Haiti – “Don Bosco Prep”, Ramsey, travels to Haiti to live the Jubilee Year of Mercy

17 March 2016

(ANS – Fort-Liberté) – Don Bosco Prep of Ramsey, N.J., sponsored trips to Haiti over the mid-February winter break for seniors involved in the school’s youth ministry program to assist the poor in those countries. They performed corporal and spiritual acts of mercy for the people they met on their visits.

by Rue Eisen

Eleven senior students and six adults traveled to Haiti for a week in mid-February on a trip led by Fr. Matthew DeGance, SDB, coordinator of youth ministry. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, it has a population of 10 million, with approximately 80% living on less than $2a day.

Students brought food items, health supplies, and sports equipment to distribute as aid. They traveled to the northern, mountainous region and toured the Salesian facilities in both Cap-Haitien and Fort-Liberté.

DBP Senior John Quill reflected upon the mission and the impoverished circumstances that the Haitian people endure: “The trip was a wonderful experience, and the ten other students and I were able to take away a lot of lessons and memories that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. The aspect of the trip that fascinated me the most was seeing the Haitian people always smiling despite the grave social and economic situation they were in.”

Fr. DeGance has traveled to Haiti over half a dozen times and has seen young and old in the area with easily curable diseases except that they lack access to medical care. He has found children afflicted by ailments such as conjunctivitis, ringworm, and fungal infections which require simple treatments, but they have no access to basic health care. The Fort-Liberté area, with a population of 12,000 in the immediate vicinity and over 300,000 in the surrounding region, is amazingly underserved by only one government hospital with just 40 beds and no ambulances.

It is Fr. DeGance’s goal to build a primary-care clinic that would provide several treatment rooms, maternal care, radiology services, a lab, and a pharmacy with staffing of two or three local nurses and a doctor, open from Monday through Friday. The goal for the clinic is to work toward being a self-sustaining entity with patients paying by barter and/or on a sliding scale. So far, Fr. Matt has raised enough money to get the project started and is continuing to build a team of donors to ensure the clinic’s sustainability for the long term.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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