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Our Story

I was reminded recently that our friends in Haiti do not have the freedom to think about tomorrow.  Planning and dreaming is a luxury that we alone enjoy.  Our planning started in 1995 with two churches: One on a mountain top in Lookout Mountain, Tennessee-The Church of the Good Shepherd, the other on a mountain in Petit Harpon, Haiti-St. John the Evangelist. Both churches have schools: Good Shepherd enrolls 142 students, ages six months to five in more than  10,000 sq. ft. St. John’s had 235 students ages 3 to 19 in less than 1,200 sq. ft. in a  one room church. Good Shepherd has 16 teachers, a director, and an assistant and support staff. St. John’s had 3 teachers. Our expectations were high.  We entered into partnership with St. John to build a school.  We planned, we dreamed and we used our freedom to think about tomorrow for the children of Petit Harpon. We expected the site to be remote.  We just didn’t know how remote:


a three hour drive from the airport

a one hour climb up the mountain

                                    no electricity

                                    no running water

                                    no road- so no delivery trucks

                                    all the supplies had to be carried in on foot or by donkey


If you can image buying all your groceries including a case of cokes and a 40 lb. bag of dog food at the Wal-Mart and then carrying them on your head as you walked up a steep mountain, that would be a typical trip for a Haitian up to Petit Harpon.

 

We expected the Chinook Helicopters to deliver our big storage containers.  We didn’t expect to have to rebuild a house and cook shed after the helicopter blew them away. We also didn’t expect there would be a thousand rocks that we would have to move and then move again.


We should have expected to hear, “Donkey tired” and often we would be down there ready to work, 
without cement. We expected the poor donkeys to carry 2800 sacks of cement up the mountain, two at a time…..

 

A project that we estimated would take four months, took a little less than four years. However, we never expected so many people would want to go and work: Approximately 89 folks went along at least once.  All in all 152 construction trips were made.  Of the 89 that have gone, 50 are parishioners at Good Shepherd.  The groups represented St. Paul’s, St. Martins, St. Stephen’s Oak Ridge, The Church of the Nativity, Fort Oglethorpe, and we had great help from Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Catholics alike.

 

We needed to raise initially $120,000 to build the school, maintain it and support the program for three years.

We never expected to raise that much money or fathom how many folks would support us through donations, clothing, supplies and prayers for every single trip.  To date we have raised over $200,000 which includes two more years of support for salaries, tuition, uniforms and school supplies ($6000/year).

 

We did expect it to be a very rewarding experience, but we had no idea how much we would learn and benefit from the partnership. We expected our first bathroom design to work…..only to have the priest, very embarrassed, tell me that they use rocks instead of toilet paper and the rocks would clog the pipes. We expected the second design to work and we built it.  By catching rain water on the roof, draining it into big cisterns under four classrooms we could store what we thought was enough water to use daily to flush our trench designed toilets.  Well, sometimes it doesn’t rain for months, sometimes they need the water for other things.  So without the daily flushing, our bathrooms did not work.  They built their own one holers over our collection pit.


                                    We did not expect to be remodeling our old bathroom into a kitchen.

                                    We expected to get to know one another and meet some new folks in Petit Harpon.

                                    We didn’t expect to form such wonderful friendships.


Many times we didn’t know what to expect but we did expect the unexpected and still do!There’s an expression…. Degaje! Which means make do or manage.

 

God sent the rainbow to us at Petit Harpon as a covenant, a promise of his everlasting love, and faithfulness as we continue our partnership and “to give us (all) guidance till our goals and his are one.”


 

Outreach Haiti Committee:

Charlie Brock, Chairperson

Phone for info (423) 400-6420

Frank McDonald, Vice Chairperson

Clay Crouch, Secretary

Lisa Brock, Treasurer

Phone for financial (423) 825-1202

Charles Mahan, Newsletter Editor

Ann Aiken

Jon Dutton

Cameron Ellis

The Rev. Lou Garcia

Fred Robinson

Keith Sanford

Mary Beth Sutton

The Rev. Ann Weeks

The Church of the Good Shepherd | PO Box 145 211 Franklin Road Lookout Mountain, Tennessee 37350

423.821.1583
 Please send all checks or donations to:
 131 Sumach Street, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350