Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shaken again

See this story in Mission Network News about the ReachGlobal missionaries who are seeing revival in Haiti.

Supplies and donations of machinery and vehicles are needed.

Any questions? Ask haitiresponse@efca.org or call (610) 637-0202, or (985) 893-0218 ext 7.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Medical Staff Needed

Medical staffing opportunity in Haiti

EFCA TouchGlobal is looking for doctors and nurses to help staff clinics in the impacted areas in and around Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Although the emergent injuries following last month's earthquake have been treated, there are ongoing needs for clinical care in severely under served areas of Port-au-Prince. We are looking for general practitioners and pediatricians, along with nurses experienced in acute care settings to help treat Haitians suffering from both acute and chronic illnesses. There is an urgent need for a few doctors the week of February 21 and both doctors and nurses beginning March 6 and continuing. This window of opportunity to serve just opened and we do not know how long the need will extend. The cost will be $900 for a week, including all costs in Haiti, plus the airfare.

If you or someone you know want to learn more, please contact crisisresponse@efca.org.

Update from a returning doctor

This video was produced by a plastic surgeon and AMAZING Christian who was in Haiti during my time there. It is the best testimony so far that I have seen to capture both the sadness and the hope of the people there.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Items Needed

We have acquired several vehicles to send to Haiti. Some are in great shape, some not as good. Fortunately we have found a mechanic that can donate his time, but not parts or supplies. These are the things we need for the vehicles that we have at the present time.


4- 245-75R-17 tires
2- or more 235-85R16 tires
8- 245-75R-16 tires
5 - 225-70R-15 tires and one 15” rim for jeep

All tires should be as heavy ply as possible for dealing with the lack of good roads in Haiti. Please call Kevin at 610-637-0202 to answer any questions or let me know if you are getting any of these tires. We need to have them by Friday Feb.19, as we will be putting the vehicles on the boat for shipment the 21st or 22nd.

Thanks to Bob, at Coastal Tire, 35 SW 1st Ave., Boca Raton, who has donated his time to repair the vehicles and mount and install the tires for us. And thanks to Greg at City Towing in Boca Raton for moving our vehicles where they need to go.

The following are items we have located that will serve us well, but we need people or churches that are willing to give them, or give towards us getting them.

A 2003 Mitsubishi Fuso Crew Cab diesel flat bed truck or a 2003 Ford F-450 crew cab utility body truck. Both would be converted to/or need to have dump beds installed on them. The trucks are $10000 each and the dump beds are approx $2500-3500 plus installation.

A Takauchi TB 135 Mini excavator with 360 hrs on it - $20,000.

A Komatsu PC35 Mini excavator with 2700 hrs - $10,000.

A Honda 500 XL on/off road motorcycle with less than 1000 miles on it - $1500.

Craftsman Mechanics tool set- See Craftsman website to view toolsets
MFG #35283 tool set with #46410 tool set or

MFG #41190 tool set with a #87748 Storage box.

Housing Items Needed

We have signed a lease on a house in Gressier, west of Port au Prince, and are moving in at the present time. We are in need of some things to set up the office and complete the tranformation of a house into a home for staff and teams. Please consider giving the following items.

Reams of copy paper
Kitchen and large trash cans
Trash bags
Throw rugs
Large pots and pans and other kitchen and cooking utensils
Kitchen and tableware, plates, cups, silverware, etc.
Folding chairs
New shelving units to assemble on site
Items to set up an office
Pens pencils note pads
Post it notes
Staplers, scissors, markers
Paper clips
Simple single line phone
Organizers drawer and upright
Small file cabinets with rails for hanging folders, three ring hole punches, rubber bands
Cork board/tacks
Large Calender
White board
Legal pads
Etc etc etc.

Please take or send these items to:

C/o Design Flooring
2810 Center Port Circle
Pompano Beach, FL 33064

Call Kevin (610-637-0202) with questions or to let us know what you will be giving, so we don't end up with 25 filing cabinets!

Thank you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Medical Team in Haiti

Hi, I'm sorry to send this to you again but all of the links weren't working. I think they are all linked correctly now. Please forgive me! I was trying to link from a Facebook page to the blog and apparently something didn't work right!

First Evangelical Free Church of St. Louis has had a long-term ministry in Haiti. God formed a medical team within a week of the earthquake so Dr. T.R. Lewis, an orthopedic surgeon and Dr. Jane Caldwell, an anesthesiologist were joined by Halsey Julien, CRNA, to take their medical skills to Haiti. Here are some video clips taken by a St. Louis TV station and reported by Casey Nolen:

Here is a documentary about the hospital where they are working:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

An e-mail with an offer, followed by a phone call. Sketchy directions with a boost from the GPS. We jump in the truck and head to the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Several kilometers down the dusty road, which is strangely devoid of any population, just when we fear we're on the wrong path - hallelujah, in the middle of "nowhere" stands the mission compound we were searching for - bustling with missionaries and children. We met a team of visiting Christian volunteers there with "Global Aid Network," and true to their name, they connected with us to bless Haitians. They had a roomful of baby food and formula powder to get into the right hands, and they trusted us. So we loaded our truck, with the school-age orphans happily pitching in, and then drive back into the city. We head to the orphanage where we had established a rapport last week with the women in charge. Once again, directions are vague. We prayerfully follow our noses as we weave down streets past huge piles of rubble on each side, and then we spot the gate: "That's it! Thank you, Jesus!" says our driver. Smiles greet us and kisses from the ladies. We ask them about their food supply and they admit that it's quite a stretch to feed the children every day. Most of these children are under four - many under two years old. We explain that this "baby food" can feed any and all of them, for a long time, and encourage the cook to be creative in blending it into the pot of sauce for their one daily meal of rice. Just think of all the nutrients they'll get from that stuff! The powder milk should go first to the babies. Frankly, we don't know if the cook has any clue. But thank God, there's a lady pediatrician who visits three times a week. She has a big heart for this flock of the littlest lambs. She'll give them a lesson on how to nourish them with this strange food. The ladies are so grateful for the food, even though a little befuddled. Apparently the doctor is not the only one whose heart is touched by these most vulnerable ones, a team of French volunteers with "Protection Civile" are making rapid progress building a house for them! It is rising at the foot of the mountain of rubble. After kisses goodbye, we turn around to make our jumpy bumpy way back to the hotel. That little errand took us 6 hours! We are happy the Lord connected the dots and orchestrated this delivery, happy to be His instruments. We are humbled and filled with admiration for all those who give a hand, like those French volunteers, but especially, those heroic women who used every ounce of their strength to rescue all those tiny tots from a collapsing orphanage, four weeks ago today.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Such destruction...everywhere.

A team member took a walk inside the National Cathedral the other day. He followed some photographers in and the scene from inside was just of a few columns standing and rubble piled over six feet high. There are concrete blocks hanging by a rebar thread and even while inside, tiny rocks fell from the columns. A few blocks down the road was the former National Archive Building and rubble was strewn all over the front sidewalk. That “rubble” was littered with forms, requests and documents that were running Haiti. There were stamped requests for shipping orders, health records, copies of fines paid and all of the country's birth certificate records are buried under the building, as well.
Such destruction...everywhere.

The work has just begun! Our first responders have left Haiti to take a break but fresh people have arrived with five more to come this week to set up a base house.

Here is a note from the couple who left Rome to devote time in Haiti

Haiti Day 8
We were alone this weekend in this strange country. We had thought that we might not get anything accomplished besides "holding down the fort" this weekend, but our logistics chief sent us an e-mail saying he had had trouble getting hold of the Shelterbox people. Shelterbox is a non-profit that provides an incredibly useful assortment of tools and household goods, including an impermeable tent, all packaged in a Rubbermaid crate sized box. They are designed to be dropped or delivered in disaster areas. This Cornwall, UK organization had brought 10,000 units into Haiti, but like all big organizations here, had no infrastructure for delivering their resources. That's where we came in. Smaller NGOs and non-profits have been called on to help with distribution. It's something we didn't think about much before, but we can't just show up in a crowd of desperate people and start handing out resources. It has created chaos, bad will toward the ones who received hand outs, and sometimes business opportunities for the shrewd ones in the crowd.

Shelterbox gave us permission to distribute 50 of their units. They want to make sure we were prioritizing the most vulnerable sectors of the population before they gave us free reign, and we were just as happy to work within those parameters. The meeting was one place in town, and the storage was on a military base elsewhere. It was worth the trouble, the waiting around, and the driving. These were great units, and Tom, at Jesus in Haiti ministries, was thrilled with his consignment of 15 to be used in the villages of Titayen province as early as Monday. Rain is forecast, so we prayed that Tom was able to get these out in time. After we dropped off Tom's load, we were able to pick up a second load of 15 and stored them at our hotel for a day or two. The only problem is that the same guards who have guarded our boxes all want one for their own needy families! What to do about that one? Pray that they are all left in the morning.

After we showed up at the hotel with the load of tents, a pastor and his wife arrived for the meeting that I had asked to have with them to discuss the distribution of their tents. They are just the kind of people who can help us distribute the supplies without causing bedlam. I hoped to have taken a first load into them Sunday afternoon. Again, it may seem strange, but we have had to sneak a few at a time into their very dense neighborhood so that it has not draw any attention, good or bad.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 10 - A New Friend

I arrived about 30 minutes early to the Food Cluster Meeting. I use the official UN terminology for no other reason than to impress you incredibly with my new breadth of experience. "Food Cluster" - you see, if I just left it hanging there you’ll think "man, I should know what that means, shouldn’t I?" Oh, but you shouldn’t...so when I throw it out there you become so much more impressed ‘cause, gosh, Steve must really be important to be invited to this Cluster of Food thingy. OK, so the sad reality of it is that anyone can go to these meetings and about half the stuff they talk about is so far over my head that I just nodded my head the way I did back in Freshman philosophy class.

I headed into the meeting tent early because the "UN city" is literally nothing more than a massive dirt field covered with tents and trailers. It’s been over 90 degrees outside, I’m tired of eating dust, and inside the "Food Cluster" tent I found shade. While there I struck up a conversation with an highly knowledgeable woman, I’ll call her Sara, regarding the challenges of feeding the poor in Haiti. I do my best to sound intelligent, throwing around words like "sustainability", "unsustainability" and "kind of sustainability". Come to find out she’s the International Executive Director of the largest food distribution program in all of Haiti. What an honor to have 30 minutes with her.

Then the meeting was led by a Frenchman, the World Food Program’s head of operations. I sat next to an American woman, across the tent were military personnel from Canada and Argentina, questions came from the head of NGOs from the UK and Germany...and then there’s me—yes, like I belonged there! In any other setting there would have been so much to divide us, but at this time in history and in this place in history, all had gathered in this small army tent to exchange ideas on how to better distribute food out to the Haitian people.

As I talked to Sara I had a question on my mind. "Sara" I asked "I’m new to Haiti. Why, on this tropical island with wonderfully fertile soil and perfect climate, why is it the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere? And for the people, is there a way out of dependency and into sustainability?" She responded by talking about the resiliency of the Hatian people, the spirit of the people, but the fact that they’ve suffered under constant corruption and regime changes. But as she talked about the Haitian people, she had nothing but praise. On Sunday, at church, a relief worker commented about the strength of the people, the heart of this people, the unmistakable joy of this people...even in the midst of tragedy.

And to help put a face to the Haitians I’ve come to know over the last 10 days, let me introduce you to Charles. I had hoped to not have to tell my wife how I met Charles until AFTER I was back in the US, but I really wanted you to meet my new friend and so here goes.
With the power outages and tremors and, yes, danger at night, my colleagues and I have been told to be OFF the streets before nightfall. Well, when I arrived in Haiti there were delays at several points and it was well after dark when my group made our way through Carrefour, the epicenter of the quake and one of the more dangerous parts of town. I heard an all too familiar noise and it was confirmed that a tire was flat. The car was full of Americans with a donation of over $5,000 in cash for an orphanage, laptops, cameras and ipods...and, well, you get the idea. A couple nearby kids began to laugh and pointed fingers toward the car. In the shadows people moved and OK, I was just a little bit nervous.

Then, all of a sudden, a van pulled up behind us, out jumped this huge guy and with a look and a few words the danger was gone….and in that instant, Charles was my new best friend! He stood guard over our car as we changed the tire and I found out that Charles was headed to the same church compound we were. He just happened to be behind us and was all too glad to help. You see, Charles has been a police officer, second in command of the local force in one of the neighboring cities. He donated his time to church, volunteered to escort groups like ours, when needed, and he just happened to be behind us at the right time!

The next day Charles used his day off to travel with a team of relief workers to Cap Haitian, 5 hours away! A day later he returned and went out with those ever present doctors from Singapore as they traveled through a part of PaP most devastated by the quake. Twice, he has taken the day just to travel with me and I've had hours to talk about him and his family (no one killed in the quake), his faith, his joys and his hopes. He’s written a book, a personal account entitled "Testifying to Hope" where he dreams for a day when his hope for this nation will be realized and they will live out their awesome potential. I was honored that he gave me a copy.
Today he traveled with yet another group of relief workers, but incredibly, he called as the day ended to make sure that my colleagues and I were safe and had had a good day.
He’s fluent in French and Creole and speaks enough English so that he and I have traded stories. Charles and I spent the afternoon yesterday riding around in the back of a pickup truck. At one point, with traffic snarled and two drivers yelling at each other, Charles, the Police Commander, was out and order was restored immediately. Oh, and have I mentioned that I’ve yet to see him without a big ’ol smile on his face (OK, maybe that first night when he jumped out of the van and scared everyone off...yes, maybe then!).

I am privileged to call Charles, who has lived joyfully every day "Testifying to Hope", my new friend.

Here are a few scenes of what the team has seen in Haiti.