Contradictions & Compassion in Global Health Work


It is difficult to find a place on earth that is more unlike rural Haiti than Newton, Massachusetts.  As I make my morning commute outbound on the Green Line with an additional mile walk through well manicured suburban neighborhoods, the thought of what it may be like to be waking up in the rural town of Fond-des-Blancs continuously crosses my mind.  Nestled in the mountains of southern Haiti, the community rises each day with the challenge of getting by in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. In an attempt to bridge these two communities the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation works to reduce unnecessary suffering and improve the standard of living for the southern peninsula of Haiti.

My passion for work in Global Health and Development has been inspired and cultivated throughout my past three years at Boston College. As an International Studies major with minors in Medical Humanities and Philosophy, I have spent a lot of time exploring the theories, policies, and ethics involved in international development.   This has provided me with an understanding of the importance of sustainability in non-profit operations. SBHF upholds this standard through its holistic vision of health and its commitment to the community–as 98% of employees are Haitian.  This has shaped my perspective while completing daily tasks such as donor data entry, taking phone calls, and editing newsletters, as I better understand how my role is integral in achieving the organization’s vision. 

Most importantly, Boston College has provided me with a deeper understanding of how compassionate actions must uphold the dignity of every person.  For St. Boniface, this means never turning a patient away.  While skyping with the Haiti office in a recent meeting, two premature babies were flown to the Hospital  to receive the care that could not be offered in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. These moments of limitless care fill me with a sense of a humility throughout my work and bring me to a fuller understanding of solidarity and service.

Written by Megan Keenan, BC Class of 2017


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