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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brother Jim's reflections for 24 Jan 2010

Today started out as any other day this week. We went to our site, found the wounded and set up camp. The usual wounds and the usual infections were there. NPR visited us so maybe you'll be able to hear about it on the radio. Three things stick out in my mind today, the cases of diarrhea, the orphan, and the transportation of patients.

Diarrhea is now starting to take over the camps. Many many mothers came in with their babies, and adults came in as well. We offered them water with sugar and salt. There was little else we could do. My guess is that soon the entire camps will be infected. We also saw a case of conjunctivitis, which as any school teacher can tell you spreads quickly. To this point my previous third world experience has shown me that a child can be playing one day, get diarrhea the next, and be dead the following day. As we were leaving the camp I noticed a number of children playing. What is in store for three days from now?

While we were seeing patients a taxi driver came up to us with a small boy. He told me that the boy's entire family was killed in the quake, and that he had latched onto him for the past week. The driver was nice, but had three children of his own and could no longer afford the small boy. I flagged down a couple from the Dominican Republic and convinced them to take him home for one month. From there I will try to put them in contact with the Jesuits in Santo Domingo to see where we can go from there.

Finally, our Neurosurgeon told us today that there are three of the worst wounded people in town who are at a clinic and needed to get to surgery. We had no way to transport them and did not know what to do. At that moment someone noticed a large flatbed truck with the front window broken out. When I asked who owned the truck I had to laugh... it belongs to Fe y Alegria, the school I work for. In essence, it was my truck! We drove to the clinic, found the patients and transported them. The will never walk again, but they will live.
Brother Jim Boynton, SJ


  1. Br. Jim, I called you Fr. Jim in the last post. I had Fr. Jim Martin on the mind, as I had just read a blog post of his at Americamagazine.org that he had written about you and Team Rubicon.

    May God hold you all in the palm of His hand, and keep you safe and healthy. Wish I could get some Immune Boost with Epicor made by Natrol to you.

  2. Here is the link to the blog post at America Magazine:


  3. Betadine will work in a pinch .. a few drops of iodine in drinking water goes a long way. That was pretty common in until about the 1970's or so but people seem to have forgotten that these days but iodine tablets are still available for water treatment. Betadine 10% at 4 drops per liter of water seems to work well, tastes less nasty than chlorine and is probably available in medical kits. Not for use by pregnant women, though.

  4. Brother Jim, Thank you for sharing with us today.hay you needed transportation,and god gave you the way.:)

  5. Is there enough wood debris available to build fires for boiling local water to render it safe? If the locals could provide a way to make their own safe drinking water, it might go a ways towards reducing the misery.

    I would probably trust water boiled in an old tub of some sort over ground water at this point.

  6. Hola Jim. Thanks God you are OK. You are in our prayers along with all Team Rubicon and the haitians in need. God ways are still mysterious but I'm sure that you will be doing his job with honor and courage. Just like you are. Receive a big hug from your mexican friends from The Grand: Lidia, Pedro, Hugo, Norma, etc. God be with you our dear friend.

  7. I wish there were a way you could bring some of the orphans back to the US with you! My husband and I are in the process of getting certified to adopt and would welcome that little boy into our family.

  8. Br. B., stay strong, keep the faith, and know you are in the prayers of many. We are not given anything we cannot handle. You are doing great things-- difficult things. My thoughts are with you, your mission, and the people of Haiti.