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Compare And Contrast: Mountains Beyond Mountains

984 words - 4 pages

In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder describes a new sister organization that joined Partners in Health (PIH), Socios en Salud operating in Peru. PIH’s contrasting methods of maintaining Zanmi Lasante in Haiti and Socios made their expansion difficult, but greatly helped the new populations they served.
Haiti and Peru have different political struggles which affect the potential of healthcare PIH can offer. Haiti’s government was overthrown by the Haitian army, resulting in a lot of violent political protest. Many were severely injured, which caused Zanmi Lasante’s focus to shift. Instead of working to cure those with tuberculosis, Zanmi Lasante had to nurse those victimized by the ...view middle of the document...

After Socios was established, KIm was overwhelmed, and Famer began giving him daily advice, saying “remember, serving the poor in Carabayllo is more important than soothing your own ego” (Kidder, 131). Farmer stayed humble and calmed Kim’s ego while being considered a saint by his Haitian patients. However, Farmer could not overcome his passion for his work, even when the stress and commitment caused health issues for him.
Once Socios en Salud opened, Farmer was even more consumed with work. He was constantly traveling to and from Zanmi Lasante and Socios en Salud. In his spare time between flights his guilty conscience reminded him of those less fortunate than him, and sick people haunted him. “Everyone told me something like this was going to happen” (Kidder, 151) Farmer recalled once he was diagnosed with Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is rarely fatal as long as it is treated quickly. However, Dr. Farmer could not pull himself away from his work and fell very ill. He spent two weeks in Brigham Hospital. Doctors worried he was going to need a liver transplant. Even when he was in the hospital, he had to call Socios en Salud and Zanmi Lasante to give drug procurements. PIH would not survive without Farmer’s skill and humility; his passion is demonstrated with his illness and interactions with patients.
Dr. Farmer’s extensive humanitarian work brings him lots of joy. His career in medicine and anthropology is more than a job for him, it is his life. His love for his work with PIH is shown by how he interacts with patients. When an older woman comes to the Zanmi Lasante clinic, “Farmer stands when sheenters, greeting her as mami mwen ‘my mother.’ He bends down, practically kneeling, and she kisses him on one cheek, then the other” (Kidder, 26). Mami mwen is sick with Pott’s disease, but she went too long without treatment and can never be cured. She comes to see Farmer for company. A sick patient going to the doctor for company is unheard of....

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