Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mountains Beyond Mountains

by Tracy Kidder

A serious review for a serious work. Let's start by saying that the author is a Pulitzer-prize award winner. He's a journalist who writes the most impressive works of non-fiction. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that Mountains Beyond Mountains fits this description. Tracy spent years following the works of Dr. Paul Farmer, focusing on his work in Haiti and the development of Partners in Health. This man has dedicated his entire life, so far, to serving the poor and medically underserved. Despite the consequences that his work has caused in his personal life and the lack of sleep he gets, he gives unreservedly to others. Although Kidder often portrays him as a "saint", he ensures that the reader is also aware of Farmer's flaws. However, these flaws often spur him on to do even more for others. Farmer's organization now operates in Boston, Siberia, Peru, Haiti, and countless other sites to treat TB and help people obtain basic necessities like food, shelter, and clean water. His work is truly inspiring!

Have you ever read a book that changed your perspective? I've been talking about this book to everyone I meet, even people I've only known for hours, since I read it. This work reminded me that we do not exist in a vacuum, that we have a responsibility to help others, with the resources we have been blessed with. Farmer talks a great deal about liberation theology, the prevalent belief system in Haiti. This is based on the idea that God sees all suffering, and will set His people free... and that we all have an obligation to serve those in need. This belief is very evident in Dr. Farmer's practices as he strives to accomplish goal after goal to better the health and well-being of others. Mountains Beyond Mountains is a great read that flows well and takes the reader around the world to places where people struggle to obtain the simple necessities of life.... reminding us that there is much work to be done in terms of equality and health world-wide.

"Beyond mountains there are mountains." - Haitian proverb

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