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Communiqué #066


to the PEOPLE of HAITI

November 2, 2009

“Until next time” is the way I always close my communiqués.  Little did I know that it would take me from August until November before I jotted down my next thoughts.  Much has happened in the intervening months.

In September, I was privileged to spend time with BOTH of my grandsons on their birthdays!  It was the first year that I was able to do that. The little guys are little guys only once and I treasured my time with them as they turned two and four.  On each of their special days, I got to take them for a “Day Out with Grandma!”   A session at the photo studio and lunch at a special place highlighted some of our time together!

I returned to LesCayes for three short days, before heading out again on a whirlwind journey to cities in both the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  Léon and I traveled with Leonie Kessa Izidor and my dear friend Lynn to visit the orphanage being constructed in the Dominican Republic by Pastor Edriss Quessa.  Seven boys, ages 7 to 12, are on the waiting list to enter the orphanage, where they hope to live once funding is available.

Jomale, Lubin, Johnson, Robinson, Medgo, Willio, and Miguel patiently wait for a home where there will be food every day, clothes to wear and a school to attend.  These boys were born to Haitian families who are working as slaves in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic.  Home is a site adjacent to the city dump that borders a busy airport.  Identification papers were stripped from their parents when they were brought illegally into the country to work the fields.  When children were born to these families, there was no proof of who they were.  Thus, the children are born “without a country.”  They cannot prove they are Haitian.  They cannot prove they are Dominican.  This leaves these children with no access to education or medical care. But for the hope of a home in the orphanage, these children have no future!   What is needed now are sponsors for these children!  It is the hope of Caribbean Children’s Foundation to find persons who are willing to make a long term financial commitment to the children living in the bateys (sugar cane worker communities) of the Dominican Republic!

After a few short days, we returned to Haiti.  Léon and Leonie returned to LesCayes to the work that awaited them there.  Lynn and I met up with a team coming from Ohio to work in the area of Jacmel, on the southeastern coast of Haiti.  The all-women team would present seminars to several communities in and around the Jacmel area.  Dental hygiene, family planning, breast feeding and menopause seminars were presented to combined groups of men and women.  The men were equally as eager as the women to learn from the missionaries. Many old wives’ tales are still prevalent throughout the country.  It will take repeated seminars to dispel many of the beliefs.  Questions that make us shake our head in disbelief are very commonplace.  We were asked questions like, “Is it true that the milk from a new mother will go to her head and make her crazy?”   We know this phenomenon to be post-partum depression, but in a country where there is only one doctor to every 10,000 people, not only is medical care hard to come by, but mental health care is almost non-existent.

The group was also able to visit some of the schools where newly sponsored students were attending. Dental hygiene seminars were presented to the student body, dental hygiene kits were given to the students and additional students were interviewed for the student sponsorship program.

The week passed quickly. Lynn and I bid farewell to the team and headed to the north and northeastern part of Haiti.  Scouting out these areas with a seasoned team leader will assist in my goal to expand the number of places missionary teams come to help.  Jacmel has started receiving teams in the last year.  Cap Haitien and Ouanaminthe are areas where teams could also be very useful.  Medical teams, construction teams and orphanage interaction teams would be helpful in these two localities.

Pastor Daniel Paul’s ministry in Ouanaminthe includes a home for 30 little girls at the “House of the Lambs of God” Orphanage.  The building needs to be expanded and the children would benefit from people willing to donate funding to help feed, clothe and educate these precious little ones.

Pastor Eliona Bernard’s ministry in Cap Haitien includes a medical clinic, a partially completed school and the need for construction of a church.    Both of these communities are located close enough together, a team could serve both pastors during their mission time in Haiti!   What a wonderful blessing it would be to both ministries!

God is at work every day in the lives of the little ones of Haiti.  One of the newest arrivals at Pastor Daniel Paul’s orphanage is an example of God in action.  The story of Adeline begins with her arrival in Ouanaminthe on a bus with a traveling companion.  After arriving at their destination, the two became separated at the bus station.  Adeline wandered about and began walking until she came upon the truck that Pastor Daniel Paul was driving.  Thinking that he was a chauffeur, she asked him for a ride.  When she learned that he was not a chauffeur, she asked him for food. As the story unfolded, it was apparent that this young girl had been brought to this strange city to be placed into child slavery in someone’s home, where she most likely would never go to school and would be treated worse than the family watch dog.  It was but by the grace of God that she ended up being placed on the same path being traveled by Pastor Daniel Paul and was eventually given police clearance to come live in the loving orphanage home provided by Pastor Daniel Paul and his wife Clynie!  Her smile is a good indication that indeed she is now home!

Our visit to the north of the country was also far too short!  Lynn and I returned to Port-au-Prince where she readied to leave the country and I prepared for another incoming team who were coming from Canada and Michigan to also serve in the Jacmel area.  They came to conduct medical and dental clinics.

Lynn had been feeling poorly for the last several days of our traveling adventure.  She struggled with making it through her last few days in Haiti and was eager to get home to see her doctor back in the states.  It was not until I settled into the new team’s routine in Jacmel that I too became ill.   As it turns out, somewhere along the way,both Lynn and I had received gifts from some local mosquitoes.   We would learn that each of us had contracted Dengue Fever.   For all but one day of the second team’s stay in Jacmel, I was of no use at all.  I lay in the hotel room for the whole week, fighting the fever, the chills, the body aches, the rash and the itching.  The fever took a toll, leaving me weak and fatigued.  I am still recovering, following my return to LesCayes.   I am told that in some parts of Haiti, Dengue Fever is called “three days and you’re dead disease!”   Haitian people with their malnutrition and low immunity actually do die from this. I have to say that I felt like I wanted to.  Thank God that I have a good immune system and a reliable doctor to consult!

November and December will prove to be busy too.  Three teams will serve in the LesCayes area.   I thank God that Léon is taking charge of the first team who has come to help with the building of GRACE School on Ile-a-Vache.   I remain “back at the ranch” trying to regain my strength.

Your continued prayers for the work here in Haiti are greatly appreciated!  Whether you are a member of a team that travels here to help OR you are a member of the team who keeps the home lights glowing and prays for those who have come, WE THANK YOU!!!!!

Nora Léon

Missionary to Haiti & the Dominican Republic

Until next time ………….

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