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

A Busy Month

Much has happened within the last month to give God thanks for – the safe arrival of a container with solar and medical supplies, orthopedic surgeries by a medical team, and installation of the solar system.

On February 8 we shipped a container that contained the last of the solar equipment needed to finish installation, along with many building and medical supplies. It was troubling to hear that another ministry’s container had recently been hijacked and everything in it stolen. The cost of our container’s contents concerned us. How could we ensure its safe delivery from Port Au Prince to the hospital? We decided to send our container and truck on a barge, avoiding gang areas by moving it along the coast and then driving the rest of the way. Other organizations have been doing the same. With much prayer, we left it in Gods’ hands. The container left Port Au Prince on a Friday and we expected it late that same day, but it was a no show. Saturday was a day of worries as it still didn’t show. Dr. Moise received word from the driver late afternoon that he was broke down and would be there by 10pm. Again, a no show. Another call from the driver and we expected it 5am on Sunday. What a blessing to see the container finally arrive at 7am! Duane had arrived with a team on Saturday afternoon, so they were able to help with the unloading process. Although it was a stressful wait, we are continually amazed at God’s providential timing.

The team with Duane included Tabitha, Dr. Dylan Nugent (who previously came after the earthquake), Emily Hutcheson, & Daniel Bravin. While Duane organized in preparation for the solar team, Tabitha did some much needed work organizing one of our medical storage areas. She also spent time in the pharmacy, analyzing the inventory and how best to order supplies. Dr. Dylan and his group worked with Dr. Lamy performing orthopedic surgeries. We are starting to be recognized as having a good orthopedic program, and as a result we are seeing more serious cases. If you haven’t been to Haiti before, visualize roughly 100 scooters for every car, travelling every direction and on all sides of the road, so it is no surprise that most of these cases are the results of scooter accidents. Our staff desires to learn better skills and procedures, and we are grateful for those who share themselves, coming and working alongside our staff.

A few days after the medical team left for home (with the exception of Duane), another work team arrived, this time for solar installation. I was joined by fellow church members Bryan Johnson and Mark Snyder, along with three Smucker’s Energy techs, Jay, Justin, and Alex. Installation took 5 extremely long days. We had the system up and running on Friday, but unfortunately a major component failed Friday evening. Not what we wanted to happen, but our whole week had gone the same way. Several times we realized we had bought the wrong components or were short on different supplies. Duane had come to the rescue throughout the week and Friday evening was the same when he found a replacement component at another local ministry. Once again, God’s constant provisions are humbling. Saturday morning the system was up and running again, performing perfectly. What a blessing it is to have electricity 24/7, especially as our generators and inverter system batteries are at the end of their lives. Thank you men for your extra efforts! This has been a huge project, and I don’t want to forget all those who have worked and donated funds, preparing for this moment. God has richly blessed us throughout this project and it is a joy to see it completed.

Our home rebuilding program is also progressing. We are providing funds as they become available to repair employee’s homes damaged by the earthquake. After we provide an initial sum, employees must show receipts and pictures of work being done before additional money is given. Duane also did onsite inspections during his almost 3 week stay. John Eddy’s home has been finished and his family have moved back in. If you would like to support this effort, please include a note with your donation.

Life in Haiti continues to be hard. Inflation has hit them as hard, if not harder, as we are experiencing in the United States. The political situation continues to spiral downhill, and the after effects of the earthquake continue. Traveling from Haiti has gone from being as easy as can be expected to as difficult as possible. This trip had many travel adventures, starting on the way down. One of the Smucker’s techs had a flight delay, causing him to miss his original flight and not receive his bag. American Airlines cancelled one of our flights home and rescheduled for the next day. More seriously, a protest occurred at the Les Cayes airport while we there. The protestors broke the fence down, overwhelmed security, pushed a plane into the street, and burned it. The airport closed indefinitely, cutting off our normal means back to Port Au Prince. We have been flying in and out of this airport from Port Au Prince for some time now to avoid the dangerous roads. We purchased tickets to fly out of Jeremy instead (a 2.5-hour drive from Les Cayes), only to find out before we left that a bridge was out and we couldn’t drive all the way there. Our driver, John Eddy, gave us a ride to the bridge in the back of a truck, and another ride was arranged to get us the rest of the way to the airport after we walked over the bridge. The Jet Blue flight out of Port Au Prince that took the Smucker’s guys home was delayed 6 hours, forcing them to drive home to Pennsylvania from Fort Lauderdale once they landed. Duane’s flight was also cancelled and he had a 26-hour layover in Miami. I think I got it all – what a mess!

We are continually grateful to all of you for your support and prayers. We pray that God will continue to bless this ministry and that Christ will be glorified in all that we do. May we be instruments in the Redeemer’s hands.

In Christ, Dan Boerman

Solar Install Begins

Our journey of installing solar began a few years ago when Dr. Bill, Duane and I spent time brainstorming ways to stabilize the electrical system at the hospital. EDH, the government’s electric provider, had been supplying less and less electric and we had to rely on our generators more and more. Solar seemed to be an unattainable option, and yet it was the only effective long-term solution. So we stocked up on diesel fuel and spare parts for our generators, disconnected from EDH, added some batteries, and started researching solar. We did a study of our usage, looked at a few systems, talked to several companies, and ended up getting a couple quotes. The quotes came in seemingly beyond reach, so we decided to proceed with an a la carte approach. Smucker’s Energy, who installed a system at our sister hospital, was our choice to supply the solar system.

We sent a team last week, including a technician from Smucker’s Energy, to install 240 solar panels on the roof that two work teams replaced last fall. The balance of the solar equipment will ship on a container on Feb 7. Please pray for safe transport as we leave this in God’s hands. Once that arrives, another team will go to do the final hook-up, followed by a second team to update the existing wiring throughout the hospital.

We want to give a special thank you to all those who have supported this project. Our fundraising started with a sizeable donation from Dr. Bill, but once our need and desire was known, your generosity enabled us to purchase the whole system without doing the piecemeal approach. We also want to thank all those who have worked on this project, giving of their time and talents. Although we faced many delays – Covid, solar components stuck on a cargo ship, a container delayed in Haiti – God has been so good and has provided more than we could have imagined. This system will allow the staff to serve the Haitian people without limitations every day, not only healing bodies, but through God’s grace, their souls as well.

Back Row: Dan Boerman, Tom Vander Kodde, Micah Baxter. Middle Row: Kelly Grifhorst, Evert Bek, Jay (Smucker’s tech). Front Row: Paul Grifhorst, Dr. Jose.

The hospital has calmed down since the earthquake, although they still have tremors, 3 just this week. We are trying to get back to some kind of normal. The community has learned that we are doing surgery every day, and that keeps our beds full and the staff busy. Please pray for the staff changes that were made as they adjust to their new positions. They are all doing a wonderful job.

Thank you again for your continued support and prayer for our ministry.

In Christ,

Dan Boerman

Earthquake Relief Update

Much has happened since the earthquake struck southern Haiti on Saturday, August 14 at 8:30 am. Duane and I had returned home that morning when reports started filtering in that the damage was severe but that there was still activity at the hospital. We quickly made plans to return the next week with a team.It amazes me how God supplies in times of need and He most certainly did that day, with members of the community immediately offering assistance (I don’t even know who most of them were or how to properly thank them) and with the help of the team recruited by Dr. Jose from Cox Health – Dr. Nugent, Gail, and Sean. Thank you for your hearts of service and your desire to assist those in Haiti.
Since our return on the 28th, the staff has been operating on their own. They are tired, but continue to serve. Our focus right now is on repair. There is a sense of urgency because once infection sets in we will be forced to do a lot of amputations. We have had to perform some already, mostly due to severe damage. We will do everything we can to save limbs because the disabled in Haiti have an extremely hard time surviving.

We had a very good working relationship with Samaritan’s Purse while they had their mobile hospital in Les Cayes and have exchanged patients and supplies back and forth for the past 4 weeks. This week they shut down their operation and we will be assuming responsibility for follow-up of their patients. They were kind enough to leave us with supplies and equipment that we can use, including a portable x-ray machine that we have had a need of for a long time. Often it’s difficult to work with other organizations as we all have our own agendas, but it was awesome to work alongside of Samaritan’s Purse with our common goals. We give a special thanks to them for serving the Haitian people.

Along with everything else, we are moving forward with the installation of the solar system, planned for the middle to end of January. The earthquake has demonstrated the need for reliable electricity even more. We sent a container on September 1 with the panels and mounting hardware, along with a lot of building materials we will need for planned repairs on employee’s homes. We are exploring the extent of damage to their homes and how we might help them.

You have all responded to our request for donations in tremendous ways that we couldn’t have imagined. Thank you for your generous financial support – God is good. We have raised enough funding that we can confidently extend free services to the earthquake victims until October 20, and we will be putting an additional $10,000 into our poor fund for other needs. We have a team leaving for Haiti on October 12 (Dr. Luke, his daughter Maddy, Duane, Ruth, & Tabitha). They will assist in the treatment of patients and evaluate if there is a continued need to extend free services. Our plan is to build up the poor fund as needed.

We will continue to keep you informed. I wish I had some pictures to share as they always say a 1,000 words – hopefully I will have more next time.

Please continue to keep our staff and their families in your prayers while they continue to put in long, busy hours; for the victims and their families; for those who lost their homes as they try to find solutions; for us to make wise decisions; and for our chaplains as they seek to share the gospel message with all who come through CSL’s doors.

Praise the Lord for all He has done.
Dan with Duane, Dr. Jose, Dr. Luke, and Tabitha

A Busy Hospital

It has been 12 days since the earthquake struck Haiti. We arrived at the hospital on Friday afternoon, the 20th. There were patients lying everywhere – outside, under awnings/trees (anywhere to get shade), in waiting areas – literally anywhere they could find a spot. We went right to work preparing for an early start on Saturday. Since then our team and the hospital staff have made huge progress. This morning is calmer; there were fewer people sleeping on the grounds last night. There are a few tremors happening from time to time and a lot of the Haitians are scared to sleep inside. Can’t say as I blame them.

Team from Cox Health Center – Dr. Jose Dominguez, Sean Apple, Dr. Dylan Nugent, Gail Dooling
Medical supplies meeting us at the airport in Port Au Prince

We are so thankful that God spared the hospital from damage, allowing us to remain fully functional. Up until Sunday, when Samaritan’s Purse’s mobile hospital became functional, we were the only hospital fully operating in the area. We had a meeting with Samaritan’s Purse on Sunday and are working together to best treat some of the most difficult cases.

Meeting with Samaritan’s Purse

It is hard watching patients wait for treatment as we prioritize and do the worst cases first. There is one man who for days has been on a hospital gurney in the middle of the clinic waiting area. I think his family moved him there so he could get some air, or maybe so we would have to see him every time we walk through. His right leg is broken and he has a cardboard splint stabilizing his leg. It is even harder to see the kids; we’ve cast their broken legs and arms and sent most of them home.  It’s the ones who have lost arms and legs, they are the hardest.  A three-year-old, who had to have her arm removed yesterday is maybe the worst. In a country like Haiti, losing an arm or a leg will make your life very difficult, as if it’s not difficult here already.

The team from Springfield, Missouri, continue to work very hard, trying to get through as many difficult cases as they can with the time they have here. What a blessing to have them here. Dr. Dylan Nugent did his post residency program in Kenya, Gail Dooling spent 14 years in Papua New Guinea, Sean Apple has spent time in Pakistan, and Dr. Jose was a doctor in the army. Having Dylan, Gail, Sean, and Jose who are used to dealing with trauma in less than ideal conditions have helped get through these difficult cases. Sometimes special experiences are priceless. Today we had an emergency C-section come in the middle of concentrating on orthopedic cases; the baby was just stuck, time was running out, and Gail new exactly what to do and pushed in the right area, releasing the baby.

Dr. Jose Dominguez, Gail Dooling, Sean Apple, Dr. Dylan Nugent

A big shout out to our staff of doctors and nurses who have put in countless hours treating those in need. I’m aware of 6 staff members who continue to put long days in here when their homes have been destroyed. John Eddy’s family comes every night and sleep on benches in the community health area. How to help these staff members will be a challenging question to answer in the near future.

Visiting our OR nurse, Miss Lise Berth. Her home was destroyed in the earthquake.

We have a couple more days of work before we head home.  We were notified yesterday that our flight out was cancelled. No explanation – just cancelled.  We tried to reschedule for Friday but all flights were full.  We really don’t want to leave early and leave cases undone.  We are working on options but it is out of our hands.  Please pray for a good solution.

Thank you to all for your donations sent since the earthquake hit. Keeping the hospital operating through this time without billing for services is expensive, and it is a blessing to see how God is already providing.  We appreciate your prayers and support.

Dan Boerman