Wednesday, 15 April 2020

What's going on in Haiti?

We have been trying to stay in touch with friends in Haiti as much as we can so we can see how things are.

As of today there have been 40 confirmed case of coronavirus and 3 deaths with the majority of these cases being in Port au Prince. I know it doesn't sound like a lot at all when we compare to how things are in other parts of the world but only 439 tests have been done out of a population of 11 million people.  It is highly likely the cases are much higher than will ever be reported.

The big concern for Haiti is that there are more than likely no hospitals prepared for this pandemic if things were to get much worse. It is estimated there are less than 50 ventilators in the whole country and some of these probably do not work.

Government advice is to stay home, wash your hands, if you need to go out stay 2m away from other people.  Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited and like many of us schools, universities and churches are all closed.  Haiti's president has said these measures we will be in place until the end of June.

But, it is almost impossible to social distance, to bulk buy, to stay home when the only way you can survive is to buy the little food you need for each day, everyday.

It is impossible to wash you hands every time you touch something or someone when you don't have running water at home or maybe even can't afford to have everyone in your house to be using up the soap so quickly.

Needless to say the damage coronavirus could do to an already very damaged Haiti doesn't bear thinking about.

Here are the measures Bethesda has put in place to protect our staff and patients and try to stop the spread of the virus.

  • A hand washing station has been set up at the gate
  • A triage unit has been set up at the gate
  • A barrier has been put in place and the physio room will be used as a isolation room.
  • Markers have been put on the ground to ensure social distancing 
  • Extra chairs have been set out for social distancing 
  • Staff devotions have been split into 4 groups
  • Patient devotions have been split into groups
  • Extra cleaning materials have been bought
  • Dr Rodney is  looking for PPE for our staff
  • All patients are educated on a daily basis as to how they have protect themselves

Today we are having our monthly day of prayer where we are encouraging anyone who wants to join us in praying for Haiti and for Bethesda to sign up for a 30 minute slot so we can have the whole day covered in prayer.  We still have a few slots left and if are able to commit to praying please click here and sign your name up.

You can also download our April prayer guide  which will give you some guidance on what to pray for.  

Emmaus has obviously been closed since the first two cases were announced as Haiti closed all its schools and universities. Emmaus administration has been meeting regularly to discuss how to move forward.  With most, if not all of our students having no electricity or internet at home it is impossible to use zoom for online classes.  There are just 5 weeks left of the semester and the administration would love to be able to have those completed before the new semester is supposed to start at the end of August.  Please pray for wisdom for the administration, pray for protection for our students and staff who are in Haiti.  

There are also lots or rumours going round about coronavirus, some people believe it doesn't even exist and the government has made it up to try to get money.  Other rumours include if you drink bleach water  or take choloroquine (a malaria medicine) you will be protected from the virus. 

Some in Haiti are preparing as best as they can, some are waiting and some are carrying on life as normal because they feel they have no other choice. 

Friday, 3 April 2020

Be thankful

We are getting used to be in another house ( the 5th house we have lived in the past 4 years) but not really getting used to the cold weather!  It's a hard time, not just for us, but for everyone.  Instead of complaining or losing perspective I've been trying to focus my mind on the many things I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for being back in NI where if any of us needed medical care we would have it.
I am thankful for safe travels and for kids who travelled for 48 hours without one single meltdown.
I am thankful for a place to stay, a whole house with a garden for the boys to run about.

I am thankful for whatsapp which allowed us to stay in touch while travelling and for now which allows us to talk to our friends in Haiti and America and Canada.

I am thankful that we have done a lot of staying home over the last 18 months which means this is not a big adjustment for the boys.  Due to many periods of political instability school was cancelled and we didn’t leave the Emmaus campus for weeks at a time. So we are used to staying home and have already figured out what works (and what doesn’t) for our family.

I am thankful for the family of Christ.  We still cannot believe how many people were praying for us over this past week. How great it is to be united in Christ.  On the plane from Paris to Dublin we met an Irish guy (he was one of the 6 other people on the flight), of course he asked where we were travelling from and right away we told him we were missionaries in Haiti.  Turns out he was working in Paris but his reason for going was to be a missionary and share the gospel.  We chatted the whole way back to Dublin and it was just great to be able to talk to and share with something who has some of the same experiences as you.

I am thankful Carol was able to bring me in a new phone (my phone had broke a couple of weeks before that) just two weeks before we left Haiti.  Little did we know at that time how much we would need a good phone, with data and a good battery!  Otherwise I would not have been able to be in touch with the British embassy or stay in touch with my family the whole way home.

Don't be deceived by the sun...its freezing!

I am thankful to be able to make sandwiches with bread that I didn’t have to make myself, and buy ham and not have to ration cheese!

I am thankful for all those who left toys, clothes, colouring stuff and food for us.

I am thankful for my family who organised everything in the house for us and keep bringing us food as we are in quarantine.

I am thankful to be able to make dinner in 30 minutes and put the laundry away at the same time...who knew that was possible.

I am thankful that our boys are coping incredibly well considering we just dragged them half way across the world and can't tell them when they can see their family or friends or when we will be going back to our Haiti home.

I am thankful for running water, soap, electricity, the internet, central heating and the privilege to be able to stay home....almost all of our friends in Haiti cannot do this.

Our handwashing station at the entrance to Bethesda. 

I am thankful for Altidor and Echebert still working in the physiotherapy department and sending me photos and information I need to keep the facebook page up to date.

I am thankful for Yverose who will be checking our house a couple of times a week and feeding Bello, Bello (our cat!).

With so many unknowns about the future and no way to plan anything I am thankful that God is in control and all we need to do is trust and obey him and take it one day at a time.

Do not be anxious about anything, 

but in every situation,

 by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, 

present your requests to God. 
Phillippians 4 v 6 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, 
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
 Each day has enough trouble of its own. 
Matthew 6 v 34 

Rejoice always,
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-18


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