Several of the Haitian young women on MBB scholarship walk 3 hours or more each way from their homes in the mountains to reach the town of Gros Morne, where they attend school. En route, they climb up and down the steep mountains in the predawn darkness and wade across several rivers on foot. And they have to get to school by 7:00a.m.!
Because of such hardships, MBB has decided to lease a home in town that can be transformed into a boarding place for the girls who live at a distance and have no relatives to stay with in town. These girls deserve a safe place with time for study...
Mercyhurst University (Erie, PA) undergrad Caitlin Handerhan, left, pauses while hiking in the mountains of Haiti for a photo with Sr Marilyn. Both spent 8 days in Gros Morne, Haiti, visiting the homes of the Mercy Beyond Borders' scholarship women during June as part of Caitlin's 3-wk internship with Mercy Beyond Borders. MBB will add 34 more young women to its scholarship rolls in the Gros Morne region later this summer.
The founder and exec director of Mercy Beyond Borders, Marilyn Lacey, RSM (left), gave the undergrad commencement address at St Xavier University in Chicago on May 13th, receiving her 3rd honorary doctorate in the process. She urged the new grads to translate their passion into compassion and to use their talents for making the world a more welcoming place for strangers.
Marilyn is pictured here with University President Christine Wiseman. This was Marilyn's 3rd commencement speech since founding MBB; she says it's an excellent way to awaken young adult audiences to the mission of MBB.
Guinea worm, an incredibly painful water-borne parasite that grows inside the human body and then exits through a skin lesion, has been eradicated everywhere in the world except in S.Sudan. Once the worm begins to extrude from the skin, the caregiver must gently twirl it around a stick without breaking it until it has completely emerged. The process can take 3 days and is always accompanied by extreme pain. Here a stoic Sudanese endures without flinching as Sr Angela eases the worm out.
There is some truth to the ol' "Flying Nun" image: over the past 6 months I have visited South Sudan and Haiti, and represented Mercy Beyond Borders by giving numerous presentations in Canada, Australia and throughout the United States: Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky and Indiana, to name a few! Always in the hope of raising awareness about our Mercy Beyond Borders mission and of raising funds where feasible. Each audience is unique. One day it's hundreds of healthcare execs and the next day it's a parish book club. Sometimes it's a university commencement speech in front of thousands, and sometimes it's a girls' leadership club comprised of a few dozen 4th and 5th graders in an elementary school. It's all good! Though I am still waiting for Oprah to call (apparently she doesn't yet realize she needs to meet me!), I am always energized by the willingness of listeners to become involved in our work. In this pix I am speaking to 450 high school teachers and administrators in Melbourne; and as you read this I am meeting our young MBB Scholars in Haiti....