Forced by a serious illness, I had to leave Inland Haiti last month. It’s my hope to be back on the “field” within 6 months. Prognosis is not good, but I trust in God and your prayers.
I need to fight now another battle…The change for me from doctor to patient is not an easy one, but – as for now – a “must.” After so many years of work to assist our poorest and most persecuted brothers and sisters in many regions where I saw no help at all, I am now forced to take care of myself as blood and other tests revealed alarming symptoms. It will probably take months to get over this, but I do hope for a good outcome and count on all of you! When storms surround us and try to wipe us out, we know that His strength will come up to overcome any battle.
I had been reading for the last 4-5 years a lot of books and followed webinars (when available) about how to treat chronic diseases and cancer in a natural way. I did this in fact as I became – as a Doctor – more and more aware of seriously chronic diseases — and also cancer — even in the poorest regions on earth. Where I’ve been working in Haiti recently there is no electricity, no drinking water and of course, no schooling/education.
Now, I am thankful to God that he has given me the needed wisdom in advance as I am putting myself to the test of my own knowledge. I, of course, do not ignore classic Medicine either, but I must confess that I am kind of skeptical when it comes to healing chronic diseases, heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, etc. with just traditional medicine.
Anyway, after, 6 weeks of a rather self-made treatment, I must say that I feel a hundred times better than in the beginning of March when I found myself almost panicking being in the middle of nowhere (inland Haiti). I only feel tired quickly and know that I should still rest more and do some more exercise.
It’s really hard for me to leave so many people on the Mission Fields as I see them as my own family after decades of working with them. My nature wants to go on and yes – be assured – Doctors on Mission will go on everywhere as I can follow up online and have been able to build up a good local leadership. So, we keep counting on all of you to keep many alive, to give them the proper medicine and surgeries and in the case of the Haiti orphans, housing and education to help them learn fishing.
Right now, I am in my home country, somewhere in the middle of the Flanders in Belgium, living in a trailer and converting my kitchen into a kind of self-made laboratory 😉 Here, I am surrounded with the love of my own family. It gives me peace and strength! Healthcare here is very accessible, although I do a lot of treatment which isn’t officially recognized, so I’m not reimbursed and therefore it becomes rather expensive.
In the meantime, my experiences in Northern Pakistan came near to my own capital Brussels (Belgium) with the bombings of our beautiful airport and in the center of Brussels during March. This is more or less 50 minutes away from where I live. I am very thankful that especially the bomb attack in the Metro Station Maelbeek near the European Commission did not put harm to my daughter Karolien who had just started an internship at the European Commission on March 1st. Thank God, she is fine and last weekend we had a great weekend together. Out of safety reasons, I brought her back to the center of Brussels and I must say that I saw things I have never seen before in our very peaceful nation. A lot of armed policemen and soldiers were seen everywhere in the center. This is so hard to believe of this country of milk and honey. Many said that Belgium has never experienced such a tragedy since the end of World War II (1945!).
As you know, dozens were killed and hundreds were very severely wounded. Many lost arms, legs, feet, hands, etc. There are about 50 people still in Intensive Care.
Karolien had just completed her studies in Political and Social Sciences with emphasis in International Humanitarian Rights, especially for women and children (she graduated Magna Cum Laude in York, UK). She could not start her final Master’s Degree in London, UK because of lack of funds. This, despite receiving scholarships and taking out the maximum amount of loans.
Before York, Karolien studied first for 1 year in Journalism and Creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.
Karel-Bart, has been married for a year and a half already. He graduated in Pre-Med with Suma Cum Laude in Boston and is now doing his second Medical Year (it’s the 6th year of medicine for Europeans) at Columbia University in New York. Both are Missionary Kids born in the Andes in Bolivia… more than 20 years ago.
On my last trip, I was able to continue with the beautiful work among the orphans in Morency, Haiti and also was able to see a lot of patients. Among the cruelties happening in this world, it feels like the best that one can do to bring health and hope among so many desperate people and children.
We had just finished one of the 10 planned units. Each unit costs $15,000 which includes: a dormitory, beds, small kitchen, hygienic toilets, showers and a big dining room (where also school is given and where I can do the clinic work as well).
It’s our hope to soon start a second unit in Morency, and a first one in the mountains in Manceau. I just got a report that there has been donated a property to start building the units. I asked for the properties from the locals as kind of a counter-part. Also, much of their labor work is for free.
Manceaux is approximately a 16 hour drive from Morency, and you need to pass the city of Port au Prince as Morency is in the far southwest on the sea coast and Manceaux is in the far northeast, in the mountains. After that drive, I started to feel very tired and ill. I had all kind of pains and thought it was the famous Zika Virus that is affecting millions throughout South America and the Caribbean, but my situation turned out much worse…
Anyway, thank God I am currently doing better and I could build up strong professional leadership, not only in Haiti but certainly also in Bolivia and Northern Pakistan.
Dear friends, I just received disastrous news (again!). Dr. Esther, a faithful servant of the Lord – who helped for years in our Medical Clinics, has lost her husband Fernando, a Pastor. She is left behind with a little beautiful daughter of only 3 years. Pastor Fernando got involved in an accident on the dangerous roads in the Andes. Please pray for her and her family!
I myself follow the work now from Belgium as well as possible and have in each country / region an appointed local Director to work with. So, once again, the work of Doctors on Mission therefore continues! But also again… without your help, this mission would never have come this far, and with your continued prayers and support it will thrive! And for those who might question, we have 0% administration costs. 0%! That’s right. It’s all done from my Laptop or through the volunteer work of Western boards.
Simply put, without your help for nutrition and medicine, these children would not survive, so thank you for all that you do! Without proper education, they cannot learn to fish and put their own bread on the table. Without providing some basic shelter (see our Facebook page: Facebook.com/DoctorsonMission) or giving them a bed, they cannot sleep. Without the necessary transportation in Bolivia, we couldn’t reach out to the Quetchua’s, Guaranies and several smaller Amazonian tribes with our teams in Bolivia. Without wheelchairs, the Pakistani orphans literally would be kept sitting in “their” corner and without sewing machines, many Pakistani widows would not have a means to make a living after their husbands had been cruelly martyred, mutilated or murdered. Without your help, there would be no hope for life, so once again, on their behalf, thanks!
To be continued 😉
A note from our Board Secretary:
Dear Supporters of Doctors on Mission,
As you’ve heard from Dr. Rik, he has been facing some very difficult health challenges, no doubt brought on in part by the gruelling work he has done for decades in hostile environments. Rik is paid a nominal salary and now has medical expenses that exceed what his salary can cover, plus he needs a better housing arrangement in Belgium in the near future. Some supporters have wanted to send a designated offering for his care. If you would like to do the same, please mark it “For Dr. Rik’s Care.” If paying by PayPal, you can include that in the comments after logging in to PayPal (there will be a link that you need to click that says ‘Specify if this is a designated donation’).