Friday, February 26, 2010

2/26 goodbye DR, flying back to Haiti

Coffy and his parents finally left back to Haiti, not before thanking everybody for their hospitality.

Wantelan, one of the of greatest helper, translator, tour guide and price negotiator, you name it.

The priest and I

The priest and the thank-you cake.

Thanking the priests for their hospitality at Capilla San Jose

On the way to the airport

(* the video is very short, it's not an error)

At the "Las Americas air port"

Just waiting on plane to arrive


Thursday, February 25, 2010

[a paper that Akin wrote at school]

Leaving for Haiti
A time when I had mixed feelings was when my dad went to Haiti. First, there were parts of this experience that were sad. One reason I felt sad was because he left. Another reason I felt sad was because I could not go with him. The last reason I felt sad and let down was because he said he was going to be gone for a long time.
In addition, happiness came upon us because my dad is a hero. One reason I felt good was because he was going to help other people. Another reason I felt good was because he was going to be with his family. The last reason I felt happy and good was because he was going to help his family. I felt high and low during my experience when my dad had to go to Haiti.

Last days in the DR.

Date: Thursday, February 25
Hi all,

We almost left the DR.
I received an email giving all the details of the flight.
We were suppose to leave here, the Capilla San Jose, at five thirty this morning
to get to the air port at 6:00, two hours prior to the flight which was at 8:00 AM.

Unfortunately, at around 11:25 PM we received a call cancelling the flight for either friday or saturday, or until further notice.
I'll keep you all posted as I get more info.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010


if all goes well, Coffy and his parents will board a flight to Haiti tomorrow (2/25) morning.


From: Jean Paul Coffy
Subject: BBC interview
To: Yakini Ajanaku-Coffy
Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Hi Yakini,

I just finished the interview with BBC World news and it was great. They were very pleasant to talk to and seem to care a lot about our troubles during this uncertain time.
However, talking to them made me realized how much we've been through, and are still going through as family. During the interview I had to retell the moment of leaving you guys,especially when you and Akin were crying at the airport in Chicago. It still hurts a lot to this day.

Yakini, I want to thank you again for being with me through out all of this. I thank God for knowing you. I feel as if only you could handle all of this without ever complaining and making me feel any worse than I already do. (leaving to take care of my parents) Instead you gave me strength, strength I didn't know I had. THANK YOU.



From: Yakini
To: Coffy
Date: Wed, Feb 24, 2010
Subject: let to the next step
Hi sweet heart,
Thanks so much for your lovely words of support. Just know that we are soulmates. I SEE YOU!!! I FEEL YOU AND I JUST LOVE THE HELL OUT OF YOU!!!
Remember you are just great in my eyes. Your integrity with yourself and love for family and Haiti is just what is needed now. You are a model man. Hell you are OUR model!!!
Just keep on doing what you do so well LOVE < SELFKIND and continue to radiate that energy for the world to see.

BBC interview

Coffy was interviewed by the BBC!
It went out in today's programme. You will be able to listen to it online from 2200 GMT:

it's online now!!
here's a direct link

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Coffy

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hey Dad,
I am at the Chicago Auto Show - check out this cool car! Missing you a lot.

2/21: Still waiting in the DR

Date: Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hi all,

I've always considered myself a very patient man but now find waiting very challenging and even frustrating. The worst part in waiting here in the DR is the fact that I don't speak the language and need to find someone to translate anything I need to say, or to take me around to find pharmacies and anything else I might need.

A couple of weeks ago Yakini told me that there are doctors in Haiti now. Although the doctors here at Dario Contreras advised me not to move mom for three months, Yakini and I agreed that I should take my parents back to Haiti to get care which could be much easier for me. But because of their conditions (my parents), especially mom, with her crushed hip, I've asked Yakini to make some calls to those organizations on the ground in Haiti, to find out where they are located and is there a better way of transport then how we came here in the DR. Keep in mind that each question takes a couple of days to get an answer to.

Anyway, Yakini found the where, in a place called Cange near the province of Hinche, Hospital La Sante.

Now I'm waiting to find the answer to the second question, but if there's no response from any of the organizations by Monday the 22nd I'll have to find someone to help me find the right bus and border as there are several ways that bords the Island.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you all know why am still here in the DR and how things are going.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Good news!

Coffy was about to buy the bus ticket, when Yakini called him with this good news:
Partners In Health contacted her with a name of a clinic that Coffy should be accepted to in Haiti, where his parents can be outpatients and stay until they are better. They (PIH) are also working out the details of transportation to Haiti by a private plane and ambulance. This is great news!

We'll update when we know more. As of today, Cofffy and his parents are still at Santo Domingo waiting for the details of the travel to be finalized.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Back to Haiti

It's been more than 5 weeks since the earthquake; almost four weeks since the Coffys found temporary refuge in the Dominican Republic. Their visa is about to expire, and their current shelter can only accommodate them for a few more days. Their return to broken Haiti is therefore imminent.

Coffy is very nervous about the idea of having to travel back to Haiti the same way they got out of there. The bumpy ride and having to move his mom in and out of cars to switch buses at the border sounds like a terrible idea. But one that may by unavoidable nevertheless. In Haiti, they would have to find shelter as well - their house is leveled and so is everybody else's.

As time goes by, while Coffy is in the DR caring for his parents, most of the effort to find health-care solutions and housing for the Coffys has shifted back to Chicago.
Yakini is pulling all possible strings to make sure that when they finally arrive back to Haiti they will have an address to go to.

In the few hours a day that Yakini isn't overwhelmingly occupied with running the family-based daycare, she is sending out appeals to senators to help with granting Coffy's parents with a temporary visa; requests for medical help from organizations such as Partners In Health (who are doing outstanding work in Haiti every day); pleas through anyone who knows anyone. We keep thinking positive. One of those will eventually be our answer!

We miss you, Coffy!

"E" is for "Everybody"!
Everybody at daycare misses you so much! we can't wait for you to come back, but we all know that you have a very important job to do right now.
We're sending you this little clip with hopes to cheer you up a little bit.
The children and staff of La Grande Famille!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Blood test results

Date: Monday, February 15

I went to the clinic today to pick up dad's whole blood test results. The doctor said that dad has a pocket of grease that's growing in his prostate that can cause all sorts of complications later on and ordered a sonography in order to see the size of it. Additionally, dad's hernia definitely needs to be fixed, said the doctor, but his glicemia is only one point lower. Great news on that level!
No signs of infections in his blood.

I can deal with those for now.

After that, I went to a couple of pharmacies and took a buss home.


so stressed out

Date: Sunday, February 14, 2010


Yesterday, I was talking about taking my parents back to Haiti in hope to stabilize them, but when I think of the reality of that thought I feel as if my head is about to explode I'm so stressed out.

As time is running out and life is moving along I'll need to get to work soon enough right? I can feel the pressure already. What am I gonna do? How can I leave them and with whom?

Honestly, I really don't see me leaving them anytime but until they're stabilized. If there was ever a time that my parents needed me it is now, because they really cannot take care of themselves, and the person to be with them is me or you. I don't have anyone else.

Oh! And I forgot to tell you that dad has developed a hernia when he was alone with mom, lifting her and stuff. We've just discovered it. The doctor prescribed him some meds and said that dad needs to be operated on right away but is too weak for now. More over, the doctor said that in the mean time dad shouldn't lift anything heavy nor stand up for too long.

Who's going to switch mom from side to side and help her with everything?

Just thinking out loud.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dad's on his feet again.

To: yakini
Date: Saturday, February 13, 2010, 4:35 PM

Hi Yakini,

For the first time since the 2/10/10, dad is out the bed. He ate and even went outside to take some air. I am so happy he's back.

Now, I'm thinking about going back to Haiti with them because, as I understand it, all Haitians need to go back home, whatever is left of it, to find care and shelter. But everyone's telling me that she should not be moving around too much and that my best shot is to stay here for the three months given by the doctors and wait for the surgery.

Anyway, I got to take dad for a walk and I'll write later about this.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Coffy's dad isn't feeling well

Coffy keeps telling us how his dad never complains, all he cares about is his wife's health and comfort. Throughout the whole thing, he never asked for anything for himself.
However now he also is in need for medical care. Yesterday (2/10) he started feeling bad, became disoriented and finally collapsed. Coffy took him to a hospital (he's still there over night) and a blood test showed that his glucose levels are too low.
And although he should be worried about his own health right now, all he asks about is what about mom.

To: Yakini
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 3:12 PM

Hi baby,

this afternoon at around 12:15, dad said that he's not feeling well (felt week as if his legs couldn't hold him any longer and needed to lie down). Then he felt hot and started sweating to the point where his clothes and the bed got soaking wet. Afterwards, he got freezing cold, in matter of minutes.

More over, he couldn't talk, so I immediately called a taxi
and took him to a clinic named "Clinica Altagracia".

Once there, they quickly checked his blood pressure and all, then they said that he's fine and see nothing wrong with him, and that his blood pressure is normal.

Although they said all that, I asked for whole blood test just to be sure that he's really ok.

That gave me a big scare!!!
Anyway, I'll call you later with results.


To: yakini
Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 5:02 PM


I'm still at the clinic with dad, the line was long for blood test but there are three people ahead of us now.

I'm worried about mom but I've asked one of the guys to keep an eye on her for me. I just called and he said that she's doing fine.



The doctor just told me that it's the glucose level that went very very low.

now dad is back to himself and worried about mom. he's asking if mom knows that he's sick and she's gonna be worried ...
he's not worrying about himself he's worried about mom

He's asleep now

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The New York Times

Follow this link to an article in The New York Times:
(on the front page!!!)

Finding Parents in Haiti's Rubble Was the Easy Part

To Coffy


The days and nights go by and you are still away from us. We miss you so much, and count the minutes to your return, whenever that should be.
You are thousands of miles away from us but our hearts are as close to yours as they have ever been. We feel your pain, Coffy! We feel your heart pulling, yearning to be with us again, hurting with each beat away from your home, your family, your wife, your children.

But Coffy, you need to know this one thing: When you left, you left behind a reservoir of love, to which we tap every time we miss your presence. We draw from it as much as we need each and every day that you're away.
And you know what? That reservoir is HUGE, it's practically endless.

We know it's too much to ask of you to not worry about us.
We know that your heart is torn and if it was anyway possible you would have found a way to be at two places at the same time.
We know you are sad. That's OK.
Coffy, mourn the father that you can't be today, but celebrate the son that you are.
We love you so much.

Yakini, Akin, and Ade.

Hey Dad

Hey Dad I really really really miss you. Especially when I am sledding. Akin.

The passports have arrived!

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2010
To: yakini

Hi baby,

The embassy called me today to say that the passports have arrived yeah!!! Step one is accomplished, now step two.

I called the US consulate and set an appointment for my parents on 2/11/10. Then I went to a cyber cafe to fill out the visa form. They've asked me to bring all those documents: their passports, birth certificates, act of marriage, ID cards and pictures.

Wish me luck.


Videos troubleshooting

Hi folks,
It seems like some of the videos don't play on this page. If you're experiencing trouble, here's a simple way to go around it:
Click on the title of the post (for example, the line that says "Today's mom's birthday" in orange below). This will open the individual post, and there the videos seem to be working.

sorry for the inconvenience!

(for those of you following on facebook, this is a reminder that you can see the videos on the blog, here.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Today's mom's birthday

Monday, February 8, 2010
Hi everyone,

Today, I was given an entry form to fill out for my parents, stating their names, date and place of birth, and the day we came here at the (Capilla De San Jose). Ironically, as I think about their age, I remembered that today is mom's birthday, so we lit a candle and sang her happy birthday. We didn't have a cake but she was very happy, and she's diabetic anyway I don't think a cake would be ideal.

I just wanted to that moment with you all.


Weekend updates

Friday, February 5, 2010, 10:41 AM
Mom's out of the room
They put mom out of the room and back in the hallway, she said that it hurt so much when they moved her and that she feels humiliated and can't stop crying.

However, I'm trying to keep my head up and stay positive. I have to find hotel today, as that's my only option.


Saturday, February 6, 2010, 1:40 PM
We've found a place!!!!!
I'm so happy right now! We've found a place for mom and dad. More details later.

ok, today i'm in the hallway again at the hospital. today we're moving my mother out of the hallway! we found a place!

Saturday, February 6, 2010
In the bus leaving the hospital

We are now in the bus and we are going to the place, the Centro Bono. They'll give us a place to stay. And that's where i'm taking mom now. And there she is!
We are out of the hospital! finally. we couldn't rent a place and we found a place called Centro Bono. That's willing to accommodate us for another two weeks.
that's good.
we're gonna stop running for two weeks - Yayy!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010
To: Yakini
I finally find someone who knows someone. Hantz, who work at Haitian Embassy, was sent by the vice consul Mr. Madsen Cherubin, to assist us in our search for place to stay two days ago. Hantz made a phone call to someone he'd helped in the past whom he remembered worked for a non for profit organization called Centro Bono. That organization then sent us to place called Capilla de San Jose where they took us in and gave us a room to stay. We are so thankful for that room. Mom prayed and thank god for tonight, cause she thought that she was going to sleep in the hallway hospital again.

Yakini, thank you for being there with me every step of the way and to remind me to stay positive. And thanks to all of you following my story and for all your positive energy.


Moving in

I am in church. I'm in church. Just to pray for a day.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Date: Friday, February 5, 2010
Hanns drove me around looking for hotel

OK Hi everybody I'm here with Hanns
He's the guy, he works at the consulate, he's the one who's been running around with me trying to look for a hotel for my mother...
They put her out of the room at the hospital and they're gonna put her outside actually.
And everywhere we go they're basically full or there are several flights of stairs
He's the man, driving me around
He's been a great real help

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ups and downs

The search for proper housing continues.
It seems like almost every time there's a little hope, there comes another difficulty.
The house Coffy was hoping to rent didn't work out. The owner wouldn't rent it to a non-Dominican. (If he wasn't going to rent it to a Haitian, why did he waste Coffy's time?!? nobody knows).
Now that Coffy's mother is out of the hospital, she has to stay somewhere. Knowing that moving her from one place to another is a bad idea, Coffy is eager to find a more solid solution. But for now it has to be some hotel.
The motel that Coffy and his dad were staying at wasn't going to work out because of the stairs. These are two of several hotels he looked at today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting closer a solution about a house

Date: Tuesday, February 2
Remember that house I sent a picture of yesterday? Well we've decided to rent it today, but when we went to pay for it one of the realty agent told me that I need a business name and a local number in order to rent a house here in Santo Domingo. So I called Ambalina, Ade's friend's aunt, and she said that tomorrow she'll be able to assist me in this matter.
It's good to know somebody!

I really feel she can help and that I'm getting closer a solution about this.
Also, I've been looking for a bed, a table and chairs for the house, and found a place where they make box spring mattresses. Yeah!

I think tomorrow I'll be able to take mom out of the hospital to a house somewhere.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

House hunt continues

Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The doctors said that we really need to move mom out today because
they need the bed for new arrivals at the hospital, but I still don't
have house yet.
We have a meeting with a lawyer today at five PM in an attempt to rent
a two bedroom house for 6500 pesos hopefully that will fall through.


Monday, February 1, 2010

How the day went by

To: yakini
Date: Monday, February 1, 2010
I went to the American consulate again this morning to see how or if
they can help with a temporary entry to the US. I finally learned that
the pin that I purchased last week wasn't working because I was using
my cell phone and needed to use a land line instead. However, that
info was not in the form given to me when I bought the pin at Banco
Anyway, I used a public phone and got through, then the operator asked
for my parents' passport number which are lost in Haiti, I explained.
Then I learned that she cannot give us rendezvous without the passport
So I went to the Haitian embassy to make them (passports). Thankfully,
a friend knew someone inside who made the process very easy for me.
The Haitian consul was very nice and helpful.

Unfortunately, the passports will be ready no earlier then two weeks
because they're made in Washington DC, and then sent to the Haitian
consulate in Santo Domingo. However, I am grateful for it could've
been even longer given the circumstances.

After that, I went to look for houses for my parents to stay because
the doctors released mom today and the hotel where I'm staying is too
expensive and has too many stairs and no elevator. (I've sent a
picture of the house) however mom will stay at the hospital a little
more cause the deal did not fall through yet and I'll try again