Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World

by Tracy Kidder
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How does Paul Farmer connect with people whose backgrounds are vastly different from his own in Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World?

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What is most compelling about Paul Farmer is how little the differences between people seem to bother him. He feels completely at ease with people in the wealthiest American cities as well as those in the mountains of Haiti and other impoverished regions. Paul Farmer extends an opportunity for health...

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What is most compelling about Paul Farmer is how little the differences between people seem to bother him. He feels completely at ease with people in the wealthiest American cities as well as those in the mountains of Haiti and other impoverished regions. Paul Farmer extends an opportunity for health and quality of life that makes it much simpler to engage with others from any walk of life.

Farmer, who is a doctor with an extremely philanthropic side, maintains a belief that compassion is the best equalizer, and it opens up more doors than anything else in the world. He states that humanity is its own nation—there are no tribal differences when you see everyone as an equal human. Because of this, he is able to engage with individuals from all walks of life and income levels without difficulty. His ability to connect with people has allowed him to offer healthcare and take care of people around the world.

Because of this attitude, he can help others who are typically left without aid. He believes that a lack of justice and compassion causes the majority of the world's problems and inequalities. With simple kindness, Farmer knows we can equalize the world for the better.

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Paul Farmer is a doctor, anthropologist, Harvard professor, and a specialist in infectious diseases. His mission is to bring quality health care and a life of dignity to the world's poorest communities. He endeavors to create a better understanding of public health among doctors, politicians, and the community. The brilliant and charismatic doctor, who needs little sleep, finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti. He believes in the philosophy that "the only real nation is humanity" and does not allow demographic differences to affect him. His aim is not only to treat but to reform.

His organization, Partners in Health, delivers primary health care programs in Haiti, Peru, Boston, Mexico, Guatemala, and Siberia. Paul Farmer works at the hospital in Haiti, hikes the rugged terrain to follow up on his patients, and stays up at night writing grant applications and preparing speeches.

He argues that the world's inequalities are a matter of justice, and each one of us is obliged to lend our assistance. We need to sacrifice to a point where everyone can be at par with the other.

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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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