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I wanted to give a quick update of our weekend with missionary David Farquharson from PAP, who came out to help install our solar electrical system. We spent three very busy and somewhat exhausting days up at the site (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with David and about 25 workers and had a very productive time. We had iron frames already made for the solar panels and decided that the best position for them (to avoid theft and vandalism) was on the roof of the second floor residence. So, one of the first orders of business was to get the racks up to the roof and then weld them all together. Each rack will hold two solar panels and there are 12 racks that had to get up there. The racks are heavy, but the Haitian workers carried and turned them around to get them into the right position as though they were light as a feather!

Arranging the solar panel racks on the second story roof

Arranging the solar panel racks on the second story roof

The iron workers put iron feet on the frames and started to drill through them to bolt them to the concrete roof. Unfortunately, the 5-6 steel drill bits that we had were quickly worn out, so the job wasn’t able to be completed. Just getting the frames welded together and up on the roof was an accomplishment, though.

Iron racks up on the roof of the residence with David and the iron workers trying to drill through the iron feet

Iron racks up on the roof of the residence with David and the iron workers trying to drill through the iron feet

The iron workers also had built an iron rack on which we want to put the 32 batteries that we’re installing. David helped decide on the final design of the rack and the ideal position in our storage depot.

 Iron rack ready to hold the 32 batteries that will store electrical energy for use at night and on cloudy days

Iron rack ready to hold the 32 batteries that will store electrical energy for use at night and on cloudy days

As many of you may know, the solar panels and batteries work with an inverter that converts the 12 volt power from the batteries to 110 volt household current. We have two large inverters that are connected together and had to be mounted in the electrical room of the storage depot. They will later be connected to the batteries and to the main electrical panels where the wires from the solar panels come in. All of the connections and wiring systems were worked on by David and Junior Thelisma, our Haitian electrician.

Junior and David putting the inverter system up on the wall in the electrical room of the storage depot

Junior and David putting the inverter system up on the wall in the electrical room of the storage depot

In order to connect all the wiring from the solar panels, David needed a special soldering gun that wasn’t available here in Jeremie. So, he’s planning to come back again next weekend to complete the wiring, place all the panels in position and connect up the batteries. Stay tuned for further updates! Thanks for all of your prayers on our behalf. We have been very blessed with David’s expertise (he’s installed many of these solar systems in Haiti and elsewhere) and his presence with us.

OTHER PROGRESS

We’ve continued to make progress on the residence quarters, where the kitchen counters were recently poured out of concrete. Holes were made for the sink and we’ll put ceramic tile on the counter tops.

Poured concrete counters in the residence kitchen

Poured concrete counters in the residence kitchen

This week brought the arrival of Mehil Jean Charles and his team of 4 who are here to install the ceramic tile in the residence area and in the entire pharmacy/lab/xray building. Boss Mehil helped install the tile at our house and also at the clinic, so we are well acquainted with one another. We appreciate his crew’s expertise and are very happy to have them with us again. They’ll be staying up at the site in our old clinic building! Thanks for good friends and hard workers!

Ceramic tile installation in the living room of the residence quarters

Ceramic tile installation in the living room of the residence quarters

 

It is not uncommon in Haiti to have children being raised by grandparents or other relatives. Sometimes their parents are living, but are unable to provide for the child. Sometimes, the parents are no longer living together and one of the grandparents assumes care of the child so the parents can be free to work and make a life for themselves. And, sometimes, the parents have died, leaving the child in the care of extended family members. In most situations, it is only when an extended family member or grandparent is unable to care for the child that they may be put into an orphanage.

In our medical clinic in Gatineau, we see many little children who are basically orphans, in situations such as the ones described above. I’d like to have you meet a few of them. They are some of our most precious patients and we make sure to give them extra love and affection when we see them. We often take money from our Poor Fund to pay for their medications so they won’t be a burden to their grandparents and caregivers.

You’ve already met Lucson and his brother Elie. When they first came to us, we didn’t know their names. Their mother had died and their father was in Port-au-Prince and unable to care for them, so their grandmother brought them home with her after her daughter’s (their mother’s) funeral. Lucson and Elie are full of life and energy and they keep their elderly grandmother busy.

Brothers Lucson and Elie after a recent consultation in the clinic

Brothers Lucson and Elie after a recent consultation in the clinic

Then, there’s Nouislene, the little girl who lost both of her parents and is being cared for by her great aunt. She had come to us with a facial laceration a few months ago after she fell off her porch and we sutured the laceration for her. Here’s a photo of her from last month. Her face has healed well and we love her smile (in spite of her bad teeth)!

Nouislene showing her healed facial laceration

Nouislene showing her healed facial laceration

Nouislene’s big smile and rotten teeth

Nouislene’s big smile and rotten teeth

Tamara Cejour is four years old and always has a sad face when she comes to the clinic. Her mother died recently and she is being cared for by her grandmother. We’ve given her a beanie baby to brighten her day and are praying that in time, her grief will lessen.

Tamara recently lost her mother and is still very sad

Tamara recently lost her mother and is still very sad

Little Charlesive Daniel is a two and a half year old bundle of energy, almost more than his grandmother can handle. His long hair is as wild as his personality, but he sat quietly during my examination and listened intently to what I had to say. He got a toy car as he left the clinic – a gift from children in my home church in New Jersey. He’s been in the care of his grandmother since he was an infant, abandoned by his young mother. One has to wonder what his future will hold?

Charlesive sits quietly on his grandmother’s lap in clinic during his consultation

Charlesive sits quietly on his grandmother’s lap in clinic during his consultation

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A HAIRCUT AND A FEW MONTHS MAKE!

One of our favorite patients is this little boy name Roodjumy (how’s that for a mouthful?), who came to the clinic with his mother in February of this year. He was all smiles and full of mischief.

 

Long hair and toothy smile

Long hair and toothy smile

Here is Roodjumy at the end of May with a new haircut and a more mature look (at the age of 14 months). We love these little boys and girls who brighten our days and soften our hearts.

Don’t we look handsome?!

Don’t we look handsome?!

 

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS

Steady progress continues on the second floor residence quarters, which is now nearly finished. The masons have now finished up the cupolas on the roof of the building – putting up blocks and doing the stucco work. As they finish work on the second floor, we’ve been painting it, taking advantage of the scaffolding that’s in place. Once the scaffold is taken down, there’s no good way to access the high walls and ceilings! We’re being helped in the painting process by the three young men who work with us – Gemi, Adrien and Guy-Johns.

 

Stucco work being done on the cupolas on the roof of the pharmacy and residence building

Stucco work being done on the cupolas on the roof of the pharmacy and residence building

Our three helpers using the scaffold to paint the outside ceilings

Our three helpers using the scaffold to paint the outside ceilings

We’ve also started building a small workshop area attached to the back of the storage depot. A door will be cut into the wall of the depot leading out to the workshop, which will have a half wall with the rest of the wall being iron grille work. This will give security for the tools and equipment, but allow for good ventilation for carpenters to work on our wood projects.

Foundation for the outside workshop area behind the storage depot

Foundation for the outside workshop area behind the storage depot

Also behind the depot will be a concrete slab and small building to house the backup generator. It will also have a half wall and iron grille work to allow for ventilation for the generator.

Foundation being dug for the generator enclosure behind the storage depot

Foundation being dug for the generator enclosure behind the storage depot

Inside the residence area and the “charcoal” outside kitchen, counters are being poured out of concrete, after which ceramic tile will be placed. Here is a photo of the kitchen counter in the outside kitchen, which is just outside the entrance to the residence, next to the stairwell leading downstairs to the pharmacy.

Frame work in place for kitchen counters

Frame work in place for kitchen counters

We are getting ready for two major events this weekend and would appreciate your prayers for us. First, we anticipate installing our solar panels, inverters and batteries for our electrical system, thanks to the help of a missionary from Port-au-Prince named David Farquharson. David will be working with our Haitian electrician and his crew in getting the whole system up and running. This is a huge step for us, since it means we will have not only electricity, but also running, filtered water in the clinic. Please pray!

In addition, we anticipate the arrival of the workmen who will be putting down the ceramic tile in the residence quarters and pharmacy/xray/lab building. They’ll be living up at the site and will be here for several weeks doing the ceramic installation. This represents tremendous progress for us in our construction and we thank you for your faithful prayers.

 

 

Last Thursday we had the biggest emergency in the history of our clinic in Gatineau. There’s a family that lives near the clinic and the parents have a lot of children, most of them grown. As is typical of many people who live near the clinic, they are very poor. We’ve seen most of the family in the clinic at one time or another with various illnesses.

Around 3pm on Thursday afternoon, just as we were winding up another busy clinic day, one of the daughters appeared with her aunt, complaining of severe abdominal pain. She was hunched over and groaning in pain. According to the aunt and her mother, the young woman had had pain for over three weeks, worse in the past couple of days. When I examined her abdomen, it was tight as a drum, indicating a potential surgical problem. After much encouragement, we were able to obtain a urine pregnancy test on her and it was positive. The diagnosis I suspected was a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This was a true surgical emergency!

We held a quick family conference with her parents and other family members and told them we were willing to take her in our jeep down to the hospital in Jérémie, so that she could see a surgeon and potentially undergo an operation. They were agreeable, although all of us knew they didn’t have the money to pay for care at the hospital. So, we put her in the back of the jeep, with family members holding her on the seat and made the very painful drive down to Jérémie. She yelled with each bump in the road due to irritation of the lining of her abdomen from blood that was most likely inside. Cherlie tried to offer words of encouragement and I just concentrated on driving!

When we got to the government hospital, I went right to the Emergency Room and spoke with the young Haitian physician who was in charge. All the beds in the ER were full and he looked like it would take him all night to get finished seeing all the patients. But, when he heard the story, he told a nurse to fix a bed in another side room and, after examining her abdomen himself, proceeded to call in the surgeon and the ultrasound technician. I went with the mother to the pharmacy to buy IV needles, syringes, medications and IV fluids. The bill came to 680 Haitian gourdes. The mother had all of 200 gourdes in her purse. Needless to say, our priority at that point was saving this girl’s life. Within an hour, she had obtained an ultrasound, had lab tests done, was examined by the gynecologist who did, indeed, find blood when he put a needle in her abdomen, and was in the operating room. The total price of everything I had to buy to get her there, including the purchase of sterile gloves, suture material, antibiotics, and scalpel was 5235 Haitian gourdes or about 120 US dollars. She lived through the surgery and is recovering in the hospital now.

To all of our donors, we say “Thank you” for allowing us to have the privilege of serving the Lord in this country. Together, that day, we saved a life!

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