How does Paul Farmer connect with people whose backgrounds are vastly different from his own?
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Paul connects with people in a number of ways, some of which, alas, may be too demanding for everyone to use them as models. First, he accepts the underlying value of every human being. That means that a sick poor person deserves as much treatment as a rich one, and as good treatment. Second, he goes to people where they are, both emotionally and literally: he walks mile after mile to get to people in their villages, walking himself into ill health at times. Related to this, he refuses to accept secondhand accounts, but goes to see people for themselves. Third, he gives their beliefs respect, even when they radically differ from his own.
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