March and April Trip News

March Trip

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16

After 3 flight changes by American Airlines, rescheduling our MAF flights, and being tested for COVID, we were in the air. We were blessed with an uneventful trip to the hospital.

It is amazing to see the growth and improvements at the hospital, beginning with the PT department – 400 new patients and 4,500 sessions.  Seeing the new orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lamy at work and the organization of the PT clinic and staff is exciting.

The newly organized Haitian leadership board is really taking ownership of their responsibility, moving forward with wise decisions. The flow of patients in the clinic is also encouraging. The clinic is benefiting from the additional room gained after moving USAID.

Duane took a team of 6 young men from Jamestown (the youngest being 68) to work on various projects. They eagerly checked off a list of maintenance jobs. They reorganized the storage facilities and containers – a much needed clean out after two large work teams this past fall and winter.  They also assembled 30 benches at the church. These men had cut to size the wood for the benches here in the states; it was a joy for them and for the churches to see the benches in place, ready for worship on Sunday.  We want to give a big thank you to Zeeland Lumber for their donation of treated wood used to build the benches and many other projects.

Church recently started by Dr. Williams that received some benches

The men had the joy of working alongside the 12 local Haitian men referred to as “the work team”. Two offices were remodeled and are ready for the doctors to move in and begin seeing patients.  A few inverter problems were fixed as well as a new stairway built to the inverter room making it easily accessible. 

Thank you to these men for their work on the trip and their willingness to gather, weigh, pack, and load the containers sent to the hospital on a yearly basis.  We could not do this without many willing hands. Thank you!

In Christ, Dale, Dave, Duane, Jim, Ross, and Sam

April Trip

We arrived on Saturday afternoon after an uneventful trip from home (far from normal).

This trip brought team members from all over the country – Dr. Luke Channer from Hamilton, MT, Beth Newton from Columbus, OH, Dr. Jo Marturano from Lexington, SC, and myself from Grand Rapids, MI. A huge benefit from these trips is being able to spend time with friends we don’t get a chance to see very often.

When we arrived at the hospital, there was a sense of urgency within the surgical staff concerning a patient who needed emergency surgery. He was a Haitian American who had recently moved back to Haiti to build a home and retire.  The extent of the procedure was unknown going into surgery. With Dr. Luke’s help as soon as we arrived, they were able to remove the obstruction in his bowel before serious damage would have resulted.  God’s timing is always perfect, as the surgical staff would not have been able to perform that extensive of a surgery without Dr. Luke’s help.  The man was recovering nicely when we left early Saturday morning.

We had many good management meetings throughout the week, including a meeting with the leadership of MEBSH (Mission Evangelical Baptist of Southern Haiti), concluding with an agreement for us to operate the hospital for the next 10 years. MEBSH is the organization that owns the hospital and property and who we work under.

Dr. Jo is a psychiatrist, and always has more patients who want to see her than she can possibly see when she visits.  She meets with patients and works out their medications and the staff doctors (mostly Dr. Adult) then meet with the patients throughout the year. We greatly appreciate her dedication to the Haitian people.

We were happy to have Beth come for a couple of weeks. She served in Haiti for many years and has taken the last 5 years to spend time with and take care of her parents in Ohio.  She has a lot to offer with her knowledge and experience; we hope she will be able to be visit the hospital more often and give us all guidance.

Beth Newton and Dr. Jo

It was really good to see Dr. Luke spend time with the staff of all the departments. I think he learned a lot from them and they realize that he cares for them and that their jobs are important.

I found the below picture in the office last week. I’m reminded not only of how thankful we are for everyone who helps make this ministry possible, but also of Dr. Bill and Tom Failing, who we greatly miss.

In Christ, Dan Boerman

October Trip

Well, this month’s travel was uneventful. Duane, Evert and I left Friday the 23rd for Haiti. We arrived at the hospital midafternoon on Saturday and were able to start planning for our week’s projects. Sunday Duane and I went to Renault with the Wrays and Evert visited a local church with one of our Haitian construction team members and our CSL administrator Welser. We spent the afternoon at the Wrays for a very delicious lunch and a round of Golf. Yes, I said Golf…. The Wrays have a putter course laid out on their yard. We are not golfers, however it is a lot of fun. I think Katie was the winner!

We had a very busy week planned. We had two to three hours a day planned for meetings with various people, a few maintenance issues to be dealt with, and several construction projects to prepare for, as we have teams coming in November, December and January.

Last month on Monday morning we had a sewer pipe plug. After several attempts we got it somewhat opened but felt there was something stuck in the pipe near the septic tank. This same issue happened about a year and a half ago, so we decided we should install a clean out near the septic tank. The problem is this tank is underneath a storage building. A hole needed to be made in the floor and the pipe found. We left this for our construction and maintenance guys to do during our absence. They found a pipe 7 feet down (all rock and gravel) and tunneled 11 feet before figuring out it was the wrong pipe. It took a day and a half to find the right pipe and get it opened up to a point where we could install the clean out and un-plug the pipe. Seems it is never easy.

The money situation continues to be a struggle there. The exchange rate has been 120 Gourdes to a US dollar. In the last two months the rate is now 62.5 to 1, causing everything we do to double in cost. The Haitian government also raised their minimum wage, which is causing us to try and figure out how to comply .

We have five construction projects started: a new Dental Clinic, a new Pediatric Ward, remodeling the old Dental Clinic for USAID, door and frame replacement for almost 100 doors, and roof upgrade and equipment room for the Solar system. We have several teams coming to help and our construction team is already hard at work. We moved the dental staff into their new building last week and the others are being worked on. There is a lot to do and we couldn’t even begin without the support we receive, be it monetary, giving up your time (and money) to come to CSL, or your prayers. We are so thankful for the support we receive.

We are thankful that Dr. Bill has returned home from his latest surgery. Please keep him in your prayers while he recovers. He continues to guide us as we work to improve the tools the staff have to work with and the training the staff is receiving to improve the service we supply. We are so happy to see the progress that is being made, with Dr. William completing his Surgical program, adding Dr. Lamy doing Orthopedic Surgery, and the new staff in the Physical Therapy area. There is a huge increase in the number of people being treated at CSL. This creates more opportunities for them to hear the Gospel as well.

Again, this year we would like to promote our Rice and Goat Fund. Dr. Bill started doing this at Christmas time as a way for our staff to have a Christmas gift. Also, we are raising money for our Solar system, and are happy to currently have someone willing to match up to 25,000 dollars. Please consider supporting this project as well. You can send gifts to us at the following address:

CSL

C/O Dan Boerman

2632 28th St. SW

Wyoming, MI 49519

 

In His Service,    Dan, Duane and Evert

 

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   

Haiti Update

Hi All:
We are safely at the hospital, have had some meetings and about to start seeing patients in the clinic.  As the violence has continued, the fear factor remains high among the people, as well as discouragement, as many wonder what the future holds for Haiti.  The elements calling for the resignation of the president are quite vocal, but will the instability only increase if he does depart?  The runaway inflation continues, due to the violence, the stores are empty as no one wants to order a container of supplies as they have no assurance that they will be able to get the goods from Port to the store.  No one dares leave their house for the most part in Port au Prince, from what I hear, so the whole country is at a standstill except for the troubling rioters, who seem to move about unhindered.

The meetings yesterday went quite well, follow up on decisions made is always a struggle here.  Some of it is my fault, as surgery keeps me tied up the majority of my time here, now, I am more feeble than before, so prioritizing what I need to address is always a bit up in the proverbial clouds.  Dr. William will be with us for a couple days to help in the OR and then will go back to his residency.  He kindly has volunteered to take our luggage back to Port for us in his car, as the four of us (without any baggage) weigh pretty close to the maximum weight that the plane can take.  I figure that, in addition to my 175 # with my clothes, including my heated coat with batteries, etc, I have about 80 pounds of TPN with ice packs, etc in the 2 carryons plus two suitcases with my IVs that weigh close to 50# each, a real struggle for me in my travels.  So, that will be a real blessing for us and pray that he will have a safe and uneventful trip back to Port on Tuesday night with the extra stuff, etc.   

So, we are looking forward to a productive week of work for our Saviour in this land of great medical, physical and spiritual need.  Pray for wisdom, safety and His direction in all that we do, that we may do it to His honor and glory.

In His Service, Dan, Duane, Mark and the (Feeble) Haitian Donkey

The Haitian Donkey And Friends Enjoy Working In The Homeland

Hi All:


It is hard to believe that it is Tuesday night already and we have passed the halfway mark in our work here again.  As requested in our brief update a week ago, we were somewhat concerned regarding the political upheavals here as well as my health concerns.  We are happy to thank you all for your prayer and support as we had a good trip down here, at least the Haitian Donkey and his friend, the Dutch Donkey, as we were joined in Atlanta by Duane and Ruth.  Tabitha, Linda and Robin came on American and were supposed to land in Port 2 hr before us, but had some weight trouble and had to return to the gate to off load some, so were there a bit before us.  We had a very slow trip to the hospital, about 6 hr, but partially because there were so many police stops in Port and we are thankful that that likely helps keep the rioting down somewhat.  So, everything comes with a price.

We arrived in Simon late on Saturday, the MEBSH folks had their annual convention at the 1500 seat church next door, where the whole courtyard was filled with benches and tarps and there was a huge screen attached to the church so that the thousands outside the courtyard could also profit from the singing and preaching.  We only got the tail end of the meetings, as the church is right next door to the hospital, but we enjoyed what we could understand of the services.  They were done on Sunday after the morning service but they really get into the fellowship and there reportedly were 10,000 people in attendance.  Apparently, they had people come inside in shifts so that it would be fair to all, all the cars that normally were in the courtyard were kept out so more people could attend, so we had people and vehicles everywhere (not that that many people have cars, maybe 50 or 60 were along the road.  People left in droves, a bunch went by on their way home in the back of a dump truck, singing away.  A good start to our week.

Evert (the Dutch Donkey, he also named himself) is a HVAC person from Lowell, MI, and has been invaluable at fixing stuff here.  Duane has been working with some of the Haitian team on storage shelving as well as getting the supplies we sent in a container from Bluffton a while back, including 2 new radiators for the generators, other needed supplies.  Evert has a couple Haitians working with him, they have repaired the truck in several needed places, including the AC and the broken off door handle, they replaced the well pump again and have a host of other projects lined up.  Duane is building some tables for the physical therapy department, as Mme Shaller has brought a physical therapy assistant and will work with her people to get the department back up and running, a great blessing for all concerned and a relief for me.  Both men will keep busy til they leave, as usual, as they have a rather long list of projects to complete.

Ruth, Linda and Robin have been organizing the pharmacy and taking inventory and putting it on the computer as we hope to work more efficiently in ordering and using our supplies, though admittedly, at times it seems impossible to get the Haitian doctors and pharmacy people to think outside the box.  Often it is like the patients back home who are convinced that Advil or Motrin works better than Ibuprofen, despite much higher cost for the same stuff.  They also are working on other organizational projects.

Surgery has been busy, we are very glad that Tabitha is here to help us in the OR.  We had 3 fairly difficult hysterectomies yesterday, 2 difficult hernias (and a couple easier ones) and a ruptured tubal pregnancy that was a bit of a struggle.  We also had an incarcerated hernia come in that had a very low blood pressure and, while we were stabilizing him for surgery, he passed away, a very sad surprise for us all.  Also had a lady in severe congestive heart failure, surely would like to have some of the medicines we use so freely in the US.  Today, we had an easy hysterectomy, a thyroid mass and some hernias that weren’t bad, but then had an add on exploration of the abdomen in a 65 yr old lady who looked well over 9 months pregnant and had had previous surgery, so lots of scar tissue and we had a sweat bath trying to sort it all out as she had huge masses all over her abdomen that were troublesome and stuck to everything, colon, small bowel, side walls of the abdomen and we struggled for hours to sort things out.  I am watching her carefully all night, trying to get some blood for transfusion, a difficult chore here in Haiti on a good day.  So, appreciate prayer for wisdom and healing for her.  Tomorrow has 11 cases scheduled, so if all show up, will be a run day.  Am thankful that my health is holding up but did not feel I could leave the patient tonight for a wonderful meal at Johannes and Luise’s house (Tabitha was late, I would be late also), but still have a lot to do and want to keep a close eye on her, her fluid balance, etc.

So, we thank you all for your prayers and support for the ministry, the trip over (and back) and our work output during our time here, that all we do may bring glory to our Savior, whose indescribable gift we will celebrate this coming weekend and the reason we all are here at Centre de Sante Lumiere.  Also, pray for Duane’s dad, he has been in and out of the hospital all last week and this one, now in Brookcrest with severe infections (we used to keep them in the hospital to stabilize them, now they get sent back out as soon as possible and end up coming back?)

In His Service,
Bill, Duane, Evert, Linda, Robin, Ruth, and Tabitha