Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Event Analysis Michael Waskiewicz

On Tuesday October 23 I attended a discussion on the common text book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains."  The talk was given by the author of the book, Tracy Kidder.  The main point of both the novel and the talk was something that we have talked about in class many times before, being men and women for others to help benefit those who have less than us.
Mr. Kidder began his talk by giving a synopsis of the novel, which I had read prior to this school year.  Mr. Kidder's book talks about the life of Dr. Paul Farmer.  Dr. Farmer did not have a good upbringing.  For a while he lived with his family in a bus, and after that they lived in a boat for a few years.  I found it interesting that Dr. Farmer did not look at all of this as a bad thing, and did not even think about it that much.  His upbringing led him to become the person he is today.  He attended college and did exceptionally well.  In medical school Dr. Farmer found his calling to cure infectious diseases and bring the tools of lifesaving medicine to those who need it most.
Dr. Paul Farmer is a Harvard professor, but spends a lot of his time working in Haiti.  He began a medical center in Cange, Haiti, where he treats many people for any disease they have, but many of them have tuberculosis.  Farmer has many struggles with drug manufacturers in attempts to get them to lower the prices of all of their medicines so that he can treat many people and still be cost effective.  Farmer makes many house calls in Haiti on foot, which take many hours of walking, sometimes up mountains.  The novel speaks of a girlfriend that Farmer had for a while.  He wound up breaking up with her because his work took up too much of his time, and he knew that he was never going to be ready to give up what he was doing to start a family.  This is truly being a man for others.  Instead of doing what most of us do, which is do whatever is going to make us happy, Dr. Farmer has instead given up almost everything that he has in order to make a difference in the lives of others.  He has done exactly what St. Ignatius of Loyola calls everyone to do, be a man for others.
The story of Dr. Paul Farmer reminded me a lot about a speech I went to earlier in the year by Dr. Rod Martel.  Dr. Martel gave a talk about the poverty that is going on right now in Haiti.  He, like Dr. Farmer, did not have an easy childhood.  His mother died when he was young, and his father had a hard time raising him and his siblings.  Dr. Martel came to the United States to go to school, and since then has gone back to start a school in Haiti.  His school is for economically deprived children in Haiti, and they even feed the children at school.
Both Dr. Martel and Dr. Farmer have made great changes in the lives of individual people although neither of them have or will ever completely change the amount of poverty or sickness in the world.  Even though this is true, both of them have made great differences in the lives of individual people.

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