After our expedition in the Amazon, we went to help out with our medical team…
Time flies so fast… In my previous Newsletter, I was talking about the dramatic circumstances and consequences of Super Typhoon Hayan when I was working in the Philippines to help out a missionary on several islands where no medical professionals had arrived. Reconstruction still goes on there. Many people have forgotten about the aftermath with thousands and thousands of people waiting in refugee camps while tropical diseases started to make even more havoc. I needed to move back to Haiti: another Island, another aftermath as earthquake, cholera epidemic and Hurricane Sandy took place during the last years on this already extreme poor island.
The team was waiting for me. Medications had been prepared and delivered to our two clinics in the interior of Haiti. We could purchase an initial stock of medicines for each center. These stocks are not locally available stocks! They get depleted every day and can only be replenished outside of the area. We can’t count on the local people to pay even a minimum for their medicine as we have chosen to work with the poorest of the poor in the Haitian inland. We are also looking for the needed funds to support a nurse in each clinic who will be able to take care of the needy on a daily base and make contact with Port-au-Prince if further medical assistance is needed.
It was time to move on with our typical medical / pastoral expeditions to reach the orphans and extreme poor children in the places we work. They needed our physical and spiritual assistance.
Our outreach started again with major problems due to defects of our old 4 x 4 Toyota Land Cruiser. We could fix the problem and move on to reach Manceau in the North-East and Morency in the far South-West corner of the island.
We went first to the mountainous region in Manceaux, Artibonite. There is no electricity, no Internet and no contact with the world outside. I was the first ‘white’ man who ever came there. There is no educational system either … Yet, a few have learned to read and write mainly thanks to some local people who instructed them in the local church.
This is the place where Doctors on Mission helped Pastor St. Louis to pay off the debt of his church. This action saved the Pastor from years of prison in terrible circumstances that was only a few days away from happening. The Pastor preferred to use the little money he had to feed the orphans instead of paying of his mortgage.
It’s great that everyone now has clothes and one meal a day, but we couldn’t reach our goal to have shelter for them. The vision is there. The plans are clear. Still, we will need to look for further guidance and will proceed step by step, waiting for divine provision to create a beautiful place there.
Our clinic work was now a lot more organized as the medicine was already there. We had rooms to work in. So, for first time, I didn’t need to sit outside to see my patients.
In Manceau I experienced a very nice moment when many children were standing around me in front of a dilapidated hut. They started to sing spontaneously two beautiful songs a cappella. In their song, they thanked God for the help that had come to them. You can view this video and many pictures from Haiti on Facebook by searching on ‘Rik Celie’ or ‘Doctors on Mission’ and then scroll down.
A very long drive then took us out the mountains to Morency where we have a similar work. This also can be seen on Facebook. The children of Morency are recognizable by their yellow uniforms. Some people made these for them. The situation is more or less the same as in Manceau. There is no shelter and no utilities or facilities that would make their living a little more bearable. Temperatures are very high and quickly go upwards to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
It was wonderful to see all these children again. They now look a lot healthier, have clothes and we try to give them their daily food. Thank God that we now have in this place a small clinic and medicines. This allows us to work better organized and more efficiently.
I observed in both regions that expectations toward Doctors on Mission are high. The local people really want to change their communities to be a better place to live. Even if we had the money, it would be a big challenge to bring the needed materials in these regions since they are very difficult to access.
The need in all of the inland is so high that it’s hard to believe. We hope to be able to count on more monthly contributions to set up better budgets to help the needy.
Meanwhile, nurse Zephir, a nurse of our DM team got a successful intervention. She was recently married, became pregnant but the fetus had died in her belly and she needed an urgent intervention to save her own life. Zephir has been part of the team since 2010.
In the meantime, I was challenged by a lot of problems in Pakistan. However, many severe cases from the minority groups received vital help. We now support the studies of two Pakistani Christian nurses. The costs are extra high because they are Christians and not Muslims.
There is also an ongoing severe famine in Tharparkar (Sindh province). Dozens of children had already died due to a severe drought that prevails there. We have sent our team to go there and were able to be a blessing for many.
In the next newsletter, I will talk more about Bolivia, my next mission.
For more information, visit our website www.DoctorsOnMission.org
Thank you for all your prayers and help!
Rik and all DM team members.