2011 haiti_utk publication

One to Another

A Downloadable Publication from the 2011 Haiti UTK Studio


WBIR Report of the Haiti Studio

Introduction haiti_utk

Welcome to the Haiti UTK site! The work on these pages reflects student engagement in design for both a school and housing for the community of Fonds des Bloncs, Haiti in collaboration with the Haiti Christian Development Fund. The project was initiated in the early fall of 2010 and subsequently a class of 19 students, in the spring of 2011, was given the responsibility of deisgning a secondary school. The school is under constuction. A new group of students is now hard at work developing new housing in Fonds des Blancs. The work of these students can be seen in the pages of this blog. Students of the class will be traveling to Haiti Februay 2-6 to collect addiional data. It is anticipated that this second phase of the project will be completed in late April with construction starting summer 2012. The work of the students is being guided by three primary faculty, John McRae, David Matthews, and Chris King, a local practictioner. The students during their exploration will engage a wide range of issues including context, culture, resources, climate and other outside factors not common to their expereince. 

Students: Cassidy Barnett, Aaron Brown, Sarah Heimermann, Mitzi Coker, Emily Corgan, Ben Cross, Peter Duke, Emily Fike, Sam Funari, Lauren Heile, Kendra McHaney, Lauren Metts, Morgan Oiler, Bernice Paez, Forrest Reynolds, Emily Ryan, James Sawyer, Zachary Smith, Robert Thew, Cory Wikerson Faculty: John McRae, Chris King, David Matthews

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Special Thanks!

The Haiti Studio for spring 2012 is being supported by HaitiServe foundation based in Knoxville Tennessee, that is focused on outreach and engagement in improving conditions in Haiti. 

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Entries in market (3)




The sun's not quite up

But I got the notion

That the morning has begun

Because of all the commotion


People pass my house

More than a few

The roosters call out



In a hurry

People are on their way

To trade, sell, and buy

Cause' it's market day



This particular Friday

The market has a crowd

Selling goods with a megaphone

can be quite loud


I came to get poultry

then be on my way

I didn't have enough money

I could not pay


I bargained and bartered

That's all I could do

But the rooster laughed out



The trade was no good

I was not a winner

I guess it's plantains

For tonights dinner


On my way home

I took the path

There were boys in the river

Taking a bath


Their mothers were near

Washing their clothes

In this river

Anything goes


There was also a rooster

I told it to shoo!

But it just mocked me



Finally back home

I'm dying of thirst

In order to cook

We'll need water first


Back down to the river

With jug in hand

Not sure what's for dinner

Still needed a plan


I fill up my jug

With water from the spring

Then I see that same rooster

It's so annoying


It follows me back

All the way to my house

I didn't notice because

It was as quiet as a mouse


What to have for dinner

I still had no clue

But then I got an idea



I prepare to cook

Grab some plates and a bowl

Then head outside

With plenty of charcoal


I started cooking the food

No time to stop

Then grabbed the rooster



The meal was delicious

We cleaned our plates

I was exhausted

And sleep could not wait


We get ready for bed

But it's hard without light

Looking forward to the morning

And a long restful night


I finally went to bed

But then I woke up at two

“You've gotta be kidding me”



Visit to Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti


Upon arrival to Fond-des-Blancs, after a 4 hour bus ride that covered only about 70 miles, we knew we were in for a culture shock. The comforts of home, like readily available water, electricity, air conditioning, etc, were nowhere to be found. The house we stayed was connected to a generator to provide some of these things, but only for about an hour a day.


Group gathered outside Jean and Joy's guest house (where we stayed). Photo by Cassidy Barnett

During our daily activities, most of which consisted of walking or hiking, we were able to witness the daily life of the Haitian people living in Fond-des-Blancs. Although we were able to witness, it was very hard for us to relate to and understand. For some, much of the day was spent traveling (by foot or donkey) to gather clean water, which often came from nearby streams. In the same streams, sheep, chickens, donkeys, and cattle drank while the women washed their clothing in it.


Local women washing their clothing in the stream. Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti. Photo by Cassidy Barnett

The market was an unforgettable experience, in many aspects. There were no storefronts, credit card machines, or cash registers. Many items were laid out on a cloth on the dirt, while some had wooden tables under a tent. Women worked and sold most of the items at market, while men and women of all ages crowded the market’s main cross-section.


Fond-des-Blancs market. Photo by Zach Smith

We stuck out worse than a sore thumb. Unlike in the city, where aid relief and tourism is common, many people of Fond-des-Blancs rarely see groups of white people.


Some of our group walking through the market. Photo by Zach Smith

Fond-des-Blancs market. Photo by Zach Smith

Motorcycles and cell phones were a phenomena that it still a mystery to us. In a country where people barely have enough money to eat and drink clean water, they have cell phones and many have motorcycles.


Photo by Zach Smith

Many of these cultural aspects are foreign and hard for many of us to understand. As we returned home, we felt as though we had a good understanding of daily life and living quarters of the people of Fond-des-Blancs, Haiti. 


Site Overview

During our site visits, it was immediately apparent to us that the parameters of the site were smaller than we had envisioned. The west side of the site has slopes on each side of the stream much steeper than we originally thought. The vegetation is lush, with many different types of trees and shrubs.

Site boundary at stream crossing. Photo by Cassidy Barnett

A group palm trees at the front of the site creates a natural shaded area.

Palm trees. Photo by Cassidy Barnett

There are also several cleared-out areas, as seen below.

Photo by Zach Smith


Image Tour of Fonds des Blancs Haiti - December 2011


Fonds des Blancs Friday MarketThe following images and gallery are created from my first trip to Haiti with John McRae and Chris King as part of the haiti_utk project. The images represent my first impressions of the Haiti and our work to be done this spring as an ongoing effort with Jean thomas to design a school and residential community for Fonds des Blancs Haiti.

Rural Home in Fonds des Blancs Haiti