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. 

haiti_utk public blog index

Entries in Narrative (1)


Tall tales...


As usual, I woke around 0500 to the sound of roosters all around the neighborhood.  Although many more folks have moved in, I scarcely notice any change in the environment.  After I tied up the goat on the lush path, I ran across the exposed stones towards the stream for a quick wash my and the opportunity to mentally prepare my lesson plans.  Before I headed off to school I boiled a few chicken eggs I had foraged on our new indoor stove.  I ate my breakfast on the go and arrived at the schoolyard about ten minutes later.

8 AM

As usual, I fell asleep quickly last night but was awakened annoyingly by roosters well before the sun rose.  After lying in bed for an hour, I grabbed a yogurt that I purchased in bulk from Port-Au-Prince weeks ago.  After taking a shower I stepped outside to enjoy my coffee and the sunrise when I stepped in goat shit.  As if my morning could start any worse, the chickens I had kept had been robbed of their eggs.  Oh well, soon I’ll be presenting my tales of New York to hordes of curious and adoring children at the school after a bumpy ten minute car ride.


We were fortunate enough to have a special presentation at school today.  The man who presented was actually my neighbor, an expatriate from New York City.  He told the children about how his life changed dramatically when he moved from the Haitian countryside to America decades ago.  After living there for years, he claimed he yearned for the simple life back in Haiti.  He showed us pictures of underground trains, of fifty storey buildings, and people beyond people.  We all ate traditional American food he prepared and stored in his home’s refrigerator.   After three minutes and fifteen seconds, the gooey yellow noodles were as hot as though they have been charcoal for hours.  The kids loved them.

12:00 PM

My ten minute drive became an hour experience after my tire blew on the way to the school this morning.  After leaving it with a handy motorcycle riding man, I arrived just in time to begin my presentation and the kids loved every minute.  I utilized the school’s solar generated power to run my laptop and the projector displaying the PowerPoint I made.  Afterwards, I hooked up the microwave to give them a taste of a very un-Haitian food, macaroni and cheese.  After a brief conversation with my friendly neighbor, I realized it was actually a shorter walk than drive to our homes.  I figured I would pick the truck up later, and decided to walk home.


I am going to the community cookout at the pavilion tonight.  I’m so thankful my neighbors appreciate community gathering as it is something I’ve valued since childhood, even during my time at University in Port-au-Prince.  It is my commission to bring the fried plantains and sweet potatoes.  I am quite nervous as it has been mildly rainy throughout the day and I need dry charcoal to prepare them as the generator has been out.  Along with my nerves regarding the vegetables, I’ll have to say I’m anxious to run into Policard Mackenson tonight.  He is new to the neighborhood and I found him quite interesting during his presentation in my class today.

7:00 PM

I can’t help but have a skip in my step as I walk back to the neighborhood from L’ Exode.  Ella Clavessaint’s face is imbedded upon my mind.  With poise, charm, and intelligence, it is her-the Haitian woman-I so desperately missed during my time in the states.  She taught the students with such confidence, it was evident they had deep regard to her.  It looks like I’ll be attending the community cookout tonight after all.