Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton’s Reflections from Haiti

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Jesuit Brother Jim Boynton has been on the ground in Haiti from the moment the earthquake hit in January. Br. Boynton teamed up with an group of former Marines who had honed their medical and emergency skills while deployed to Iraq and Afganistan and helped them as they provided assistance to the critical injured and wounded in Port-Au-Prince. During this time, Br. Boynton provided his own insights and reflections via the emergency team’s blog. The Chicago and Detroit Provinces have collected all of Br. Boyton’s blog posts and compiled them into one location on their website, which also includes information on how to help with the Haitian relief and rebuilding efforts.

Here is a recent blog post from Br. Boynton:

There are now over 40 camps of refugees in Port-au-Prince with population estimates ranging from 240,000 to 600,000. Each of these camps is filled with children who have been away from school for about a month, and who wander aimlessly with little to keep them occupied. Last week some of us were talking about the possibility of setting up refugee schools for these kids, and two days later the Jesuit Province was behind the idea. Foi et Joie (Faith and Joy), the school system I work for, will be setting up camp schools in three of the largest areas of displaced people in the city. Our estimates are that we will be educating around 7,000 students, something that even raised the eyebrows of our friends over at UNICEF.

As you can imagine, the planning going into this is enormous, and includes recruiting teachers; requesting funding; meeting with other NGO’s; securing tents, classroom materials, and everything else that any school would have. At times it seems overwhelming, but I do have confidence in our team and the products of the Fe y Alegria educational system around the world. One walk through the camps lets me see firsthand the tremendous need in the educational area, and rekindles the hope that some of these emergency schools might grow into something permanent.

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