Jameson’s Story

Burns are a common injury in Haiti. Most villagers only have a battery or a small solar panel for electricity, which is just enough to charge a phone or power a small light. All cooking is done over an open fire, and many common tasks require the use of fire.

One day, Jameson came to see Laura for severe burns on his face. A few days before, this young man had been heating some tools over a fire in order to fix a tire. A can of gasoline was too close to the fire, and it exploded, splashing burning gas on his face.

Laura doesn’t know why Jameson didn’t come to us right away for help. Perhaps he and his family were trying to treat his injuries themselves and finally realized that they needed help. But as you can see in the first photo, his burns were severe.

Thanks to a donation of medical supplies from one of our supporters, who is a doctor, Laura had Silvadene cream, which is an excellent medication for burns. She cleaned Jameson’s burns and applied the cream, and she gave him cream to take home so he could reapply it daily.

When Jameson returned to Laura seven days later, his skin looked so much better! You can see how well the lower part of his face had healed in just a week, and you can see how the large burn on his forehead was healing with the use of the cream.

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A Typical Day At Our School

Education in Haiti doesn’t look like education in the United States, so we thought we’d explain what it’s like to attend Ebenezer School.

Our Curriculum and Education Requirements

At our school, we provide education for students in preschool through 6th grade.

Preschool

Preschool A is for 2-year-old students. Preschool B is for 3-year-old students. Preschool C (which is the equivalent of kindergarten) is for students who are four and five years old. By the time our students graduate preschool, they should know their alphabet, be able to read simple words in Haitian Creole (their native language); know their numbers, shapes and colors; and know simple phrases in French (the other official language in Haiti). Many parents in our village are illiterate, and they depend on our preschool to teach their children these basic skills.

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Nieka’s Story

Laura, our missionary, shares the story of this medical miracle:

Nieka, who was four years old at the time, was playing with her cousins in a tree that had been cut down or had fallen down. With the way the tree was lying on the ground, they were kind of high in the air. There were six children in all. One of the older children starting shaking the tree with all of the little children on it, and they all fell out and landed on Nieka. She was crying a little and her arm hurt, so they had her arm tied in a cloth and brought her to me.

When I untied the cloth, my stomach turned. I didn’t know elbows could look like that. I thought it was just dislocated, but I didn’t want to touch it in case it was something worse. I wanted to take her the hospital (really, just a clinic) in Anse-a-Galets, the port city of our island. I prayed that maybe there would be someone there to help her.

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Genevieve’s Story

Our missionary, Laura, tells another story of how our first-aid service made a difference in the life of one of our villagers.

It was late at night when Genevieve’s parents brought her to me because she had been burned. I had to use a flashlight to see the burn, and it was bad.

Genevieve’s parents felt terrible. They had just taken a pot of cornmeal off the open fire, so it was still boiling hot. The parents had stepped away for a brief moment, and their curious little girl went to see what was in the pot. Genevieve lost her balance and fell over, and her hand went all the way into the boiling cornmeal, halfway up to her elbow. This was not a case of negligence; it was just a terrible accident.

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Fabiola’s Story

In Haiti, very few women have access to quality prenatal care. As a result, the infant mortality rate is nine times that of the United States, and the maternal mortality rate is the highest of any country in the western hemisphere. As shocking as these figures are, they don’t even include the many pregnancies that result in stillbirths or miscarriages. Often, these tragedies are preventable, as shown in this story told by our missionary, Laura:


Fabiola with Laura Dalla. Haitians traditionally do not smile for photos.

A woman in our village (we’ll call her Fabiola) had suffered more than nine stillbirths. Many people in the village were saying she was cursed.

She was pregnant again, and her pregnancy was going really well, but she came to see me because her water had broken. I didn’t know exactly how far along she was, but I knew it was too early for the baby to be born. Fabiola’s water broke at 9 p.m., and she was not having any contractions at all. So I told her to contact her midwife (who has never had any formal training). I advised that if she hadn’t started having contractions by early morning, she should go quickly to the small hospital in the port city of Anse-a-Galets, which is 15 miles (and two hours by truck) away from our village.

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Pierre’s Story

Pierre had been sick for at least a week and a half, and he had not been able to urinate at all for a week. His entire body was swollen and even red in some areas. He was having trouble breathing and was getting nosebleeds. He was in terrible pain and could only sit in his chair. He couldn’t even lay down to sleep.

Pierre had not been to see a doctor. Aside from the financial and logistical challenges of traveling to the clinic in Anse-a-Galets, his family believed he had been cursed by a voodoo priest or witch doctor. They believed it was a sickness that hospitals couldn’t help. For us, this is very difficult to understand, but for them it is their way of life. Yes, sometimes voodoo is the cause of some strange things, but most of the time illnesses are just illnesses with simple fixes.

Pierre in Belle Vie before treatment.

Pierre’s brother wanted a voodoo priest to come and try to heal him. Pierre did not want this, but being as sick as he was could not fight with his brother about it. So the witch doctor came but was unable to heal him. The witch doctor wanted to rub some kind of stuff on him that he said would heal him, but Pierre refused. After this many friends and family began to come and visit him to say their goodbyes, and his brother had even put a deposit down with the local carpenter to begin making his coffin. They were just ready to let him die instead of taking him to the hospital.

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Unrest in Haiti

Here’s a good article that discusses all of the unrest going on in Haiti. Laura and Beno plan to return only after the situation gets better.