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Mountains beyond mountains is a Haitian wise saying and a metaphorical phrase on the challenges of life. According to this adage, once you have scaled a mountain, you will see more mountains farther away. In this book, Paul Farmer climbs the mountain of struggling to provide medical care to the unprivileged in the society. Indeed, the author, Tracy kidder, in this nonfiction is writing of a secular saint: Paul Farmer comes alive while attending to the diseases of people who have been forgotten by the world.
In the years chronicled in the book, Paul Farmer traverses the world from his homeland in South America to HarvardUniversity. This does not lose his focus on the world’s most struggling people: the slum dwellers in Lima and Peru, the captive’s population in Russia and the rural poor of Haiti. He gives a perfect example of our responsibility to the society. Despite a good career in medicine, Paul humbles himself to serve the global community.
Mountains beyond mountains is Farmer’s story that explains a deep concept in societal responsibility. This urge to serve the community is what drives the farmer dedication of his life to solving health issues that many have ignored. Kidder summed up his book three lines of Paul’s operation: it is possible to help the suffering poor, Paul is doing it. Why aren’t you?
As readers follow Dr. Farmers evolving ideas and practices of public health, development of private charity, interaction with Haitians and global medical policies, the challenge that he has created will echo in the minds of many for ages.
In the book a central theme that runs across all chapters is the vocation and service. This is a recurrent theme in the entire book. This is the quest of Dr Paul farmer who has the will and strength to cure the whole world. Dr Farmer goes beyond his career to work all day and weekend working tirelessly to alleviate the squalid medical conditions of thousands of Haitians. It’s beyond doubt that Dr Paul farmer is committed towards improving the lives of the poor Haitians and people world wide. This is more so in the area of TB and AIDs.
The poor deserves decency in health care and proper living conditions. This story revolves around Dr Paul Farmer’s life. The author brings the message that Farmer promotes his life from a mere doctor to the greatest echelons of power in the world. This also tells us that just as Farmer went out of his way to help others, we have a responsibility of getting out of our comfort zones and take the initiative of helping others. This raises the theme of imitation. We should imitate Farmer although we can never be like him. This would call for us to take the same kind of work with the same devotion.
The issues in Haiti raise more or less similar questions on the health care system of the U.S. This is because as Farmer discovered there are many unmet needs everywhere in the world which include poverty lack of food and shelter, inability to access health care and corruption. The healthcare systems in US were pronounced dead a decade ago. Thus, the battle against poor health services is not just limited to the third world countries but also in the developed economies like the US. This also replicates the conditions and lives in the third world countries which are characterized by poverty, malnutrition, corrupt governments, lawlessness, civil disobedience and poor health care system.
The Haiti’s experience touches on the political and economic imbalances of former colonies. The colonies turn their back against these countries which are needy, poor with many social evils. These former colonies have a great wealth of resources which can be used to influence politically and economically the lives of this countries but its unfortunate that they do very little to alleviate these problems.
In the book issues relating to race and class has been very well raised. The rich and the poor in the society have a stratified health care system where the rich can afford good medical care in the best hospitals while the poor are left on their own devices. They depend on government hospitals which are faced with massive mismanagement, lack of medicine and they are understaffed which is one of the factors that led Farmer visiting patients in their home settings and offering them free medical services. The book raises pertinent issues relating to race in that in the less developed countries like Haiti and Peru and parts of Africa, these people receive low quality services which are a characteristic of the lives they live. Farmer criticizes the white liberals who he accuses of thinking that the world’s problems can be solved without sacrifices and he fights for a fair distribution of wealth
One of the characters in the book, who was a priest turned out to be a politician and took over the power in Haiti. His aim was to pull Haiti out of poverty and bring to end the culture of worshiping people in power who had all the privileges. The power struggles in Haiti affect Haitians in that they have leaders who promise better lives and privileges only to let them down.
The description brings out an expectation of a disease free society among the poor people. The expectations were met through the humanitarian attitude of Farmer. He addressed the inequality in medical services between the rich and the poor, also by establishing a health facility in Haiti. The readings by Farmer are moving and they make one change his view about the world. The world should work together towards a disease free society; rich countries helping the poor countries alleviate poverty.
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