An easy yet thought-provoking read for all those interested in seeing the world through a different lens. As told by Tracy Kidder, Dr. Paul Farmer incessantly travels around the world treating patients in all forms in order to create Options for the Poor (“O for the P”). This book will make you think differently about not only doctor-patient relationships or general health care, but about the unwavering spirit of a group of people trying to enhance lives of the poor. For more information, look into his nonprofit Partners In Health (PIH).
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
“We are talking about wealth that we’ve never seen before. And the only time that I hear talk of shrinking resources among people like us, among academics, is when we talk about things that have to do with poor people ” (Jim Kim as quoted in Tracy Kidder 164).
“Margaret Mead once said, Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world… Indeed they are the only ones who have” (Kim as quoted in Kidder .
“The goal was to improve the lives of others, not oneself… ‘Paul is a model of what should be done. He’s not a model for how it has to be done'” (Kidder 244).
“All too often international aid organizations weaken the societies they are supposed to help. Often they rely almost entirely on professionals from the world’s wealthy countries, and they fail to make their projects indigenous. This all but guarantees that their projects will neither grow nor last. PIH is different. The organization now has on the order of 6,500 employees. The overwhelming majority come from the impoverished countries where PIH is working. Fewer than one hundred of the employees come from the United States” (Kidder 07).
Kidder, Tracy, and Michael French. Mountains beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. New York: Delacorte, 2013. Print.