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Local couple to build houses in Haiti

A Hendersonville couple traveling to Haiti in February to help the build houses for the poor hope are raising money for the home-building effort with a 400-mile bicycle ride along the Natchez Trace Parkway.


Martha Dysart and Michael Oliphant plan to volunteer with a house building project led by the Fuller Center for Housing. Dysart, a certified midwife, will volunteer with Midwives for Haiti working with Haitian midwives. The Fuller Center was founded by Millard and Linda Fuller, who were also the founders of Habitat for Humanity. Haiti was hard hit by the earthquake in 2010 and the housing work of the Fuller Center in Haiti is in direct response to that need.

MikeOliphantMike Oliphant
In March, the couple will join the Fuller Center Spring Bike Ride of 400 miles on the Natchez Trace Parkway, described as one of the 10 best bike rides in the country. The ride originates in Nashville, Tenn., and ends in Jackson, Miss. The riders will spend seven days pedaling and take a day off to help build a house for a family in Yalobusha, Miss.
Poverty housing is a major issue in the world today. More than 1 billion people worldwide live in substandard housing and an additional 100 million are homeless.
There is a huge need for decent homes all over the world, and even right in our own communities, the couple said. That's one reason they decided to try to help out by joining the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure. "And they think it will be a fun way to celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary — go figure," the couple said in a news release.
Michael, a professor at Brevard College, is taking spring semester off. Prior to college teaching, he worked with Housing Assistance Corporation, a local non-profit housing development organization. He says he has had the privilege of traveling with student volunteer groups to Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga., where he had a chance to meet with Millard Fuller and learn about the work of the Fuller Center. Martha, a certified nurse midwife, is employed by Pardee Hospital.
The goal this year is to raise $175,000 as a team, which would bring the total raised by Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure riders to one million dollars. Michael and Martha's goal is to raise $1,500. Donors can give 1 cent, 10 cents or 25 cents a mile. Donations will be used to build houses in Haiti. Mike and Martha are paying their own expenses for both trips.
Supporters may donate by going to http://fullercenter.donorpages.com/BikeAdventure/MichaelOliphant/ or sending checks payable to "The Fuller Center" with " Dysart & Oliphant" in the memo line and send to The Fuller Center for Housing
, Attn: Bike Adventure, 
701 S. Martin Luther King Blvd., 
Americus, Ga. 31709.