Written By: Mark Fulton
Social unrest, economic woes, fuel shortages, and political upheaval have been the rule throughout Haiti for the last couple of months. The streets have generally been more navigable in Haiti the last week or so, but every day is a bit different. One day, the area near the hospital in Saintard is blocked by downed trees, burning vehicles, or masses of rock-throwing protesters. The following day, the area near the hospital is completely open, but the road between the hospital and Port au Prince is blocked, making the ability to purchase medical supplies impossible. The nature and severity of the protests vary significantly from village to village and zone to zone, and can vary wildly from day to day within any given place. In the midst of this environment, the staff at Hôpital L’Eglise de Dieu Rèformèe has managed to keep the emergency room functioning. Each day just prior to the hospital’s opening, the available staff can be found arriving by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or public transportation to begin their altered work schedule. The number of staff members who have actually been able to get to the hospital has been about half of those scheduled. The number of patients who could make it to the hospital has been about 10% of the normal complement. BUT over the last few weeks, the numbers of both arriving staff and patients has gradually increased. Perhaps—just maybe—things are starting to return to some semblance of normalcy. But things are certainly uncertain.
Kathy and I returned to the US for a planned two-week visit just after the unrest started in Haiti. At the advice of the staff at the hospital in Saintard, we delayed our return for a week. Then another week, and another, then another, until we have been away from our Haiti home for more than two months, heeding the advice who said that traveling between Port au Prince and Saintard has been too unpredictable. This has been a difficult time for all of our Haitian friends, which makes it emotionally tough on those of us who care for those friends and are helplessly standing by.
With the blessing of our friends and the hospital staff in Saintard, I (Mark) will be heading back soon to Haiti for a couple of weeks to lend some emotional support and supplies. The staff of the hospital is tired. The patients are in dire need. The hospital supplies are meager. Thankfully our God is bigger than all of this, as our extended time in the US provided an opportunity for some extra family care, fundraising, continuing education, and prayer support. On behalf of our friends in Haiti, we pray that God provides peace, comfort, support, and hope throughout Haiti and beyond. In this time that is certainly uncertain, we know that God’s hope is certain.