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Sept. 17, 2003

Faces of HAITI

Jean David Edume talks to some youngsters. He runs Xavier House, the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation’s residential facility for older children it sends to secondary or vocational schools in Port-au-Prince.

ean David Edume grips the steering wheel of the SUV and swerves, avoiding a pothole.

He’s talking about a high school student and says he’s worried the boy needs focus, maybe to train for a trade.

Edume runs Xavier House, a St. Boniface Haiti Foundation residential facility where older Fond des Blancs students live while continuing secondary education at a high school or technical school in Port-au-Prince.

“It will help them be better able to help their families,” Edume said. “They can help their brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. It will help them to find a job, if possible. It is not easy to find a job, but it is more likely they will find a job with education.”

Edume has been working with the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation for years. Shortly after South Shore residents began traveling to Haiti in 1983, Edume started assisting as a tour guide for the visitors. Once he got his license (and after enough practice on sometimes dangerous Haitian roads) he took over driving Americans during their trips.

Edume lives in Xavier House with his wife, their four children, and four nieces and nephews they took in when a relative died. Six students from Fond des Blancs share the space with them.

He lives in Port-au-Prince, but his work takes him to Fond des Blancs often.

One of the Fond des Blancs students living in Xavier House is Celaine Ennaude’s son, Julner. When Julner made his First Communion, Edume bought Ennaude a dress, picked her up and drove her to Port-au-Prince to see the ceremony.

It was her first time in the country’s capital.

Edume has seen up close how the St. Boniface foundation changes lives, and how much the organization and its volunteers mean to the people of Fond des Blancs.

“Sometimes we don’t have anything to give back, but we give them a smile,” he said.

Karen Eschbacher may be reached at

Stories by
Karen Eschbacher
Photos by
Gary Higgins

The Patriot Ledger

Providing Hope for the Future: Faith and Growth

Providing Hope for the Future: Learning Curve

Links to the South Shore of Massachusetts: Sheila McIntyre of Quincy

Faces of Haiti: Jean David Edume

Personal Journal

Numbers That Count: Education & Economy

Small map of Haiti (90KB)

Large map of Haiti (100KB)

Photos from Haiti (668KB)

View printed pages from the series


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