Michael Oliphant


This is the first in a series of blog posts by people who are taking part in our Global Home Challenge, an 80-day virtual trip around the world.

Mike Oliphant (center) with his Fuller Center Global Builders team on one of his four service trips to Haiti.

A long history of Fuller Center involvement

I retired in 2015 and moved to Brasstown, N.C. in January 2017. Brasstown is the home of the John C. Campbell Folk School, and we are happy to be part of this community.

My work life of about 50 years was 1/3 college teaching, 1/3 nonprofit housing development work and 1/3 other stuff. I retired from Brevard College after 7 years and taught at Warren Wilson College for 4 years before that. I taught mostly business courses, but I also organized bicycle tour courses and other “intensive learning opportunities.” My last course in May 2015 was a 3-week paddling trip on the Savannah River with 12 students and 2 professors.  

My first trip with the Fuller Center was a 2014 building week in Haiti. My wife, Martha Dysart, is a nurse midwife and we volunteered with Midwives for Haiti. Since then I have been to Haiti with Fuller Center three more times, Nicaragua twice, Peru twice and El Salvador once. The El Salvador trip was in January, 2020 and we hope to return in November. I did Habitat work weeks in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Jamacia years ago. I have participated in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure on the Natchez Trace twice and most recently on the GAP & C&O Trails. I took student groups to Americus and Koinonia, met with Millard Fuller, and went to Sunday school with Jimmy Carter.

Given the global pandemic, travel will be limited but we want to make sure that we continue to build houses. The Fuller Center has developed the Global Home Challenge to raise funds for “No Travel Building.” We chose Haiti because we haven’t been able to travel there in the last couple of years and we know that our team in Pignon will do a good job of choosing a family in need, build a great house, and report back to us.

Every team that travels to build with the Fuller Center Global Builders contributes an amount that covers the building costs of a house in addition to the expenses of the trip. The typical house can be built for $6,000 in the countries mentioned. So a team of 12 contributing $500 each covers the cost of a house. The team will get to meet the family and follow the construction of the house through photos and video. Any contribution is welcome.

The Global Home Challenge has several options for participants.

  • Just make a donation (Our team is PIGNON2020.)
  • Join the team and ask your friends and family to contribute.
  • Pledge to walk / run / bike as part of your fundraising effort.

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One Comment

  • Thanks for all you’ve done to help folks have simple, decent places to live, Mike!


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