Brief History of The Tree of Life
Conceptually, The Tree of Life began in 2006 when my son, Joshua, decided to spend the summer in a small town in Haiti called Source Matelas. This is the home of my son’s Haitian friend, Bebe. During his stay in the village, Bebe Dorsaintval showed my son a privately run orphanage in disrepair in another village. At this point, our family decided to help with water distribution and clothing, but felt a greater calling to begin our own orphanage. In 2010 we purchased our own land (two acres) in Source Matelas and developed a skeleton fund-raising program. Bebe managed and still manages all of the operations in Haiti. Towards the end of 2010, we became an official Haitian orphanage, received 501(c)3 status, and accepted 15 orphans (Seven girls and eight boys between four and eight years old). We became obligated to give these children regular meals, clothing, activities, and schooling. The obligation has had its blessings. We had a small school with a few teachers for these orphans. In 2016, we accepted 200+ community children to attend our school. This meant that we started to build classrooms and hire teachers to teach all these children. At present, we have been fortunate to have had some corporate as well as individual contributions in order to pay for the salaries of fifty employees and another dorm, a water system, a library, a garden, a multi-purpose building, more classrooms, a small infirmary, and a playground. We have always believed and continue to believe that children are the future of Haiti.
–Roger Garrison, President
Bebe standing on our new property in 2010
A Volunteer’s Story
I heard Ralph Adrien and Roger Garrison talk about a mission trip to Haiti. I decided to try it on a lark. Prior to the trip, Roger assigned me to design a library for a pre-computer space. I called on my experience from fourth grade forty-five years ago and did so. I also had a great time understanding how familiar Bible versions ran between between King James English and Krayeol. But when I arrived, I fell in love. I fell in love with the children, I loved reading to them in broken Kraeyol, and trying to talk with them in confused language. I am happy with the start of the library. I’ve been back once since then, and hope to return this winter.
I’ve since engaged in mission-creep sitting on the board and acting as treasurer.
Levi standing by the new library building