Loudjenka

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On February 3rd I got an e-mail about six month old Loudjenka who lives with her parents in Cap-Haitiean on the North Coast of Haiti.  Physicians n Cap-Haitiean thought that she showed signs of a hole in her heart, but without access to better quality diagnositc equipment they could neither confirm the diagnosis or have any means to intervene if the diagnosis proved correct.  The Chadasha Foundation through a grant to International Children's Heart Foundation is working to provide pediatric cardiology procedures in the Dominican Republic.  ICHF currently has a pediatric cardiology medical team volunteering for two weeks at the Arturo Grullon hospital in Santiago.  The only thing we needed to do is get Loudjenka across the border to Santiago, but we faced a hurdle, she did not have a passport, and neither did her mother, and the process to get one was taking longer than expected, and would likely not be completed until after the specialty team had completed their trip.  So, with the help of Amy and Karen a nurse and volunteer with Children of the Promise, the ministry in Cap-Haitien providing primary care services for Loudjenka and her mother, I started working to get a special permission for her to get across the border without a passport.  I might not be able to perform heart surgery, but I can talk someone's ear off!  Based on the recommendation from the head of the immigration office here in Jimaní, I went to the Dominican Consulate in Port au Prince, where I thought I had arranged an introduction to the consulate through the husband of one of the physicians in Santiago; however, we missed each other, and my reception was less than stellar.  I barely got my foot in the front door, and was only given the procedure to request a humanitarian visa for someone that has a passport, and while the secretary kept running messages back and forth behind a closed door for me, no one else was willing to speak with me.  After I returned from Haiti, I made a few calls, and got a hold of a man I have met a few times who works for the Dominican First Lady's office and works on Haitian humanitarian issues for the First Lady.  He started making things happen.  I met him in Santo Domingo, where we went to the main consulate office and he was able to introduce Chris Keylon, the executive director of Chadasha, and me to the Ambassador in charge of the Domincian Consulates, who coordinated a meeting with the head of Dominican Immigration where they approved a special pass, and forwarded it to the Dominican/Haitian border crossing at Dajabon, the border crossing closest to Loudjenka and her parents.  The next step was actually transporting them to the facility, a trip to Dajabon from Jimaní would probably take 12 hours, so I called our friends Chantz and Renee Cutts with GoMad Ministries who were able to go pick them up at the border and drop them off.  The process of driving a car across the border is even more difficult, so having someone pick them up on the Domincian side, was a huge blessing.  Of course just to make things more interesting, the day before going to pick them up Chantz and Renee's car broke down, so after trying to get it fixed in time, they had to rent a car to make the trip.  So now, after 15 days of meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and letters, Loudjenka is checked into the hospital and scheduled for her procedure.  Please continue to pray for her, her parents, and the physicians, and pray that God will touch her life.

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