It was good to take a team to Tricotte after a year of postponements and cancellations due to the political unrest. A team from Washington State University spent two weeks in Haiti, ministering in our schools and spending time with our orphans. The team of 14 college students was led by the Chi Alpha directors, Steve and Tami Barke.
The common area of the orphanage was a focus of the team’s project. It had never been painted and was in serious need of a more cheerful look. So the team got out the scrub brushes and much needed elbow grease and, with many orphan’s help, cleaned the walls in preparation for the paint. The children were given the opportunity for input into the design of the murals that would follow the base coat. Most of them excitedly presented their artwork on paper. The team then put together two mural ideas, one for the girls and one for the boys. The boys went with a Jonah and the whale theme. The big whale had just spewed Jonah on the land and Jonah was kneeling in prayer on the shore. The rest of that mural was colorful flowers and vines.
The girls chose a Calvary theme. Three crosses were painted on a hilltop depicting the crucifixion. An empty tomb close by celebrated the resurrection of our Lord. Again there were many bright flowers and trees added to the mural. The result was very positive. This project has really brought new life to the orphanage and the children were very pleased with all the efforts. There is more room on the walls for future teams to add to the murals and brighten it up even more. Thank you so much to the WSU team for embarking on this project!!
Tami’s dad, Dr. David Brauner, from Alaska also joined the team. This is the first time we had a doctor with us on a team. Dr. Dave conducted a medical clinic for six days in Tricotte. Most of our orphan children were examined. With the exception of one boy with a hernia problem and one girl who needs to have her lungs x-rayed to rule out TB, the orphans had only minor infections and normal kid stomach pains and headaches. Dr. Dave also examined another 100 or more patients from Tricotte and the surrounding villages. Pastor Diogene’s wife, Lionette, interpreted and Dr. Dave’s daughter, Tami, served as the nurse.
Tami and Lionette conducted a well care and hygiene clinic for our older orphan girls. We appreciate Tami’s sensitivity to the need for this training. The girls had many questions about what was going on in their bodies and Tami was able to ease many of their concerns.
When we arrived back in Port-au-Prince, Pastor Diogene informed us of a 17 year old sick girl needing medical attention. Smailine has been suffering from extremely painful kidney stones since she was 11 years old. Dr. Dave examined her and diagnosed an intestinal infection that needed further testing. The team put together the necessary money to help her parents take her to the hospital that day.
Seven months ago, Smailine came to Pastor Diogene’s church and heard the message of salvation through Jesus Christ for the first time. She was convicted of her sin, and prayed to receive Jesus as her Savior and Lord. The church reached out to her and her family’s needs because of Smailine’s medical problems. Several months later her mother, father, and 2 cousins also became Christians. God has used the sickness of Smailine to touch the hearts of this family and cure their sin-sick souls.
We believe God is now giving us the opportunity to reach out further to this family. The Haitian doctors say that surgery is needed for Smailine but that the Haitian hospitals are not capable of doing it without great risk to her. In the states this is a fairly routine surgery with minimal risk. The cost will be extensive but in God’s economy it is a small thing. If any of you would be interested in helping to make this possible, please contact us for more information.
Thank you so much for your partnership with us. God is using you to help make a difference in the lives of needy Haitians.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp