th week of treatment for the yeast/fungus in my bloodstream, a difficult diagnosis to come up with and even more difficult to treat.  I am midway through a month of an oral treatment that is not so kind to my intestinal system.  I have gained a little weight by eating, but the price has been vastly increased output from the 2 holes in the front of my belly and the skin is painful, red and raw from the intestinal juices chewing on them.  So, as soon as I get done with the antifungal treatment, I hope to stop eating for a bit and let my abdominal skin heal up, hopefully.  At present, I don’t dare as my stomach, such as it is, needs something to buffer the meds I have to take orally.  I try to gently wash the skin as often as I can, changing the dressings frequently as they soak (and smell) in an hour or so, to limit the exposure of the chemicals to my wimpy skin.  I must admit that it can be a bit wearing at times and my energy level isn’t what I want it to be.  I have been able to continue to keep up with my work schedule but not much more yet due to the reduced zip in the Donkey’s step.  .   

James, Jenn and I will fly to Arkansas early on Thanksgiving Day to spend the time with Rachel.  Thanksgiving has always been our family’s favorite holiday, as it is dedicated to nothing other than thanking God for His gracious provision in our lives (very little commercialism, etc).  The last year has been quite difficult for us, but, when I think of what the Pilgrims went through the last year before they celebrated the first Thanksgiving, I realize that I am blessed indeed.  So many of them died of diseases we easily get over today, they lacked food most of the time, while we have the opposite problem and thus we will be extra thankful to Him for His watchcare over us again.  The next Saturday we will go to Haiti again and then will consider what, if any reasonable, options exist for the Haitian Donkey.

Thanks so much again for your willingness to donate to the “Rice and Goats” fund, though we may have to substitute yams and corn grown locally in the Cayes area for the rice, as there has not been any for many months now, as it is a rare vehicle that dares to brave the gangs and rioters to bring needed supplies out to our area.  Several special friends (who have all been to Haiti several times) asked if they could contribute to the fund but also give something extra a bit earlier to relieve the suffering, which I did, and the administrator, Welser, said this was a special encouragement to the employees, as everything is scarce and expensive.  We appreciate the prayers, encouragement and support you all give us as we strive to serve Him at Centre de Sante Lumiere in Cayes, Haiti.

In His Service, Bill for us all

The Haitian Donkey Is Concerned For His Homeland

Hi All: 

Once again, Haiti remains in a state of turmoil and the majority of the citizens remain innocent victims.  The protests have continued pretty much unabated for a couple months now, off and on for well over a year, with no end in sight.  The protestors have crippled almost all business activities as well as any transportation, including buses and trucks that bring essential fuel, food and supplies.  As mentioned earlier, many hospitals have had to close their doors due to no electricity or supplies, Centre de Sante Lumiere continues to operate, though surgery services were not provided by myself last month and there is some question about the month of November due to the continued unrest.  They remain quite busy as patients cannot find care elsewhere, but are going sparingly on the use of our diesel for the generator. 

We have a container in Port, as do our coworkers with the ACC, who have 3 containers in Port, 2 for Hopital Lumiere and one for another ministry they support.  However, no one dares send them out on the road for fear that they will be hijacked, stuff stolen and/or destroyed by the rioters, even with the police escort we are hiring whenever they can move. Quite a few more missionaries have left the country for the time being, understandably.  So, there are a lot of questions as to the stability of Haiti’s future, both immediate and long term and we would appreciate prayer for God’s intervention and that food supplies (especially) and other vital services can reach the hundreds that likely are dying of hunger or unable to fight off simple diseases in their malnourished state. 

Also, Dr. Moise reminded me a couple days ago that we usually raise the “rice and goats” fund in December and he felt that this year it would be especially appreciated as the goude has sunk to new lows so that what limited funds they do have doesn’t go very far.  I promised him that we would try to raise some funds again to help the people with their basic necessities of life.  Hopefully, the riots will let up in time for more rice to be shipped in from the port in Port, where it has been stuck for the last indeterminate time.  Goats will likely be available as no one is taking them to Port to sell without transportation at present.  As mentioned before, the goats will not likely be eaten, as without refrigeration, one would not slaughter the animal and have to eat it in a couple days, rather it will be kept, raised, and used for unexpected expenses like school and hospital bills, funerals, etc.  So, not to worry, your little goat will not be someone’s supper for quite a while yet, most likely, and will live to get into trouble for days to come. 

If you would like to contribute to the “Rice and Goat’s Fund”, please send it to either:

Centre de Sante Lumiere

C/O PVI Industrial Washing

2632 28th St SW

Wyoming, MI  49519


Byron Center Bible Church

8855 Byron Center Ave,

Byron Center, MI  49315

Please identify the monies as “Rice and Goat’s Fund”

Thank you so much, as always,

In His Service, Dan, Duane and Bill for the CSL Haiti Staff

A Difficult Decision For The Donkeys

Hi All:
A week ago, I said we would make a decision on Tuesday regarding going, as we had lab supplies to keep cool to ship and don’t have refrigerator space for the supplies until the next person goes, etc.  Things seemed to be looking up for Haiti when I talked with Dr. Moise on Tuesday, some fuel trucks had come through and our fellow missionaries on the compound, who have their separate generators and water supply, had been able to get a 400 gallon delivery.  So, we delayed the decision, hoping we could find supplies, sending out the maintenance department with barrels to fill.  Everyone was positive we could get the required 6 barrels we had established as a minimum, so as not to cripple the busy hospital for weeks to come, but, as of noon on Friday, only one barrel had been filled and we reluctantly cancelled our trip.  Thursday was the festival for one of the founders of the revolution that ended up establishing freedom for Haiti from France in 1804 and energetic riots were promised and came to pass.  Even the president was blocked by the angry crowds from making a trip to the memorial site to pay homage to the former leader.

We were ready to give it a try, knowing that the roads might be difficult, Jean Eddy and Dudu were certain they could make it and bring us back with a minimum of difficulty, but the lack of fuel was the unresolvable issue.  This makes us sad, not just because we wanted to go and help our brothers and sisters help their people, but we know that this means that other vital supplies, especially food, is not getting to the starving thousands who never had a pound to spare in the first place.  It is the opinion of my Haitian friends that the majority of the Haitian people are not in agreement with the riots, but, as is often the case, a vocal minority ends up ruining things for the rest of the people.  Most of them want to get on with their already difficult lives, this only has made things worse.  We have a container of supplies in Port, that will have to stay there until things calm down enough to venture out, certainly not any time soon, from the looks of things. 

Personally, as it turns out, I have been struggling with a yeast infection in my blood and will change meds and try using the extra time I have this week to remove my present line and install a new one (hopefully they can find an open one) 48 hours later to try to clear things up.  Infections of one sort or another have been a struggle for the Haitian Donkey for years now, also with no end in sight, at least for the near future.  I will have to schedule this if possible, as well as trying to keep the schedule open for the funeral of our dear coworker and friend, Jory Mulder, who died Friday after a short but difficult battle with colon cancer.  She did a lot for the office, and especially for Karen and I, helping schedule my treatments, CT scans, resolving issues for my TPN, etc and we all will sorely miss her.  A constant reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of being sure of our eternal destiny.

In His Service, Evart and Bill

The Haitian Donkey And Friends Arrive Safely Home Again

Hi All:

We have arrived back home safely.  We ended up leaving Cayes on Thursday afternoon, the last flight that Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF) felt they could do due to the violence predicted for the next couple days.  Communication in Haiti is difficult at best, on Wednesday evening, Dan Boerman spent 90 minutes on the phone with Leo at Delta Reservations to get us tickets on the Air France (part of the Delta network) headed for Miami at 7:20 Thursday evening (they do flights in the dark, US airlines seem reluctant to do so).  Leo was quite likely from India by his thick accent, though stated he was based in Los Angeles, so the verbal exchange was a struggle.  He did find us tickets, required me to email him a picture of my driver’s license and Delta credit card (something I could never do, but Mark is the youngest of us and that was easy for him), sent us confirmations to sign and we figured we were all set.  Dr. William had gone on Wednesday morning in the wee hours in his car and had taken the suitcases of stuff I normally carry home for other ministries at the missionary compound, as we weighed as 4 guys a total of 875 pounds of the 925 available on the little MAF plane that took us back to Port on Thursday.  That didn’t leave much weight for baggage, so him taking the suitcases early in his car was a great help and he brought them to the airport and met us. 

I didn’t look out the window much an the MAF flight to Port, as my nausea has always been there since chemotherapy, but watching things wiggle out of the little plane window doesn’t help that situation at all.  However, we did see that black smoke billow from the protestors burning tires in the road next to the huge fuel tanks that the ships fill off the coast and that runs all of Haiti’s fuel needs.  This was already on Thursday, before the serious riots were to start.  We landed in Port in the MAF plane, got into line for the Air France flight, all in vain.  It appeared that Leo never filed the request through with Delta and there were no seats available.  Since most flights were cancelled due to the fires in the airport on Tuesday and Wednesday, there were plenty of customers and we could not manage to get ourselves on the flight.  I spent a while with an agent upstairs in the business office and was able to obtain tickets for the next day, Friday, for a price, of course.  Fortunately, I have a taxi driver I have used off and on for the last 16 years and he took us to a hotel close to the airport for the night and promised to bring us back the next morning.  I eat little when travelling, as somewhere in my medical training I learned that what goes in does come out eventually and the extra holes in the front my belly wall can’t be controlled as well as those the Lord made for us originally.  However, the 3 others ordered a safe meal, a cheeseburger with fries.  The motel then informed us that they only had enough hamburger for one meal, so it appears everyone is running out of supplies, as the protestors want.  From the shooting the senator did earlier this week, it appears there are legislators on each side of the conflict, as some of his colleagues on the side of the opposition were throwing dirt at him before he fired his gun in his defense.  With all this disruption of any sort of legal process, it seems unlikely that things will calm down, but with the inflation now up to like 94 goudes to the USD, rioting and destruction of businesses doesn’t seem to be a progressive alternative.  As most of the food supply comes from the US and other such countries, the runaway inflation hurts the poor who don’t have enough to feed themselves even more.

We were able to get back to the airport from our hotel without any signs of violence, though we did go to the airport a couple hours earlier than we had planned, and were able to secure our seats and head home on a somewhat bumpy trip.  We are thankful, as the news reports today seem to indicate that all flights were cancelled today by American and Jet Blue, Delta only has one and didn’t hear if that went, but that would have been our original flight.  We got home in the wee hours, tired but very appreciative of the privilege of being Americans and able to enjoy all the benefits that allows us.   Pray for peace to prevail in Haiti, to prevent further loss of life both from the rioters themselves as well as the hungry who will only suffer more and have no ability to fight on against the elements and meet an early death.

We are looking at the next flight, when the Dutch Donkey will join me on the 19th of October for another work trip.  Pray for wisdom, direction and ability to have another opportunity to serve our Haitians who need so much help in the physical, medical and spiritual realms.

In His Service,

Dan, Duane, Mark and the Haitian Donkey

The Haitian Donkey and Friends Will Depart Early As Violence Heating Up Again

Hi All:

We have had a good, though busy 4 days of work here already.  Dan, Duane and Mark went to the Renault Sunday School and Feeding program on Sunday, while I attended the services at the hospital and then saw patients the rest of the day.  Monday, we did 4 hysterectomies, a couple of them quite difficult due to advanced cancer, difficult body habitus and scarring.  We then had a lady show up who had had an abortion 7 years ago as the baby allegedly was deformed at 5 months, then had trouble getting pregnant again but now was at term and had tried for 36 hr to deliver and was stuck as the baby was too large for her pelvis and had fallen into distress.  We took her back and did a C section, admittedly it is hard for me to let Drs. Moise and William struggle to get the little one out and wondering at what stage I step in to help, as they need to learn and each struggle helps them prepare for when I am no longer able to be there as backup, guide and assistant.  I was about to take over when they got the little one out, he was sluggish as lots of meconium and his head was wedged in the pelvis.  I am fortunate to have a thin but large hand, so can slip over the baby’s head and gently tease it out of the pelvis with minimal trauma to him.  So far, mother and baby are doing well but we had some tense moments. 

We had planning/hospital future direction meetings on Saturday afternoon, a lot was brought up, how much we can implement in a foreign culture is still to be determined, but we want to do our best to streamline and make our patient care efficient and compassionate.  A big problem, compounded by us not being here all the time, is follow through, not a priority in Haiti, it seems.  We have had brief meetings in the morning after devotions, it does mean starting surgery a bit later, but we seem to have done ok so far, though Dr. William was here for the 2 surgery days and will leave at 3 am to return to his residency in Port Wednesday morning.  It is such fun to work with my two Haitian brothers as this is our 17th year together and we work in sync for the most part, knowing what the other 2 will do without having to be told/converse.  I thank the Lord for my two pillars at the hospital, much younger than I and healthy, so hopefully can keep this running for years to come, should the Lord tarry.

Tuesday went well overall.  Dan and Duane went up to Bonne Fin to see if we can profit from their experience.  They run a considerably different ship, especially in the area of finances, but were most welcoming of helping us when and where possible, a great encouragement.  Will sort through the data received and implement what we feel can help us. Mark has been building a new, more appropriately (I hope) placed cashier’s office next to the Xray building and several other projects.  Again, that team of Haitian construction men has worked for years when needed and can roll quite well with little direction as needed.  We have had a bunch of rain Tuesday, slowing down some activities, but at least it is a warm rain and breaks the mugginess for a bit. 

Surgery went well Tuesday, several more hysterectomies, some hernias and then Moise and I tried to remove a good section of a parotid gland tumor that had been done by the ENT hospital in town and no tissue was obtained?  A bit discouraging when the specialists cannot get the job done!   The continued unrest in Port is a cause for concern, as, so far, I have been unable to make any connections for the October trip for the Dutch Donkey and myself. So, please pray that things will calm down enough that we can drive to and from the hospital.  The Haitian Senator shooting several people when he felt threatened by the mob underscores the instability for everyone at present. 

Surgery again went well on Wednesday, but we discovered that MAF feels they will not likely be able to get their pilots safely to the airport on Friday and have asked us to leave earlier, as otherwise it may be early next week before we can get out of Cayes, as the roads are getting worse again and the opposition has called for major protests and violence on Friday and Saturday.  So, we are scrambling to find alternatives to spending prolonged down time in Port, possibly not even able to get out of there for a bit.  Apparently the airport was shut down on Tuesday and part of Wednesday due to a fire, so passengers will be backlogged for a while and every seat taken.  We are praying for wisdom as to how to proceed.

Thanks again for your prayers and support of our ministry for Him here in Haiti.

In His Service, Dan, Duane, Mark and Bill