Following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, TouchGlobal swiftly responded and has continued to send crisis responders to serve in Haiti ever since. We have established a presence and plan on staying here for a long time, so we thought it wise to set up a blog that family, friends, supporters, and teams can check to find first-hand information about life and ministry at the Haitian Queen (the TouchGlobal Crisis Response headquarters in Gressier, Haiti).

This blog will be updated regularly by various team members and staff.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hard Work and Blessings

Reflections on the day from Dave, a volunteer from Charlotte, NC:

We had a very full day of work at two different sites. First was an orphanage where our team began construction of a school room for the kids. This orphanage housed approximately 85 children including about 10 infants. Their housing consisted of UNICEF tents and two larger tents for the kitchen and provisions. The facility is run by two Americans and a number of volunteer Americans in their twenties. The children seemed well fed; we ate with them a meal of "soy rice" and water.

We were struck by the complete devotion of the folks working to care for the children. Conditions were poor but everyone seemed to value their work. The orphanage used to have a building for the children but it was destroyed by the quake. The two running the facility were literally on the side of the road after the quake with all the kids. Volunteers from the Canadian Army helped get their tent city up and running after the director was able to locate a vacant piece of property.

This afternoon, we returned to Marechal where we continued to work on the community's only latrine. The members of the community have worked alongside of us, and they seem skilled in the basic skills of masonry. We are developing friendships with some of the workers and many of the children. I cannot tell you the number of times they have asked "When are you leaving, and when will you return?" I believe they long for lasting relationships with someone who will help them improve their lifestyles. The people are very polite and jovial and seem to have a good understanding of different languages, i.e., Creole, Spanish, French, and some English.

Building the latrine while Haitians watch from the shade tent.

We each have worked very hard but do not want to leave without finishing our two projects. Tomorrow will be a very full day, and we plan to start work at 7am and work 'til dark. The heat is brutal, and today it was 97 with high humidity. We are beat but being fed well at the compound where we all crash each evening at about 9pm. God has us here for a reason. We are doing a little good for our Haitian friends, but the images we are seeing and the people we are meeting are no doubt going to have lasting impacts upon all of us. Seeing Kevin, a former NFL player, play with the children is a hoot. Craig continues to capture a number of great pictures, and Bill and John are true work machines.

It is a true blessing to be here!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A little bit of Haiti at Home

Of all the things I brought home from Haiti, the thing I cherish most is a hand written recipe for Haitian Rice and Beans. This was by far my favorite of all the delicious meals that Rosita our cook made for us, so I of course begged her for the recipe. She being the sweetest woman obliged but with apologies because it is in French.

"No worries" I told her, I will just get a friend to translate. And I did. Thanks to my good friend, and faithful blog reader and supporter, George Walter! (Thanks, George)
The problem is that some important parts of the recipe were missing, and there was going to need to be a fair amount of educated guessing, to get close. But, after some hard work and even a bit of prayer and one call to Haiti I got it right!

And now I have it available for you, enjoy.

Rosita's Red Beans and Rice (with a little bit of improvisation)
Feeds about 10


3 cups of white rice - picked over and washed
1/2 cup of dried red beans
Chicken and Veggie Bouillon Cubes (amount may vary, but feel lucky, cause this was what I discovered was missing when I called Haiti)
1/4 cup of cooking oil
1/4lb of diced bacon
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 stalk of leeks finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 soup spoon worth of butter


1. Bring 4 cups of water to boil
2. Add Bouillon Cubes which ever you like, I added equal parts veggie and chicken
3. Add 1/2 cup of red beans and allow to sit and boil for about least 2 hours. (no need to pre-soak the beans)
4. Rinse off your rice and if you are in Haiti, pick out anything that might not belong, like mouse droppings or rocks. Measure out your 3 cups and set aside for later.
5. In a large skillet or frying pan fry your cubed bacon, in the cooking oil if you like (not sure where the 1/4 cup of cooking oil was to go, but this seemed like the only place.) while that is frying, chop up your veggies and then add them to the bacon and oil, allow to simmer all together in the hot oil. Then remove the majority of the oil leaving just enough for flavor.
6. When your red beans are soft to bite through, about 2 hours, you can pour them and the red broth into your skillet and add your 3 cups of rice.
7. I found I needed more liquid so I made more broth and added it as well, just enough to cover the rice and beans and veggies and bacon. Then cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and allow it to simmer until all the liquid is gone and rice is tender.
8. Add a spoon of butter.
9. Salt to taste.
10. Serve to those you love.

Directions to Rosita's Village

Just for future reference for anyone who would like to visit the church that Rosita (our cook)'s husband pastors, here are the directions:

-head West towards Leogane and take a left on a dirt path immediately after the traffic jam at the speed bumps
-eventually the road will get washed out and become impassable; veer to the right and proceed through several farmer's fields until you can spot the path again
-some potholes have turned into small lakes, make sure truck is in 4 wheel drive and proceed through the lakes
-after several more km, the road will end abruptly at a 30ft wide river. drive through the river; be sure to keep enough momentum to climb the opposite bank and continue
-again, the road will end at the river; this time, turn right and drive directly up the river bed against the flow of water. you will bottom out several times. don't stop or you won't start again
-eventually a path will appear again but will end again abruptly, this time at the edge of a cliff overlooking a flood plain
-look to your left, there will be a path about the right size for a motorcycle or a bicycle; take it
-if you hug the left side of the truck as tight as you can to the treeline, enough of the right-side tires will stay on the cliff edge to keep the truck from careening over the edge
-as a final challenge, part of the cliff has sunk and will tilt the truck at a 30 degree angle over the cliff. enjoy the view
-after a couple more stream crossings and road washouts, you will arrive at the church

Keep in mind, I accomplished this task with only 8 Brazilians, 7 Haitians, 3 Americans (18 people) and several containers of food and water in a 5 seat truck; additional research will be required to find the absolute capacity limit. Pursue at your own risk.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Last week in town... Reggie

Reggie 3-10-10

On Wednesday, as part of routine, I drove the nurses from the Haitian Queen, our house in Gressier, to the clinic where we were working in Carrefour. The trip is usually about ½ an hour to 45 minutes in normal traffic. The road is good for the first part of the trip, and you can make good time… for the first ten minutes. As we pass the first small town, Gressier, there are large cracks in the road left from the initial quake, and expanding through the constant tremors. Everyone avoids the cracks as they drive, and the shoulder of the road grows wider with each passing day as the cars and trucks go further off the road, as the cracks continue to spread.

I dropped the nurses off at the clinic this day, and set out by myself to meet the guys from ITEC, a ministry from Pa. that sets up generators and does electrical work for Missions. We met them during our Ike response in Galveston. We were going to meet near the airport. Anywhere around the airport is a common place to meet, because it’s about the only place that everyone knows how to get to with the blocked streets and lack of street signs.

After the meeting, I ran some simple errands, like getting supplies for the house and checking out pricing for porta-potties… at least that should be simple. Going to get nuts bolts and washers for the bunk beds we are building takes hours, because no individual store carries all the items you need. I found that you have to get bolts and nuts at one store and the washers at another. This does however create ministry opportunities in and of itself if you don’t allow yourself to get frustrated in the process. I met Reggie on my first trip to the A& B Hardware store last week, and now I look for him every time I come to the store. We have had many conversations in the “showroom” and at the counter.

The store has a display board where you look for what you want to buy, and then you tell the guy helping you what you want, and then he goes and pulls it from the shelves in the back for you. This is done for each individual item. So the process repeats itself numerous times until you have collected all your items. There is an even more confusing process for payment, but I’ll not bore you with details.

So Reggie helps me pull my items, and we talk. I attempted to ask him for what I wanted in Creole the first time we met, and I stumbled through the process. I’m sure it was equally painful for the both of us. When I finished, he said to me “so you want 5 of those fittings?” in plain English. Surprised by his comment I said to him,” Why didn’t you tell me you speak English?” To which he replied, “I just did”. We both laughed and continued on as he helped me through the buying process.

This particular day, though, I came in to buy just a few things, and ask him for directions to the porta potties place. He gave the directions to me as best he could and we parted ways. After driving in circles for awhile, I called the contact number to ask for directions. He said, “ I’m near the airport stuck in traffic- let’s meet by the airport”- What a surprise! We met at a common stop- the National Brand gas station across from the airport and drove through traffic for 30 minutes to go about 5 miles.

After our meeting, I got a call from the guys back at the Haitian Queen informing me that they needed more bolts, nuts and washers.- Here we go again. I went back to the store and saw Reggie for the 2nd time that day. He asked me if I found the porta pottie place, I said a simple, “Oui, Merci “sparing him the ugly details.

I was finished running the errands that I needed to complete that day, and had an hour or so to kill before picking up the nurses from the clinic. So after Reggie got the bolts, I needed, I engaged him in conversation; me speaking my broken Creole, and him speaking English. Another counter guy named Gerald, joined us and we spoke about family, where I work and why I had come in so many times, and just about every day for supplies. In the middle of our conversation, Reggie said, “This is good, we need to practice our English. We need to better it…improv it.” “Improve it”, I corrected him. He said that’s what I am telling you -this is good because you can learn Creole from us and we can learn English from you. We need a place to do that.

Since our ministry is so relational oriented, light bulbs went off in my head. What better way to meet people, build relationships, and share the love of Christ than by just conversing in both languages!! They will learn English and Jesus at the same time; and I will learn Creole and maybe some theological terms in Creole! We can have ESL, CSL and Bible study all at the same time-Stay tuned!

This afternoon I had the joy of calling the director of another orphanage we visited last week. Their building was destroyed (whose wasn’t?) and they’ve been loaned an unused chicken coop where their children are now sleeping. Unfortunately, almost 20 of the children were still sleeping on the dirt floor of the coop when our team went to assess the situation. As soon as they returned we made one of the easier decisions we’ve had to make. “Use every piece of scrap wood we have and make 4 bunk beds to get these kids off the dirty chicken coop floor!” (Each bed will hold 3 children sleeping across...not length-wise). Most orphanages and schools have many “visits”, lots of promises, few who return. So what a joy to call the director this afternoon, introduce myself (“Yes, we’re the green-shirts!”) and tell him that the 4 bunk-beds were being build as we spoke and asked his permission to deliver them on Tuesday. Imagine MY joy at hearing him yell back in my ear: “Yes, Yes, oh yes, please come. I’ll be there and...and thank you...thank you...God bless you… thank you...thank you again.”

You can’t have Brazilians without having soccer. So on their first night here they organized an informal soccer match with the Haitian youth living in a tent-city nearby. Soccer, nothing more. By the time they were done, over 75 were gathered around, watching and cheering. The next morning, not even knowing about the game, one of our team members was talking to a local Haitian community leader about what we need to do to engage in the community, to make in-roads, to not be seen as just one more outside group. The Haitian responded: “Did you hear about the soccer game yesterday; the whole community is talking about it; today EVERYONE is coming to the next game. That’s what you need to do; that’s how you can become one of us…” Our team member went away thanking God for our Brazilian brothers and what they have done, in less than a week, to help draw us closer to our community.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The sewage guy (hey, that’s what he calls himself) is from Canada, then there’s the children’s worker from Germany, 7 Brazilians pastors and leaders, a retired police officer from the Midwest, 5 nurses from San Diego, a pastor from Nebraska, 4 carpenters from Wisconsin, the public health worker from Minnesota, a water purification expert, our new Haitian friends and …. Uh… me???

That was the group gathered around the dinner table (OK, make that tables!) this evening in our base house here in Haiti. When I was here 3 weeks ago the decision was made to set up this base house; at that time it was just a dream; today it is reality. 23 people will be sleeping here tonight and when dawn breaks we will be heading off in at least 5 different directions. It’s incredible to see the energy of each and every one.

Can I tell you a bit about today…’cause today was pretty cool…

The nurses headed off to a clinic about 30 minutes from here, seeing over 150 patients in about 7 hours. They are working alongside 2 doctors in the entry way of an old church. The construction team finished up the bunk houses outside (where else would you put 24 people?) and tables (that are littered with papers, water purification schematics, lists of contacts, travel schedules and laptops...ever the laptops.) 2 went off to a UN “Shelter Meeting” to talk about needs, resources and housing challenges for this beleaguered nation.

Then there were the Brazilians. All are members of the Evangelical Free Church of Brazil. The EFC-Brazil had NEVER… had NEVER sent a team to do any kind of relief or mission work in the past. Yet with less than 2 weeks notice 8 were able to raise the needed funds and make their way here. We set them up in groups of 2, brought along translators for each and sent them out.

They came back after about 4 hours chomping at the bit to share their stories. One was of a pastor who is 71 years old, having served his church for 55 years and who watched as his building fell to the ground before his very eyes. Another told of an orphanage, 50 some kids who are now living in a cleaned out chicken coup after the destruction of their building. Then there was the Brazilian who went out with a soccer ball under his arm and ended up with about 50 kids and youth around him. Being Brazilian, he set up a soccer game for this afternoon and while I wasn’t able to go—I did hear about 30 neighborhood kids singing and chanting as our “Team” came home after the game.
It did all of our hearts good to see this level of joy around us today.

And as each day ends, we sit around the table(s) and talk about our experiences. It’s a way to talk about—at times with laughter and most nights with many tears—the experiences of each during the day. Last night was a special night as several commented on the privilege of not only being a part of the relief efforts here in Haiti, but also on the privilege of sharing their lives...and pancakes, in this most international of houses.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Haitian Life and Ministry

March 10, 2010
by Jeff Sloan

We got a taste of both life and more ministry today, the nursing team returned to Light Ministries and treated another 100+ patients with 2 doctors.  Carrie helped to categorize and organize all of the donated supplies that have poured in since the earthquake from around the globe. Medicines have come in containers in all shapes and sizes, with little organization and in every language imaginable. It was a total pharmaceutical Tower of Babel.  Now physicians and nurses know what is available, and where to find it.  Chris and the doctors continued to treat patients for conditions that they have only read about in textbooks like mumps, a variety of worms, fungi, and the same -itis’s and otis’s that Chris described yesterday.  Cassie spend the day screening patients and learning Creole from her new friends. Cori and Sara continue  to deliver all the treatments ordered anything from ear irrigation to draining wounds and praying for comfort and healing.
I “spent my day running around Port-au-Prince." We visited two pastors who are partners with TouchGlobal. Pastor Absolon Joseph and Pastor Heder, both of these men have developed holistic ministries to the neighborhoods that the live in and have a real heart for the Lord. What a blessing to be a part of those discussions! I also had a last minute meeting with a pastor from Jesus in Haiti Ministries right in the Missions Aviation Fellowship terminal. We basically drove right along the tarmac and up to the back of the terminal and behind the terminal. The rest of the day was spend going to two hardware stores looking for supplies for various projects. One called Eko Depot is a dead ringer for Home Depot, down to the uniforms and the font on the signs. The other called AB Hardware is a dead ringer for ACE Hardware. Both take an immense amount of time to buy anything from their very, very willing and helpful staff who are burdened by some process that is totally undecipherable.
Everyone is exhausted at the end of the day, when we gather around the table with a whole different kind of short term team than we’ve ever served with.  Many of the people in the house are career missionaries who are recently retired or are TouchGlobal staff.  Some here are moving from one extended assignment to another.  We are truly honored to be sent by our churches, friends and family to be serving and representing Christ in Haiti for such a time as this.
Thank you for your prayers and your support. We are so aware of being prayed for while we are here!


p.s. you can also follow our teams entire trip at 

Monday, March 8, 2010

From Steve Spellman

As our 737 banked around for its final approach into the airport at Port au Prince, I had the strangest mix of emotions. I’d been gone less than 3 weeks—and now I was “back.” I recognized parts of the city as we descended from the west; I could almost make out Carrefour, the epicenter and place where I first stayed. I fought back tears...yet landed with a smile. Honestly, I was caught totally by surprise from my own emotions. And just like that... I was back.

That was 2 days ago. Since then I’ve been all too reminded of the devastation and destruction. One of our team yesterday said they drove past over 30 dumptrucks, all lined up one after the other—empty but waiting to be filled. One Haitian Senator tried to give perspective to the need. Somewhere it was calculated that if the government had 1,000 dumptrucks, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — it would take 3 years to clear all the rubble from Port au Prince. Sobering and why did I WANT to come back?

One look at this face and you will know the answer

Yesterday one of our ministry partners (Jesus in Haiti Ministries) captured this photo at the dump just north of Port au Prince. JIHM provides meals every day to those who live, yes–you read that right, LIVE in the dump. Sadly, beyond that one meal a day these dump dwellers are still so needy that each day as the trucks pull up, overflowing with garbage, there’s a rush to pick through the trash as it is literally being “dumped”.
And yes, one look at these people and you will know the answer to why I, and so many others, are “backing in…”