November-December Newsletter

Our Kids’ Health

Over-the-counter (OVC) medications like Ibuprofen, antihistamines, Tylenol, Nyquil, Advil, and others, are critical ways that we deal with pain and discomfort at the orphanage. Because of their compromised immune systems, our children become ill more often. Knowing how to use OVC’s save us many trips to the doctor's office. A number of our children had ailments that were aided by OVC medications: Alexandra, Kervens, Jordany, Ruth L. and Jennifer had intestinal issues; Jordany also had a toothache; and Ruth C. had some unusual pain around her navel that kept her from eating for days. The pain persisted, even after she was given Advil, the usual painkiller that Grace Children’s prescribed. Our Ti Kay Klinik nurse gave her some serum orale, and that seemed to have helped. Though no medical tests or examinations were performed, to reveal what was going with Ruth C., we have noticed an unusual increase in the number of our children who have had similar intestinal issues in the past three months. Other kids with health concerns were Guenson, Stanley, and Edison. Guenson had a cold, Stanley had a fever, while Edison has had an ear infection for at least three months now. He was given medication to help with the pain, but our Ti Kay Klinik nurse has been successful in easing his discomfort. After several attempts, the infection has lessened, Edison is less irritable and able to sleep better. Yet, the infection has not been fully resolved. We hope and pray that his ear infection will be completely resolved very soon!

Zachary’s injury

On November 29, one of our older children, Zachary Vilme was hit by a car on his way home from school. Zachary was selected to represent his vocational program at a local TV station. On the day of the event, he left campus to catch a moto to return home to retrieve the uniform. Unfortunately, on his way to catch the moto, he was hit by a car. The driver of the vehicle that hit him was kind enough to take Zachary to several hospitals, to no avail.

Zachary was then taken to Doctors Without Borders, Fontamara, where he was stabilized, and later transferred to Tabarre for surgery. Unfortunately, they were informed that they did not have the necessary equipment to operate. Frustrated, and not knowing what to do next, Fanfan called me, to determine our next course(s) of action. As in the past, I reached out to my ever-growing network of expats. I also sent a text message by way of WhatsApp to one of my new friends, a former volunteer of Bernard Mers, a private hospital. Just before midnight, I was informed by my friend, that she would make sure that Zachary was admitted. We thank God for all the connections He has given us over the years, because this one may have helped save Zachary’s legs!

The surgery to repair Zachary’s broken legs was finally performed five days later, when a group of orthopedists from the U.S. arrived. He was released from the hospital on December 7 and is recuperating in the multi-purpose area at the orphanage, using a wheelchair to get around. He is required to return to the hospital every four days to get the bandages changed. Unfortunately, even when he returns to the hospital, he is often asked to return the next day for this simple process.

Many times, we cannot prevent accidents from happening. Because of Zachary’s HIV+ status, many places did not accept him. Because of this, our options are sometimes limited. Though the treatment he received at Bernard Mers was questionable, we had no other option but to hope for the best. However, we are pleased to inform you that Zachary’s spirit is very good, and he is healing well. Though we do not know what his ultimate recovery looks like, we are optimistic that the Lord will show him favor. Since returning home, Zachary has been able to manage his discomfort with over-the-counter medications, and A Lot of TLC. Though he has not been able to return to school, he keeps himself occupied with some materials that a friend from the U.S. brought for him. We ask that you continue to keep Zachary in your prayers.

La Gonave Dental Trip

All 23 children, and seven of our staff, traveled to the island of La Gonave to receive dental care from an MUSC Christian student dental group from Charleston, SC. The kids and staff received cleanings, fill-ins and had teeth extracted. Valentina, whose dental health needs initiated the trip, had ten baby teeth removed. Valentina’s speech has improved, and her appetite has now returned. The team provided our children and staff with a special Colgate Gel to help prevent cavities. Please read the details of our trip in our November Special Issue.

Visit by Our Board Chair

Our Board Chair, John Hill, joined me in Haiti for a most enjoyable week together. In addition to spending time with the children, we worked on a number of items, including our 2018 budget, plus our first ever “Staff Appreciation Dinner”. Please see our November Special Issue for more details.

2017 World AIDS Day Event

John and I took advantage of being in Haiti with the kids to celebrate World AIDS Day. We thank God for having blessed the children with so many talents. Zachary was the master of ceremony, who also sang, danced, and participated in several skits. He did a fantastic job of keeping the audience entertained. This event showed us how important it is to invest in our children’s talents. Their art teacher, Mr. Julien Galant, did an outstanding job preparing them, to showcase their God-given talents. We hope to put together a slideshow of the event for your review at a later date.

A special tribute to Mrs. Miriam Wenner Merrill

I met Mrs. Merrill while working for her daughter in 1999. As a nurse in the U.S. Marine Corps, she traveled the world, but has never been to Haiti. For years, she gave of herself to local and international ministries. However, she became a strong supporter of CHOAIDS, after learning about the passion that God placed in my heart for HIV+ children in Haiti. In addition to reading and editing many of my papers during my graduate studies, Mrs. Merrill was the person who helped me find the strength and courage to start CHOAIDS. After meeting the first HIV+ child in 2003, fear of failure led me to sit on the idea for months. Mrs. Merrill told me to trust God, and do whatever He told me to do, to help these wonderful children. Over the years, she supported us financially, sent clothes, toys, and did whatever she could to help make life better for our children. When I learned of her recent passing, my heart was broken, as I knew that we had lost a person who believed in our mission, being a strong advocate for our children. I thank God for having used Mrs. Merrill to help bring CHOAIDS to reality, to help make a difference in the lives of HIV+ children in Haiti, in particular those at CHOAIDS.

Many thanks, and God’s blessings, for your continued support and prayers for our children at CHOAIDS!

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