Miriam (Mimi) Krusling RSM ‘63 has worked more than 20 years with 100+ boys at the St. John Bosco Boys’ Home in Manchester, Jamaica. It houses boys who have lived on the streets or left a broken, neglectful home. The purpose of Bosc is to give the boys love and a healthy dose of structure and discipline so they can achieve the skills they need to become productive citizens of Jamaica.
In August 2010 Bluestreak, Mimi shared the story of her work at home. Mimi told us then that her hope and prayer was to stay healthy so she could continue to make a difference in the lives of the boys she works with each day. We recently caught up with her for an update on the Bosco Boys’ Home and her work with them.
Except for the Zika virus that slowed her down for a week last year, 75-year old Mimi in her own words, “still going strong” in her care for the boys. She lives at the home and helps to run the programmes. Besides a general education, the home has traditionally taught the boys trades such as meat cutting/processing, catering, animal husbandry or farming.
Bosco is the home to more than 2,000 banana and plantain trees, 500 coffee trees and many other crops. All Farming is done by the boys in the crop farming programme. Most of the produce is used to feed the boys at the home and supply its Catering department.
Bosco also houses 6,000 chickens and 500 pigs. The pigs and chicken are part of the animal husbandry training programme. The animals feed into the butchershop which teachers the boys all areas of meat cutting and processing. Some of the Butcher shop meat is sold locally and the rest if used for the Catering Department. Catering is provided for conferences, weddings, birthdays and other events.
In 2015, the home added an outdoor restaurant called The Falls to train some of the boys as waiters, which Sister Mimi explains, is very different serving in the catering environment. Two nights per week, the boys practice their waiter skills while serving food to locals who frequent the restaurant.
Many of the boys who complete one of the Home’s programmes develop the skills needed to pursue and become self-sufficient.
One of the Bosco waiters, Ramone was just 4 years old when he came to the home and Mimi became to raise him. He said he considers her his mother and recently told her when the time comes and she needs care, he must take care of her because she raised him.
Mimi constantly utilizes her nursing skills while caring for the boys at Bosco. Taking care of the health needs of more than 100 active boys can be difficult. But Mimi is dedicated and closely watches the health of every boy. Besides monitoring their health, such as keeping the boys on a daily vitamin regimen, she addresses their medical care. This may include taking a boy to a clinic to address a specific problem or treating it at home.
She cites her biggest nursing challenge to date occurred this past summer when one of the mentally challenged Bosco residents had an infected food that required surgery. The follow-up involved more than 5 months of daily dressing changes while she tried to keep the wound clean. Since Bosco Boys Home is also a chicken and pig farm, this proved quite difficult. However, with perseverance, Mimi has been successful and the boy’s foot has continued to improve.
Faith is an important part of the Bosco Boys Home. They receive support from the church community St. Paul of the Cross Cathedral, which is located near the home. In the US, the Bosco Boys Home is sponsored and operated by the Sisters of Mercy, South Central Community.
Outside of Bosco, she also works on the Mandeville Diocese clinic committee. The committee serves people in the middle of the island through four clinics. Mimi orders the clinic medicines and supplies and coordinates the Medical groups that come down to the clinics. But her main focus is giving the boys at the home love and a sense of family.
“Over the years, it gives me great pleasure to see the boys return and tell me how well they are doing, especially in their trades, “j she said. “It is surprising how some are not 30 and 40 years old men and return to show their family, friends, and bosses where they grew up and were trained.’’
Picture of the boys feeding chickens.
Twice each day, the boys feed the 6,000 chickens at St. John Bosco Home. This responsibilty is part of the their Animal Husbandry Program.
Sunday mornings is haircut day, which is part of the extensive hygiene training each day living at Bosco receives.