Mountains Beyond Mountains

With the news of the recent devastation in Haiti I keep thinking of a book I read several years ago, Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder. It's on my list of all time favorites.

The book is about a doctor, Paul Farmer; you've likely heard of him. It focuses on his work in Haiti and his building of a hospital there. And it's a bigger story than building a hospital. Paul Farmer relies on the community, trains doctors and nurses. He's a diplomat, a fund raiser. He does house calls; I think he even gets married during the course of the book although how he had time I can't remember. The man doesn't stop.

The details of the story have faded but I've not forgotten the work Paul Farmer initiated in Haiti, the way he empowers the people he comes in contact with, the young doctors and nurses who are carrying on his work while he introduces it around the world. I've not lost the feeling of awe.

Paul Farmer's organization started in Haiti, but now worldwide, is Partners in Health. Their hospital outside of the capital of Haiti was not damaged in the earthquake and they've been providing medical care as far and fast as they can since. They are the first place I turned when I heard the news as I knew they would be immediately on the front lines of relief. And like so many organizations they are in need of help to continue providing care.

With the bad news coming out of Haiti, Mountains Beyond Mountains, is a story of good news happening in the country. So many years after reading it I still feel like the people of Haiti are my next door neighbors; as if they are part of my community. It's a story that replaces borders with compassion and the power of one person to inspire others by example.

If you haven't read this now may be a good time to pick up a copy. It's a very good read and as relevant as ever as Haiti looks to rebuild and the world looks to help.


Anonymous said...

as i read this entry i found myself checking each paragraph- yes! my thoughts exactly. when the topic comes up as it has so often since tuesday, Partners in Health is where i suggest they send their money. i have full confidence it will be put to the wisest, quickest use from that entry point.

Donna said...

I second the motion! Mountains Beyond Mountains is an incredible book and a great place to start to try to understand what's going on in Haiti. Partners in Health is the best place I can think of to give and know that it will reach the right people in the shortest amount of time.

Katrina said...

Becky and Donna - Thank you both for the comments. I agree with you that donations will go to quick use. I have a 12 year old friend who puts part of his allowance away each week for donations and he just sent over $100 to PIH!

Audrey said...

I loved this book too and thought a lot about the story this week. I liked that Farmer empowered his Haitian friends to run their own clinics and hospitals in his absence.

Another book wonderful book set in Haiti is Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying.

Carlie said...

I haven't read this and have actually never heard of it but, since I loved Three Cups of Tea, I have a feeling it will be right up my ally! Thanks for the rec...will look it up forthwith!

Katrina said...

Audrey - Thank you for the recommendation. I'm going to order it from the library now.

Carlie - Yes, a very similar book as Three Cups of Tea, which I also much enjoyed. I bet you'll love MBM. Thanks for stopping by.

Melinda said...

I've just recently joined a book club with some old friends - I will suggest this as a possibility for our next book. It sounds inspiring and uplifting - which many of us could use right now!

Kale for Sale said...

Melinda - I hope you write about if you do choose the book. In any event have fun reading together. Discussing books with friends is its own kind of gardening.