Even though I have not read the common text for this year’s freshman class, “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, I get the impression from Tracy Kiddler’s lecture that the ability for accomplishment through service can be present within anyone. Usually when we think of the types of people doing service, we think of those who are already well off economically or health-wise. However, Dr. Paul Farmer did not come from the same background that we are so accustomed to attributing to people doing service. Instead, he came from a very poor family and was able to accomplish goals that may have seemed far beyond his reach by grasping every opportunity.
What is more interesting about Dr. Paul Farmer’s story is that what he did with his newly gained status as a doctor benefited those who were less fortunate in Haiti, instead of feeling money driven and selfish. This probably had a lot to do with his upbringing, coming from a poor family, and his education at Duke studying Haitian culture. Both of these things influenced his already growing relationship with the state of most Haitian’s health, which was very poor since they were living in a country that could not afford to spend large amounts of money on improving the healthcare system.
Dr. Paul Farmer’s efforts to change the state of Haitian healthcare is an example of the ability of one individual to change a large amount of lives by carrying out a vision. It reminds me, again, of the solidarity that must be present between people across cultural lines. The diversity between people who serve each other, creates relationships in which each person has a lot to gain through experiencing the world of what seems to be a completely different person.
The success that Dr. Paul Farmer gained is not unlike the success that Emily Dickenson writes about in her poem “Success is counted sweetest”. Because Dr. Paul Farmer was able to succeed so greatly, from being in a poor family, to being able to help the poor in Haiti, he is able ‘to comprehend a nectar’ of success because of his past and his persona.
Dr. Paul Farmer’s story is a reminder of the obligation that everyone has to help each other, no matter what condition a person may be placed into, and that success is possible through resilience and grasping every opportunity.