PM360 recently spoke to Josh John, Associate Director, Cardiovascular Marketing at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, about giving back in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
PM360: You recently went on mission trips to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Why were you there?
Josh John: I started working with a group called The 900 Project, which built more than 900 latrines in Tilori, Haiti over the course of five years. Tilori was experiencing an outbreak of cholera simply because people didn’t have anywhere to go to the bathroom. But since they started, they have been able to stop the outbreak.
Now, it’s all about investing in the community by providing education to the people there so they can continue to help the community thrive. Currently, most people in the community only go up to 8th or 9th grade. So, we’re building a scholarship foundation for kids to go out for further education in larger cities and to come back and educate the younger community.
What were some of your personal experiences on the trip?
During one of the days, I was leading the children through a specific Bible lesson. And then I led some arts and crafts with them, trying to get them to understand what they had just learned by putting it into practice.
I also did a couple of the interviews with the potential scholarship recipients, and spoke to them about what they wanted to do as far as their future education and whether they had the commitment to staying within the community to further educate the next generation.
We also led discussions with some of the young couples out there, talking about marriage and juggling family life and work. And we, of course, played with the kids, including dodgeball, baseball, and soccer.
How long have you been involved in these missions?
This was my first trip. It’s through my church out in Fairfield, CT, called Black Rock. They do a ton of work all around the world. One of the other things they are working on is trying to help rebuild a church in Haiti that is literally falling apart. It seats probably 400, but about 700 people cram into there on a weekly basis with more people standing outside. So, we’re trying to figure out how to raise funding to help them rebuild that church.
Do you have any plans to go on any more missions?
I’ll probably go back again next year, but my wife and I plan to do this regularly. Right now, our daughter is only two, but when she gets older, we’d include her as well. My parents came to the U.S. in the late ’70s with very little, so I’ve been blessed to get a great education and a great job here at BI. So, as a first-generation U.S. citizen, I have a personal commitment to giving back, not just outside of our borders, but within our borders as well.