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

Or:

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 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   

The Haitian Donkey Is In The Waiting Game (Sigh)

Hi All:

As mentioned before, Duane and I had planned on going the 8th of June, but the violence that prevented our trip is still going on.  I spoke with Dr. Moise this morning, things are settled down in Cayes somewhat, but the road to Port au Prince remains blocked by the rioters.  Thus, trucks and buses have been unable to bring people and goods where they need to go.  It also means that our teams cannot get back and forth, specifically the next trip planned for the 9th of July, unless things calm down quickly. Duane and Jim Webb (a retired surgeon in the GR area that helps out whenever needed and his health is good enough, he is a real trooper). 

Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get back on my feet with healing of the abscess in my lower left abdomen, the fistula that peeks out it’s ugly head in the lower aspect of my incision after likely being quiet for 3 years (we can’t be sure, but it is in the same place, though putting out nastier stuff).  We also need to be sure my line infection clears up in the midst of all this.  Plus, I have lost considerable weight and need to get my strength and blood counts up, not easy to do on only clear liquids (to try to heal the fistula without further, risky surgery).  It all amounts to the Haitian Donkey having even scrawnier legs and ambling along in a somewhat less than robust fashion.

In the midst of all this, we are working on finishing the basement at James and Jenn’s house so I can move in there with the remaining kitty cat of Karens and selling our house.  Many people have done a tremendous amount of work to help us and we now pray that things can be completed in the near future and I can begin to find where things are?  Also, we are still trying to get all the paperwork associated with the death of my wife arranged, including setting up things so that it will be easier for the kids in the event of my homegoing.  As you know, I have been preparing things for Karen to have and do after I would pass away, we weren’t quite prepared for what happened and still miss her terribly. 

Pray for wisdom for all these situations, especially for peace to return to Haiti, where the people have suffered so much for so long with no reasonable end in sight. 

In His service,

Bill, Rachel, James and Jenn 

The Haitian Donkey is not Welcome in His Homeland

Hi All:
I should be in Haiti, letting you know of the work progress and enjoying the warmth of the sun. However, Dr. William called me Friday morning and said that the hospital he is training in, the largest government hospital in Port au Prince, was shutting down all operations possible and sending people home for their safety as demonstrations scheduled for Sunday were started early.  After checking with several other colleagues, both Haitians and Expats, Duane and I reluctantly decided it would not be prudent to risk it and we cancelled.  Admittedly I have been fighting a fever and have started my third IV antibiotic since Karen passed away, as well as an oral one and still feeling under the weather, but didn’t want to disappoint my brothers and sisters there.

One of our reliable contacts are our fellow missionaries and dear friends, Johannes and Luise, but they were about an hour up the road from the hospital towards Port, usually things have calmed down considerably once we get a couple hours out towards the hospital, so well within the “calm zone.”  We could not contact them due to them being away from the internet, etc.  They contacted us yesterday morning and said it was God’s Wisdom that we did not go, as they had 3 roadblocks on the way back home for that hour run, two of which they got through but the third pelted them with stones.  Their vehicle is clearly marked as MEBSH so they didn’t respect that and would likely not have respected them.  They had to back up and take the two track roads back home (almost everyone has 4 wheel drives, a necessity there).  Rod had similar problems getting home from the Sunday School/Feeding Program and Johannes and Luise said that no one was even able to come to be seen at the hospital (and thus would not be able to come for surgery) due to the violence.  So, once again, the country is struggling with no clear resolution in sight as it is a longstanding, complex situation that brought this on and who all is/are the real culprit(s) is very unclear.

Since I was staying home, the sore lump on my belly wall that I have had for 3 years, since Dr. Dan De Cook drained my fistula, had been growing more tender. I blamed it on lifting boxes in our attempt to move out of our house into James and Jenn’s basement, not that the family would let me do much, they consider me a first class wimp, I fear.  But, I figured to contact Dan as I had a light schedule and he graciously saw me on Monday, did an ultrasound and drained a bunch of smelly pus, cancer cells and who knows what else out.  So, I have another pipe sticking out of my belly which doesn’t always give the best of odors, he will see me in a week and decide if he needs to take me to the OR and clean things up more extensively, which I am fearful he will likely do. 

So, would appreciate prayer for wisdom and strength for the above situations, both for Haiti and my personal health.  Also, I want to thank all of you once again for all your prayers, notes of encouragement and just many offers to help in any way in this difficult time in our lives.

In His Service,

Bill and Duane (and Rachel, James and Jenn)