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learned alongside their Haitian counter-
parts for three weeks.
"For our students, it was a real eye-
opener to get some insight into life in
another part of the world where edu-
cation is truly a gift that people are
desperate for," said Fischer. "I hope
they came away with the understand-
ing that deep down we all have that
same fundamental part to us. We all
want the same thing: We all want suc-
cess and we all need to work hard to
achieve it."
and, of
course, a BonaResponds workday
cleaning up Bob's Woods on campus,
there were also sight-
seeing and cultural
exchange opportuni-
ties off campus in-
cluding a boat
excursion on Chau-
tauqua Lake, a dinner
at St. Bonaventure
Parish in Allegany
and a presentation at
Olean Public Library.
The Haitian stu-
dents gave the pro-
gram high marks.
"It was a great priv-
ilege for (us) to have
the chance to see
what the world of-
fers," said Presuma,
who speaks English
well and served as an
interpreter for the
group. "Haitian
youth are responsible
for the future of Haiti.
Opening a path for them
to see where to go is very important."
Djemson Jeudy, from Gonalves, a city
in northern Haiti about the size of Buf-
falo, N.Y., has an undergraduate de-
gree in accounting and is studying law
while working for a nongovernment or-
ganization and running an orphanage.
He called the experience "incredible,"
and said the lessons learned will be
taken back to Haiti and repeated at his
orphanage and elsewhere.
"You are giving education and con-
tributing to the education of children
who can't afford school," said Jeudy.
"Now some of the children are going to
learn and they will become resources for
Haiti. After a time, you will not need to
support them. They expect that in the
future they will support themselves."
The education doesn't stop with the
13 Haitian students. The non-credit
courses they attended at SBU will be
put online, available for free to anyone
with Internet access.
Whether the program is a success or
not won't be known for some time. It's
like an NFL draft pick, said Mahar: only
time will tell if you went in the right di-
Already, however, there are signs that
Bona's and Beyond's first-round picks,
the 13 Haitian students, are returning
dividends. When asked what they will
do with what they learned upon their
return to Haiti, several students said
they intend to set up BonaResponds
chapters in order to help fellow
Haitians in need.
they will pay
it forward.
"All of them are very motivated to
make a difference in Haiti, and I think
they will. I really do think they will," he
Bona's and Beyond: Haiti was an ex-
periment for everyone, said Mahar, and
while there are wrinkles to iron out,
there is a strong commitment to not
only continue the program, but expand
it to include students from the Ba-
hamas and Africa, where St. Bonaven-
ture groups already have a presence,
and beyond.
"Right now, it's Haiti specific, but I
sure would not be surprised if next year
you find people here from Liberia,
Uganda, the Philippines or even India,"
said Mahar.
The program is another example of
the mission of St. Bonaventure in action,
said Fr. Francis Di Spigno, O.F.M., execu-
tive director of University Ministries. The
department's Thomas Merton Center
hosted meals and other gatherings
throughout the Haitians' stay.
"I love Jim's initiative of bridging the
gap between our experiences and
those of others facing a reality so dif-
ferent from our own -- that's what
we're about as Franciscans," said Fr.
Francis. "It's one thing to give people
money, but it's another to build rela-
tionships. And that's what this is about.
"Franciscans are all about building
bridges. The stronger we can make
those bridges and relationships, the
better off the whole world will be."
(Tom Donahue, '76, is director of
print and electronic communications at
St. Bonaventure.)

The Haitian students were eager to learn about American culture and industry -- from the elbow
grease needed at a BonaResponds workday (left) to the innovation of the compounds created at
Olean manufacturer SolEpoxy.