Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome URI Class of 2016 to the Common Reading Blog for Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains!

Welcome, to the URI Class of 2016 to this year’s Common Reading blog—a blog by and about developing YOUR place in URI and in the world. At orientation Provost Donald H. DeHayes asked you to read Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains. He also asked you to develop a response to your first assignment: “What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?” Wow! That’s a lot to think about, but guess what: It’s time! Orientation is complete and you’ve registered for your classes, met some of your new classmates, and, perhaps, read part or all of Mountains Beyond Mountains. Tracy Kidder’s journey with and story about Doctor Paul Farmer as well as Farmer's work in Haiti, Peru, and Russia challenges basic assumptions about how we view our place in the world and how we want to be treated and treat others. This blog is YOUR chance to share your thoughts about Mountains Beyond Mountains with your future classmates and the larger URI community. In addition to the Class of 2016, you’ll hear from URI faculty who will teach Mountains Beyond Mountains in their courses in the Fall 2012 semester. Let the conversation begin!

263 comments:

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Rebecca Murray said...

Hello new URI students,
I hope that you find MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS as thought-provoking as I did when we were working to select the text for the start of your academic experience.

In regards to the question of the best way to act on responsibility to those in poorer nations -- the first step is educating yourself and stepping outside your own day-to-day life to understand the experience of others. Learning, understanding, and advocating for others will be the impoteus for continually making the world a better place.

StringsOnThings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mara Atwood said...

Hello Everyone,

I would like to add to Rebecca's comment. I would have to agree in that it is important to first educate oneself about the topic of responsibility and how a wealthier country can help poorer countries. One of the first steps to take is realizing HOW one can help. In my personal experience I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people less fortunate than I. Over time I realized I wanted to do so with my career. I will be studying Biomedical Engineering in hopes to one day join the Peace Corps and utilize my engineering degree to build and maintain medical equipment (perhaps in hospitals) located in poor countries. This was my first step to figuring out how I as a richer citizen living in a richer country can help someone who is not as fortunate. I believe I have a duty as an intelligent individual who lives in an opportunistic country, to help others who were not given such fortune. I am only a couple of chapters into Mountains Beyond Mountains but so far I can tell that Dr. Farmer is very passionate about what he does. This is a very important characteristic when involved in helping poorer nations because with passion one makes the biggest difference in another persons life.

Shelby A said...

I think wealthier nations should be morally required to aid poorer countries when possible. I do not think this needs to be drastic enough to mean that the wealthier country is not able to care for its own people or fund technological advances, etc- but enough to slightly level the playing field. For example, Dr.Farmer went above and beyond the minimal 'moral requirement' by devoting his whole life to the mission. That is very admirable, though not everyone can be that devoted obviously.

The best way to express this responsibility is different for everyone in my opinion. Some people may be more inclined to send money to reputable charities to help in poorer nations, some might actually want to travel to the nation and build houses, volunteer in hospitals, etc. But one person's ideal method of fulfilling may not be compatible with another individual. Therefore, as long as everyone fulfilled their idea of their 'moral requirement' then the world would be better off.

-Shelby Ashworth

Victoria Fulfer said...

Hey Everyone!
I thought this was such an amazing book. It was inspiring and interesting to read and taught me so much about medicine in other countries and medical policies around the world that I previously did not know about. I have always dreamed of doing something similiar to what Paul Farmer did, except in the Congo or in another country in Africa. I look forward to having Tracy Kidder come to URI, and I hope one day I can meet Paul Farmer. I am not going to answer the questions in this post because I think I want to give them a little more thought, but I just really wanted to say how much I enjoyed the book. Also, Shelby A, I completely agree with what you said about how wealthier nations should be morally required to aid the poorer countries. I also really like what you said about everyone fulfilling their "moral requirement". That is a great way to look at it!

--Victoria Fulfer

Mara Atwood said...

Hello,
As I am reading on, I have learned from Dr. Farmer that one of the best ways to express the responsibility one has towards poorer nations is through a good attitude, leadership, and motivation. On page 30 Kidder describes how Dr. Farmer and his colleagues worked on grant proposals in order to get more money to treat his patients. He convinced Kidder with a "'Of COURSE we'll find the money.'" This simple sentence stuck out to me because of how positive he always seems to be about any situation, and that is so important when so many people rely on you, as in Dr. Farmers case. Likewise, on page 33 (the beginning of chapter 4) Dr. Farmer's display of leadership took me back. After a woman died of TB when he was in Boston, he had a series of staff meetings to figure out how to make a functioning medical system when he was not on location. The ability to see a problem and immediately work to correct it is an action that, I feel, accurately expresses responsibility. Additionally, Dr. Farmer expresses his responsibility through motivation. It's alarming that Dr. Farmer will do anything he can to make others (the Haitians in this case) just HAPPIER, let alone curing them to start with. On page 26 I got my first taste of Dr. Farmer's sense of motivation: "On the wall beside his desk, Farmer had taped up three sheets of yellow legal paper, on every line a task to be completed, and beside each of those a hand-drawn box, in Creole a bwat. I've noticed that if he completes a chore that he forgot to put on the list, he writes down the chore, makes a bwat beside it, then puts a check in the box. [...] The list on the wall contains about sixty imperatives-to assemble the slides for upcoming speeches, to get Lazarus a Bible and a pair of nail clippers, to give another patient the wristwatch he bought for him in the Miami airport, to obtain sputum samples from some of the patients with drug-resistant TB and take them to Boston for testing. The list seems to speak of what, in Boston, might be called an interesting practice. Certainly it is varied. One item reads, 'Sorcery consult.'" Thus, I conclusively feel that motivation like that has to do with a sense of following-through. It exemplifies a good work ethic, which is yet another essential part of the responsibility involved in helping people in poorer nations.

Anonymous said...

Good Book

Brett Powers said...

After reading this book I have come to a conclusion that the wealthier nations need to stop worrying about themselves and start helping the less fortunate countries. If I had to guess I bet there are many more people that are in need of food, clean water, and clothes than people who take all those necessitates for granted. I'm sure there are many campaigns going on to help countries that fit this description, but they need more help and this book has shown the power of one man and what one person can do for a whole nation. Of course not everyone can do what he can, but maybe if more people thought like Paul Farmer then maybe more people will act instead of just listening to these countries fight for survival.

I'm going to be a Biomedical Engineer major next year and I have always believed that we all should be obligated to help each other. Instead of thinking of the self benefits of a job like salary or connections maybe go into it with a more open mind. I want to use my education to someday help people who are in need and apply what I know to help others. This book has reinforced my belief in why we are here. We all have a purpose to help and serve one another.

Lauren Mellen said...

I believe that wealthier countries do have a responsibility in providing relief to less fortunate ones. Health care, education, and living conditions constantly need improvement and financial support. Throughout Mountains Beyond Mountains, Farmer constantly advocates for these main three issues not only for Haiti, but for other countries as well. Farmer and other advocates of Haiti created Partners in Health. This group fundraises and accepts donations to provide healthcare to the poor globally. During these fundraisers they educate the common public on the living and health conditions of these poor countries. By providing this education, PIH hopes to motivate and encourage people to become more involved.
Educating and motivating privileged countries about the living conditions of the poor is one of the most important steps in providing relief to the disadvantaged. Many people are not aware of the horrid conditions the poor live in and the environments they are exposed to every day. If privileged countries become more aware, I believe donations would increase and the money would be used for improvement.
-Lauren Mellen

Teeravuth C. Nokeo said...

Hey guys!

As I went on in reading this book, I realized that optimistic people really make it far in life with furthering someone else's dreams and goals. Dr.Farmer led with a positive attitude towards everything and his ambitions were shared through a common vision; which was to better the lives of those who needed it the most. I've also come to realize that those who are ready to change another persons life should do something instead of saying it. Actions speak louder than words and in this book, it showed a lot.

I loved it a lot!
-Teeravuth C. Nokeo (The "C" is for Cody!) :D

Mara Atwood said...

Very well put. I feel the same about my personal goals! :)

Mara Atwood said...

Hi everyone,
Another comment I would like to say is that another way to influence the lives of the poor is to realize that everyone on this Earth was born with RIGHTS. These rights are endowed unto us just for being alive and for being human. Dr. Farmer addresses a number of these rights, including the right to eat, the right to live freely without oppression, and the right to medical attention when people are sick especially. It is obvious that many times Dr. Farmer experienced difficulties carrying out his desired plans for Haitians because of lack of money. Some nations can't do much for other country's because of debt or lack of funding in general. How do we fix this? I think wealthier nations have the responsibility to pool fundings for the sake of endowing everyone in the world their human rights AT LEAST. is that not what we owe humans? At bare minimum the ability to live comfortably? This book makes one think a lot about these issues. How does one respond to such a crisis? The only thing to do, it seems, is to put yourself out their and just try to make a difference. Every bit of effort helps, that we can be sure of.

Felicia4Baker said...

Even before I read this book, I believed that each and every one of us have the responsibility to care for each and every creature on this planet; after reading the book, my beliefs are only intensified as is my irritation with the values of our society. Far too often, the media tell heart-braking stories about the violence, destruction,and poverty that threatens to diminish the hopes and dreams of those who only wish to help create a better world to live in. However, the stories rarely run for more than a few weeks before they are no longer aired nor written about because the topic is "old news." Thus, people who are suffering are quickly forgotten. In the United States of America, the same issue occurred after hurricane Katrina left New Orleans in ruins. The news of the devastation was broadcasted throughout the country the very day it occurred and aired for weeks. But then, it disappeared from the public eye as if there was no longer any devastation in Louisiana. A similar thing occurred with the tsunami in Japan. In addition to the apathetic air from the media in regards to the suffering of these people, the media not only encourages people to forget about the people in the world who need our help the most it also promotes a luxurious life that is full of materialistic items and ruins a person's balance. Today, when people's spiritual balance is off, it seems that a large number of them turn to material goods to fill the void within them because the media tells them that materialistic items and money bring happiness. Yet, the void remains and people's greed grows. They forget to be open to all of nature and do good onto others without expecting anything in return but out of love. Ironically enough, it is this awareness and openness that fills the void that many seek unsuccessfully. However, this awareness if very difficult to obtain when people are afraid to let go of their attachment to those materialistic things and provide aid to those, like the people that Farmer and Kim helped, who need it. People don't even realize that materialistic things blind them from seeing who needs help. They cannot see that there are people who live in this world without basic human rights: nutritious food and drink, warm and a safe shelter, health care, education, a spiritually satisfying career, and a loving and supporting family. They also don't realize that they can give people these basic rights simply by changing their behaviors and the social structure.Changing the way a society lives and its values is probably the most difficult task that must be done in order to ensure that people who live without the all of the basic human rights have them. We must find a way to end all nuclear projects so that neither the Earth will be harmed nor it's inhabitants. Then, we must have the courage to decrease the spending on the militarily in every nation. Next, decrease the production of weaponry. With the funds that are gained by the above proposals, the public education system in this and other countries can be advanced to a degree where a majority of students will be enthralled by learning (this would include adding religions of the world classes to the existing curriculum), and then wish to share their education with the world by helping advance third world countries. Farther more, we should create a global law the requires every citizen to be trained in first aid and CPR, as well as require every citizen donate a certain percentage of their surplus funds to a human/natural rights organization.These would just be the very beginnings of the recreation of all of society. However, as Farmer showed through his insanely brilliant idea and execution of his medical center in Haiti, this start to change society to live up to its responsibility to ensure the common good and human rights for all might just work if there are people who are willing to change their habits for the betterment of others.

Felicia4Baker said...

I agree 100%, but you used fewer words.

Katarina DeFreitas said...

I completely agree with you. However to add to it, I think one must acknowledge that there is problem fist in order to undertand what is going on so the know whatto educate the people on. It desn't need to be a group of people that need to notice that there is something going on that needs to be addressed, it can take one person to make a difference, as demonstrated by Paul Farmer.

Alexandra Heidenthal said...

I agree with all of my peers who have previously posted. I think that they make very valid points about the responsibility of wealthier nations to poor nations. After finishing this book, one thought kept circling in my mind. Dr. Paul Farmer believes in equality, and his work in Haiti and other poor countries is rooted in that strong belief. Farmer does not only help all of the patients in Haiti because they live in a poor country, he helps them because he believes that every human being deserves equal and attainable care. That belief hit home with me. I feel that being a citizen of the United States of America, a wealthy nation, it is my duty to help people in poor nations. I do not think my aid is solely necessary because these individuals live in a poor country, I think it is necessary because every human being is equal and therefor deserves the same treatment. I believe that the people of wealthier nations need to view and treat everyone on this earth with equality. That is our responsibility. Giving money to poor nations is a great act of kindness, but what does that money really do? If the citizens of poor countries are not trained with necessary skills, such as providing medical care, then our donations will useless because nobody will know how to use them for the greater good. Beyond donating money, we of wealthier nations need to go to the poor countries and physically help. If we treat these people of poor countries like our own equal neighbors, then we can accomplish so much. We need to go to the poor countries and help educate the citizens or build safe facilities so that they have an equal chance of attaining prosperity. Dr. Paul Farmer shows that donations do help poor countries, but his personal work one-on-one with the people in Haiti is what helps the most. Here in the United States we live a prosperous and fortunate life, it is only fair that we take the hands-on responsibility of helping poor countries attain that same equality.

- Alexandra Heidenthal

karina said...

Hello everyone. I totally agree with what Rebecca said but I personally believe that in order for there to be a change it doesn't take a group of People to change something. All itit takes is one person that is brave enough that is willing to makes sacrifices to get things done and takes initiative regardless of the matter.

Natalie Weisfeld said...

As a wealthier nation, I do believe it is our duty to help poorer countries. We can do this by education and advocation. Living in America people take a lot of things for granted such as clean water. If we were to ration and go green there would be more resources to share with other countries. I have greatly enjoyed this book, and look forward to Tracy Kidder coming to Rhode Island!

Emily Scharer said...

Hey guys!
I kind of agree with karina. It takes one person to start something new but it takes an entire nation to fufill what you are trying to do. As a wealthier nation i don't think we should be responsible for any other nation but we should want to help them as much as we can. However it is not our place to try to control every other nation and make them like us. Going green is a great idea natalie, but going green will not help us share. The united states is known for being greedy and in order to change this we must be able to create a balace between poor and rich, which is what paul farmer tried to do in the book
By creating this balance tensions will reside and people will learn to share their wealth.

Alisha Iafrate said...


I was a bit skeptical when I read that this book was about "the quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world." I asked myself, can one person really make a difference in a world so diverse? However, after reading Dr. Farmer's story, I was no long skeptical. This man truly went above and beyond to help a country he loved and admired. Many times, we hear stories of people moving to the United States in search of a better life, filled with opportunities. I loved how instead of forgetting about the conditions in Haiti, he single handedly began fixing what was "broken" so to say. He spent his own money and took time away from his busy schedule in order to help those less fortunate.

So, the question still stands...what responsibilities do individuals in wealthier nations have toward people in poor countries? Well, I have always been a believer that as humans we all have a right to the same opportunities. Rather than categorizing the people of the world into different races, we should come together as ONE race, the human race. I am an advocate for helping those in need, and I believe that it is never too early or too late to help those less fortunate. Although we tend to struggle at times, we need to learn to look beyond our struggles and give back. We need more people like Dr. Farmer, people willing to act in order to evoke change. There are many ways we could do this if each and every person contributed. However, people must be willing to do so.

Eileen Holovac said...

Eileen Holovac said…
I believe that wealthier nations should not necessarily have the responsibility to help poorer nations, but should have the desire to help nations in need and become a role model for them. These poor nations will not change if only a few small organizations are involved…we need many people who have the desire to help poor nations not only through service work, but donations, and raising awareness as well.
One of my family friends read this book as well as a couple of other books by the same author and she said it changed her life. Now she is currently going to Haiti annually for service work. She taught them how to grow trees that will supply them with food as well as taught the children how to play a variety of games. She also helped teach English and math in a school. Each year she goes back to the same people and she can see how her work has changed the lives of a community. We need more of these kinds of people in our country. Some people love going to provide aid to poorer countries personally which is great, but not everyone has this much time on their hands. It would be nice if people could donate money to these nations to give the people a better life.
In the beginning, I thought, how can one man change the lives of many people in a poor nation? By the end of the novel, I realized how much of a difference one person can make. Image what we could accomplish if we got our nation involved? Many people in our nation would say they don’t care because it is not their life, but imagine if we had to live like them. Many people don’t realize how lucky they are. You may hear people complain about wanting the new iPhone or a bigger house…in Haiti, the people cherish the family that they have and every bit of food and money they get.

Zomely Grullon said...

I have always thought that the only way to move forward is through educating ourselves and those around us. Reading this book had definitely enforced that idea.
This book really impacted me, not only because of the selflessness in Dr. Farmer's actions, but because my family and I have always had a soft spot for Haiti; my parents are both from the Dominican Republic. Being that they are neighboring countries, my father always had a sense of responsibility with Haiti, sending money and aid to help build schools, and sometimes even traveling there to help out.
I have always thought that wealthier nations have a kind of moral responsibility with poorer nations, to help educate them and send relief.
This book has reinstated in my mind that although we are very different people from very different places, we are all human. Dr. Farmer is an inspirational character, filled with passion and kindness for what he does.

Zomely Grullon said...

I have always thought that the only way to move forward is through educating ourselves and those around us. Reading this book had definitely enforced that idea.
This book really impacted me, not only because of the selflessness in Dr. Farmer's actions, but because my family and I have always had a soft spot for Haiti; my parents are both from the Dominican Republic. Being that they are neighboring countries, my father always had a sense of responsibility with Haiti, sending money and aid to help build schools, and sometimes even traveling there to help out.
I have always thought that wealthier nations have a kind of moral responsibility with poorer nations, to help educate them and send relief.
This book has reinstated in my mind that although we are very different people from very different places, we are all human. Dr. Farmer is an inspirational character, filled with passion and kindness for what he does.

Jeimy Rodriguez said...

Hello Everyone,

I believe Mountains Beyond Mountains was such a fascinating and inspiring book because it teaches us how important it is for some people to help others without expecting anything in return. Showing other people that you care about them can make a huge difference in their lives. Dr. Farmer dedicated his life to better the lives of others who really needed him. As kidder said in his book, Dr. Farmer was married to Haiti. He knew what he wanted to do and how important it was to him to not only educate but to make others understand that we are all human beings and that not everything in life is about getting something in return but because it comes from your heart. I also agree with what Katarina said. there needs to be an acknowledgment of the issue that is going on in the nations of the world before a change is made, and there doesn't need to be a group of people to make a difference.

Sasha Gonzalez said...

Hello!
This book show how they are people that help others without expecting nothing in return. Also that is a good think to inform people about all the different problems that are occuring in different countries. I think that what Rebecca said is really true and if people will think this way the word will be a better place.

Justin Sundaram said...

It seems that in general, everyone believes that wealthier countries should help countries less fortunate than them. The prompt asks “What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”. I too think that the wealthy should help the poor. For example, if an agreement was made, our government could give some sort of incentive to companies to work out of Haiti, the Haitian economy could begin to grow. This goes along with the whole teach a man to fish idea. By giving money and supplies to poorer nations, a short term solution is used for a long term problem. Wealthy individuals can help bring up the economy by creating jobs in those countries. It could be a start to a more stable solution.

I too agree with the idea of wealthy countries helping out the poorer ones in some ways but I would like to amend it a little. I would like to take the idea of different nations out of it. There are people in poor countries that are wealthy and vise versa. What makes some a person’s suffering less significant than another’s because of where they live. I think wealthy individuals around the world should spend a little time helping poorer people.

This brings me to another question. What defines someone as wealthy? Why can all of us at URI donate a dollar to a cause like the one we are talking about? There are almost 20,000 people at URI between graduates and undergraduates. That to me seems like it could make a difference if used properly. I say that as human beings, we should look out for one another. If you have anything to spare, then see how you can help.

Michael Johnson said...

Hey!

As I was reading this book I found it hard to believe that Dr. Farmer was given such a hard to time to try and do what is right. Our government should be working with foreign nations too make it easier for people like Farmer to aid them without being removed. I also believe that we should be working on easier ways for companies such as Farmers to obtain funding. If TB is as dire of a situation as its told about in the book then more people like Farmer should be working towards preventing it. It does take a lot of hard work to make change but if Dr. Farmer was given more help and money from bigger resources then he probably wouldn't have to give every second of his life to it and could have more time to rest. As a strong nation it's important to contribute to having a unified planet so that major diseases disappear faster and research/studies are easier to obtain. The best way to act is too create more government policies that have to do with funding small businesses and companies that are attempting to help foreign nations medically like Farmer did.

Michael Johnson

Seth Mischo said...

A lot of people are saying how we should be contributing to other countries, and aiding them every-time there's a disaster. Yet we still have the highest non-violent incarceration rates, teen pregnancy rates, illegal drug use, and obesity rate in the world. How are we supposed to aid other countries when ours is still completely dysfunctional.

Now yes, in the book Dr. Farmer is passionate for his work, and loves to help others, and for an individual that's great. But asking our country to make that kind of contribution is absolutely, for lack of a better word, idiotic. We have no moral obligation to help lesser people if it is detrimental to us. I don't mean to come off with a view that can be percieved as extremely ethnocentric, it simply just needs to be said that we cannot be bleeding hearts for the less fortunate, it will be our demise.

Now, with that said: Dr. Farmer is an extremely innovative person. His abilities to perceive and conquer and problems he encounters are amazing. His assistance alone in Haiti does make quite a difference, and it is better to have educated missionaries such as himself doing work in 3rd world countries, then to have a country doing all the work.

Anonymous said...

I'm Matt Sullivan and I'm majoring in Environmental Economics and Management. I found this book to be moving. It is clear to understand that we do not always see beyond our borders. This book expresses the importance of interconnectedness. This is proven as Paul Farmer, a man from a unique background, decides to dedicate his future years and career towards helping others. This book is a great example of generosity.

Kayla Zarzuela said...

Hello my name is Kayla Zarzuela and when I began to first read the book it automatically intrigued me. Dr. Farmer giving to the underprivileged is exactly why I want to become a Physician. I believe that if you have enough wealth to share with someone who may or is needing it more than you, then you should take up that responsibility and help out, pay it forward. I know for sure that those less fortunate would wish they had someone to care for them. In the book, Tracy Kidder explains how people wait for doctors and sometimes it takes a while for anyone to be seen, I'd just like to give back, speed up the process, help out in general. The best way to act out and express this responsibility, to me, is just have rallies, fundraising, seek the wealthier people. If every millionaire was to donate just one million dollars it would help a lot more, but people are ignorant to the issues that are not only in the US but world wide, bringing awareness and speaking out can only change that. I just feel like it is our job, as humans to help make a significant difference to those who need it.

Brian Byrnes said...

Individuals of wealthy nations should do whatever they can to help poorer countries who need them. Dr. Farmer showed that one person truly can make all the difference in the lives o many. The responsible way to express this responsibility is to simply do whatever benefits the countries who do not have the resources that we do. We have a lot of power in this country and we should be like Dr. Farmer and show no reluctance to help other countries in need.

Karly Turgeon said...

To the class of 2016,
I found Mountains Beyond Mountains to be quite an interesting book. I agree with most of the fellow bloggers saying that you first must research the nation and educate yourself on how wealthier countries can help poorer countries. Money is not the problem. but what we spend it on and use it for confuses me. What people don't realize is that we could use portions of it to help poor countries who have lost their way.

Wealthier countries can provide for poorer nations whether it be food, supplies, health care, and education. Instead of keeping one's money to himself, expand your horizons and take the responsibility of helping others in poor conditions.

This book proved that it only takes one person to change someone else's life. Imagine a whole country taking on the challenge of providing for other countries to help rebuild lost economies. It only takes one man to change a country's ways.

I absolutely loved this book. It was empowering and interesting all at the same time. This book showed how one man dedicated his life to helping others. If we started getting together and figuring out ways on how to help other countries we could change the world.

I can only imagine what it would do, can you?

checkurback said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Bessette said...

The inherent issue with wealthier nation’s interaction with poorer nations is that of human flaws. In a perfect world where all of mankind agree or at least stand to respect another opinion there is no reason why all nations could not work together in harmony regardless of cultural boundaries, however no human mind set is the same. Throughout recent History larger nations, particularly the United States, fund and supply, through manpower and donations, charity projects around the world. This nation also claims to be using its military power to bring democracy to other nations. I am a full believer in the fact that democracy is not a perfect system and only certain nations can handle it. When we as a nation try to force this type of government on other’s we are just as bad as the oppressors we have just freed the nation from. In the book “Mountains Beyond Mountains” Dr. Paul Farmer goes on a noble quest to rid the world of Tuberculosis. Although a noble cause, without people willing to go along with the treatment the disease continued to prevail. This is a fault with being human. We are all entitled to our opinion, whether or not a Godly being gave us the free will or not is irrelevant. The fact is we have it and it is our responsibility to use it correctly for the greater good. This leads up to the difficult question: how do we help without oppressing the same people we are trying to help? My opinion is to adopt a passive approach. This will utilize our available resources wisely without wasting them any further. If you give options to people and not proverbially shove it down their throats they are more likely to adopt it. It is impossible to help everyone in the world as well as for everyone to be willing to help. But if better opportunities open up on both ends (the poor get better options to cure themselves, to get water, etc. and the wealthier nation has better options to donate and participate) the more causes can prosper. Also the only just way a government of a wealthy nation should intercede in such projects is defend their people from any possible hostiles as well as aid in international delegations and transportation. One last point to wrap this up is DO NOT FORGET WE HAVE PROBLEMS HERE AT HOME TOO. We must find a way to equally distribute our riches to the point where we do not stab ourselves in the back.

Chelsea Sabatino said...

Hello Everyone!
After reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” I have been inspired to do more for people who need help. This doesn’t just apply for the people living in poor countries/areas but for the people living in my community who are less fortunate. I have already expressed this desire to help others throughout my childhood. I have donated clothes/toys to my local church as well as made sandwiches for the poor. I would love to continue this habit when I move to Rhode Island this fall. I hope to get involved in a local charity through the school itself. Although these helpful actions that I pursue/want to pursue are very small compared to the work Paul Farmer accomplished in Haiti, Farmer made me believe that even the smallest bit of help helps. For example, throughout the novel, Farmer would periodically dwell on a patient who was severely suffering or had died. Farmer would blame their suffering or death on himself. He believed that it was his fault because he didn’t make them well. Each person Farmer helped/cured lifted his spirits. What matters to Farmer is helping one person at a time, as long as they are becoming well. According to Farmer, the best way to act on the desire to help others is to do any type of action that will lead in a positive direction, whether it is big or small.

-Chelsea Sabatino

Brianna Thomas said...

Hello! I just finished reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains," and the book really made me thankful for everything that I have, heath, well-being, family, and it made me think how blessed our country is to be able to have quick and easy access to doctors, vaccines, and hospitals. I believe, like most of my fellow classmates, that individuals in wealthier nations should help out poorer countries. It should not be a written rule, but a duty to help out those who are in need. Wealthier countries should make efforts to provide living essentials for poorer countries, but more importantly, they should provide poorer countries with education. A wealthier country, like the United States for example, could help out a poorer country, like Haiti, by giving them essentials to live and gifts like shoes and clothes, but how is that helping the country? The people of Haiti would still live in rundown houses, have dirty drinking water, and infectious disease spreading at a continuous rate. What Paul Farmer did for Haiti, Peru, and other countries was provide them with education. He taught them what diseases were, how they contracted them, and what they could do to prevent them. To help other poor countries we must give them the building blocks and teach them about things like technology and disease so that they can build their country themselves. If we provide the tools, they learn and create a better life for themselves.

Personally as a child that had a great childhood, not facing the struggles of poverty and disease, I fell that it is my duty as a human being to help others who are in worse situations. By becoming a part of organizations that help needy countries or becoming more aware of the struggles around the world, I can do my part to make the world a little better. Paul Farmer is a great influence. He shows that doing the right thing may not be easy, in fact it might be near impossible, but it can be done. If wealthier countries make it their responsibility to help teach these poorer countries how to build and advance is common technologies, we can see improvement and feel better about helping others.

Lee S said...

I feel that education is truely the key to social & environmental progress & improvement. Not only on the behalf of the those trying to aid the situation-Farmer/Ophilia/Jim/PIH-trying to learn the reasons for the illnesses/poverty-but also for those in need-Haitians. I feel that some sort of official education system is needed in these places in order to "spread the word"-get the information out to younger generations-on HOW to PREVENT sickness & INFLUENCE them to STRIVE for a better tomorrow. Sometimes in these countries, talk of sex & illness is forbidden but in order to decrease the AIDS population, education on safe sex must take action & people must face the real-life situations at hand.

Lee S said...

i agree completely & i wish you well!

Passion, something you had mentioned, is extremely important-however can seem so far & forgotton at times. In order to accomplish a dream-such as continuing to fight for the well-being of a country's people, for example-requires passion. Not only does Farmer's passion for helping his patients fuel energy & spark life into those around him but passion also keeps him going when seeing terrible incidents, the toll sickness can take on a person, and loss.

Lee Styer said...

Hi everybody..the blog is sort of struggling to work for me, but im giving it a go! I wanted to bring up the subject of "guilt." To feel "guilty" means to, plainly, feel responsible for some offense or moral code. But I have to ask, should we feel guilty for the hardships other nations endure, simply due to random birth? I also must state that guilt only goes so far. Ultimately, it is not guilt that drives an individual (Farmer) to aid a country's people, but motivation, passion and a drive to help humanity..I feel like I shouldn't feel guilty (I also feel it's a somewhat useless emotion) but rather, blessed to have been born in the USA, and so I can seize the opportunities and possibilities to help humanity, through my own methods, utilizing my passions and my goals.

Erica Sebastyan said...

Hi Everyone,

I believe the first responsibility is recognizing that wealthier people do have responsibilities towards people in poor countries. A lot of people would like to not have to think about developing countries and the struggles that they face. Wealthier people have the responsibility to think about what they can do to help others depending on their resources. If a group of people can come together and set up a clean water source for people who do not have it then they should act on that. The best way to act on this responsibility is to get involved.

Lizzy said...

Hello All!
I am an Honors Colloquium student and we were asked to read Mountains Beyond Mountains, as well. I hope you all found it as inspiring and thought provoking as I did.

To begin with I thought the book rose very interesting questions about the motivation of the aims to help the poor. Do people do it for glory, because they feel guilty, to genuinely help the poor? I truly believe that Farmer has done all his work to help the poor. At first I thought he was a bit arrogant and might be in it for the glory, but as I read on I couldn't believe all the sacrifices he has made. Only someone really selfless would be able to do that. I find Farmer so inspiring. He is the kind of person, I think, we all want to be. To be able to do such good in the world and only think of it as his privilege to help those less fortunate. Farmer states that “The problem is, if I don’t work hard, someone will die who doesn’t have to” (p 191). I believe that this quote shows so much about how he thinks about his work. It's not just a job to him, helping those he can. But, he feels a direct responsibility for all the people he can help.

Another point that I have seen many of you discussing is the role that wealthier nations should have in helping the poor nations. This is something I certainly encourage and believe in. Not only internationally, but with in our own country I believe this idea should be applied. Those who have succeeded should help those that struggle. I think that we all want to help in this, but we often forget, especially when we live where it is uncommon. Truly seeing the decimation in some areas of the world helps to motivate you. I am from a very nice area so I have not seen much suffering, but I do know it is out there. I hope that I will be able to help someday: whether it be through donations, or trips to volunteer. On this same idea, often people ignore that there is suffering in the world. They prefer to think that it does not exist and that they have no responsibility. Farmer says “the world is filled with miserable places. One way of living comfortably is not to think about them or, when you do, to send money” (p 8). This is so true in our society. This quote reminded me of Hotel Rwanda, when the American reporter bringing footage of the genocide back to the US is leaving he says “I think if people see this footage, they'll say Oh, my God, that's horrible. And then they'll go on eating their dinners” and that is exactly what I believe the majority would do. We are a society ruled by the media. When they show us something we think "Wow, I should help" and we give money. But once that story becomes old news they become forgotten, for example the Japan earthquakes.I hope that in the future we as a global society can work together and make a decision to universally help each other fight disease and help the poor. “Equity is the only acceptable goal” (p 261).

I am a pharmacy student, so as a future health care employee I found this book especially enlightening. One aspect I found very interesting was the cost of the drugs they needed. I am glad to hear that the prices for second line drugs have been decreasing. I believe that the ridiculously high prices of some drugs make fighting mass outbreaks of such diseases as TB (especially MDR) and AIDS even more challenging. I believe that the companies should try and reduce all costs, to make access to medicine more equal among all classes. Health care costs are through the roof, and it is a really shame, because people cannot afford to get the care they need.

I hope that someday I can make some small contribution to world health. Dr. Farmer is such an inspiration. I do believe he is one of a kind, but that doesn't mean that others of us cannot help in this fight against inequity in medicine.

Lily Sirpenski said...

"To understand Russia, to understand Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Boston, identity politics, Sri Lanka, and Life Savers, you have to be on top of this hill." (pg 44, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder)
Reflecting upon the latter, I believe that individuals of wealthy nations do not have a responsibility toward others in poorer countries, but simply have the choice to indebt themselves with one. I select the word "indebted" to characterize Farmer's almost hopeless - yet clear and crucial goals of improving Haiti's healthcare system. Although Farmer and his colleagues do advance a group of annual medical statistics in the area of Cange and eventually Carabayllo in Peru, Farmer has still brought upon himself the complex responsibility of initiating facilities in third world countries, contructing more affordable treatment plans for patients with little to no income and more, all while violating current powers in each location. Because Paul does prevail in numerable situations and results in curing many patients who weren't able to recieve treatment before his arrival in Haiti, he deems himself a remarkable individual. I believe that someone with an undying need to help others deserve not only the utmost respect, but the right to help who they desire - no matter the scale. Because Farmer chooses to be located in Cange at his facility rather than his location in the states, it is revealed that he has made the choice to make Haiti's nation health his responsibility. The provided quote above reflects Farmer's perspective of helping individuals from other countries and how this view has been molded by his time and experience in Haiti as well as his interaction with the environment and it's people. This personal account, which no one understands more clearly than himself, motivates his passion to a larger scale, where he develops the interest to indebt himself in improving an entire country's medical statistic rather than a small village's. To conclude, I believe individuals of wealthier nations do not have a responsibility toward others in poorer nations but the option to give help as they see fit because the sense of responsibility is personal - not nationwide.

Faith Anderson said...

I believe that the wealthy and powerful have a moral and ethical responsibility to help the poor and powerless. Living in a country that has such a surplus, one rarely realizes the sheer deficit other countries experience. However, with the advent of global awareness comes the reality of global citizenship. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Literature, such as Mountains Beyond Mountains, illuminates the need for action and the obligation of the more fortunate. Foreign aid is certainly a viable option in order to alleviate some of the hardships in other countries, such as in Haiti, Peru, Mexico, and Russia. Politics however, seems to make such a simple solution staggeringly more difficult. Therefore, individuals have a duty to support struggling nations on a global level. Not every person has to make Dr. Paul Farmer their example, but any additional donation of time, money, or resources is more than was allocated before. Overall, seemingly small individual efforts add up to global transformation and the improvement of millions of lives worldwide.

Erica Sebastyan said...

Hi,

I agree with Faith that small efforts are all it takes to act on the responsibility wealthier people have regarding people in poor countries.

I feel that if people have knowledge that can be useful to people in poor countries then it is their responsibility to share that knowledge. By reading this book we have all become more aware of our responsibility to people in poor countries and we should share our new knowledge to other people who can help.

The first way I am going to take responsibility to help people in poor countries is getting more people involved. WIth more people involved, more resources will be available and a bigger change will be made.

Jose De La Cruz said...

Hello, My name is Jose and I am a biology major. My main goal is to go into Med School and become a surgeon. Ever since I was a little kid, I have been raised in a christian family. I been able to work with people, who are in need. One of the main problems in noticed in the community by working with people is the lack of individuals who are able to give back, what they have enough of. After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, my eyes have been open, and Ive come to realize that my profession will not be useful in a developed country such as the United States. After finishing Medical school, I will follow Paul Farmer's as a role model into helping people. Sometimes all we care as humans is our own good, but we dont realize that there is people out there that are not as fortunate as we are. Once I become a doctor, my plans include going to a developing country such as Guatemala, and beginning a project in which people will have a good medical assistance, and will not be turn down if they are not able to pay. Thinking like Paul Farmer, saving someones life is more important than getting some hundred dollars. This book is amazing!!!!!!!!

Chelsea Sabatino said...

Hello Everyone!

According to “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” I think that the responsibility that people have in wealthy countries towards individuals in poor countries varies. For example, Paul Farmer, among many other individuals in the book, had the personal desire to help the sick in poorer countries compared as compared to his own. He was dedicated to his patients and his work. For example, he would go out of his way and make long trips to make sure his patients were taking their medications (Morne Michel). He also wanted to make sure people would continue the work he was completing in Haiti. To do this, his objective was “[t]o inculcate in the doctors and nurses the spirit to dedicate themselves to the patients (Page 42).” In addition, he travelled to various places in the world to speak on behalf of special re-treatment programs to help cure more individuals who were resistant to certain drugs. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every person that comes from a well-developed area has the yearning to help people in underdeveloped areas in the world. This novel was filled with individuals who had the same goals as Paul Farmer. In my opinion, this book presents a perfect example of people who share a common interest to help poor/sick individuals in Haiti, Peru, and Russia and are strongly committed to their work.

-Chelsea Sabatino

Adam Schmuter said...

Leaders will always talk. Whether it be self proclaimed humanitarians or politicians, it is always ones record which counts more than just their words.

Paul Farmer exemplifies the ideal leader. One who is selfless and wholly committed to a just cause.

The writing was occasionally dry and I felt I had to work extra hard to get through it, HOWEVER, the message is none less important. During this long summer where we spend much time preparing for college and so forth, this story has brought up a valuable question we should always ask ourselves.
"When it's all said and done, will you have said more than you've done?"

Natalie clift said...

People that live in wealthier nations do have a civil duty to help people that are less fortunate than themselves. Every human on this earth is born with rights. They have the right to food, education, clean water, and to live. The people in Haiti are living in a world that seems far away, maybe on a different planet, than what we as Americans are accustomed to. They are living without electricity, medicine, clean drinking water, disease, meager amounts of food, and if they have a roof over their heads, it is ridden with holes. Yet, they are no different than we are, since we are all humans.

If that is true, why do they have to live in these conditions? Why do some humans find it hard to reach out and help them? One reason that people find it hard to reach out is because they are ignorant of the Haitians plight. This means that they just are unaware of the situation, or they just turn a blind eye and pretend poverty doesn’t exist. What really stuck out to me in the book Mountains beyond Mountains is when on page 80 Farmer is talking to the young American doctor who was leaving Haiti. When Farmer asked if it was going to be hard to leave, the young doctor replied, “Are you kidding? I cant wait. There’s no electricity here. It’s just brutal here.” (pg 80). I had the same reaction as Farmer did to the young doctor. How could he just leave and forget everything that he had witnessed while helping the Haitians? How could he go back to his comfortable home in America with his electricity knowing that there are people starving and dying in countries like Haiti? Paul Farmer is truly an inspiration to me because he gave up his entire life to help others. Are we called to do the same? I don’t think we are called to help the Haitians, or any other country in poverty, to the extreme that Paul Farmer went to, but we are called to help in some way. Whether this way be sending money or supplies to Haiti, maybe collecting non perishable food items to send over, donating to a worthy cause, building a school, or something to help the people that are less fortunate than ourselves. If everyone does something, no matter how small, we can make a big impact on the lives of the poor.

Hannah Blanco said...

Hi Everyone,

I would just like to say that I thought the book was quite interesting. It shows an individuals desire to help those in need and give back to a community. Paul Farmer has sent an example to people everywhere. We have a duty to help those around us who are less fortunate. If we donate some of our time and act on our responsibilities towards other poorer nations, we could save and help tons of people. Just one act could save an individual in need and help feed them, clothe them, and every shelter them from the cold. If people volunteer their time to raise money to gather food, water, build shelters and schools, we could help many people and know that that life was saved. No matter what the act is, a chain reaction can be started and can go a long distance.

-Hannah Blanco

Jaclyn Friedman said...

After reading Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains" I have come to the conclusion that wealthier nations should assist poorer nations with regard to economic, medical, and political needs, but they should not be obligated to do so. As someone stated in one of the earlier comments, each individual is born with their own rights, and just because people in wealthier nations have more resources available and are better off, this does not mean that they need to give up their possessions or their own rights in order to assist people in less wealthy nations. And yes, the people in poorer nations also have rights themselves, and these rights should be fulfilled and not be questioned at any time, but it is not always up to the wealthier nations to pick up the pieces of the falling nations that are less fortunate than them. I am not trying to say that wealthy nations should completely ignore the problems in poorer nations, but it should not be up to the few wealthy nations to resolve the issues of the many less fortunate nations, although they should feel morally obligated to do so.

That's why the world is lucky to have people like Dr. Paul Farmer. We need people like Farmer who are willing and able to assist the people of the world who are in need. His story has given me, and hopefully many others, the opportunity to see the world from another perspective. Living in America, a super power nation, I often feel that I am somewhat unaware of what is happening around the world, and that could be my own fault, but reading this book made it clear to me that there is so much that each individual can do to lend a helping hand. Whether that is donating money to certain organizations or foundations, or actually going to Haiti to help Dr. Farmer treat his patients, every little thing counts. By reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" I know that I will try to do more within my own community to help people who are in need in any way that I can.

-Jaclyn Friedman

Anonymous said...

For me personally, I have always had a fond interest in the medical field thanks to having a grandfather who was a medical engineer. He was my inspiration to somehow apply myself in the medical industry. Now, after reading the Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, I have an even greater interest towards the medical field. I admire Dr. Paul Farmer and his determination to shout out the needs for the deprived nations who do not have access to necessary care for survival. His work closely resembles an amazing organization known as “Doctors Without Borders” which provides assistance to multiple countries around the world which suffer from epidemics, malnutrition, civil unrest, etc. Just as the organization strives to do, Farmer worked to provide humans with the basic rights every human deserves to have.

I also am a believer that education is a main component that can help progressively improve social, political, and environmental concerns. Passing along the ways and beliefs to help prevent the misfortunate situations from happening, and influencing others to work towards better scenarios will help us create better days ahead for these poorer nations. I do also believe that the wealthier class has a great deal of assistance they could provide to help bring these poor countries. The wealthier class can help by sharing some of their time, money, and influence on others as a way to give back and help those who are in need. Unity is a word that describes this book very well, and we need to come together as one large group and face these struggles together.
-Kendra Coan

Anonymous said...

To begin with, I found this book to run in the same vein as all of the other summer books i've read over the years; dull, long, and unnecessary. However we're not here to talk about how much we hated the book are we (though I certainly wish we were on that subject).

In regards to the question: the wealthy don't really have any responsibility to those with no acquaintance to themselves (With the exception of employees); that's the beauty of free will. Take Bill Gates for example. What association does he have with Haiti? Answer: None. There is no obligation there. What about in a general sense: Obligations of the rich to the poor? Again, there is no obligation. The only way that either will see results if they are in a worknig cooperative; neither of the two is going to be charitable out of obligation, but only out of necessity. Charity only strikes those who are in the mood for it; if they feel like they want to help, then they can - but it does not always mean they should (or will). Obligation only comes after the fact that someone wants to help, or rather, the feeling of obligation. No one is born obligated to anything - FREE WILL.

Still we are in need of solutions to help those in want, yes? In full honesty I believe that new-age colonialism is a capable way of helping others. Hear me out; it's just like corporations buying out pa and ma stores that are failing, and then making them successful. With the assistance of the military, occupation can be made within the given area. Resistance or welcome is negligable. After the site (Ex: Town) is secured, Foreign aid can work itself. Hospitals, schools, and agricultural sites can be cultivated and built with ease and it then becomes a win-win situation. Not only do with improve their situation, but the occupational forces can export goods, establish bases, and help work the country's resources for mutual benefit. What's more, we can dispose of the innefectual or even tyrranical brutal regimes that tend to run these countries and repalce them with benevolent rulers that can help garner a sense of national pride in the country. WE can force genocidal warlords out, treat the diseases of the sick, and educate those who have never even seen a school. In my open, this does not only help the country in question, but can also create a better sense of world unity if everyone is behind it. Given enough time, and enoguh aid, these occupational forces can even ease out of the country in question and allow them self-governance, assuring safety and prosperity by taking careful measures in the first place. The world becomes a little more interesting in that effect, don't you think?

- R. Reynolds

Lauren Mancini said...

Haiti is the perfect example of a nation in dire need of help from a wealthier nation. The beginning of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" emphasizes that Haiti is a "world designed by the elites of all nations to serve their own ends" and the "fingerprints of the Western Powers" was left on this country, leaving it full of poverty and disease (pg 73). World powers easily ignored the problems of Haiti, only taking from them what they needed, but Paul Farmer is able to bring their attention back to the needy country. Farmer begins by helping the people of Haiti, more specifically Cange, with his own money and his own education, not because he is responsible for the poverty, but simply because he hopes to make a positive impact in his patients lives. He brings about the point that if a nation has the resources to help a country then why not help. He does everything in his power to try and get people to donate their money and time but it proves to be very difficult. Tom White is the first person we see who is willing to give up his own fortune to a people who are in greater need of the money. His money is able to do things like help cure people of TB and build clinics, which shows what a positive influence a single person can be, never mind an entire nation.

The question still remains however, do people in positions such as Tom White have a responsibility to give to a needy country. Are countries such as the United States and France for example, obligated to give money to countries such as Haiti, Msocow and Russia? Personally I think the answer is no, they do not owe these countries anything. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be willing to share their resources with these countries when they are in such dire need. It amazes me how Paul Farmer is able to convince individuals on a personal level to give to those in need and then convince organizations on a larger scale to do such drastic things as lower drug prices and donate extremely large sums of money.

I was not until I finished the book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," that I fully understood its meaning. Towards the end of the book, we are told the story of John, the boy with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Massachusetts General Hospital is willing to provide John with free treatment and Farmer somehow finds the thousands of dollars to get the child a helicopter and an ambulance in order to get him to Massachusetts. It amazes me the chance Farmer takes on the boy, not knowing whether this treatment will actually cure him or not. In the end, the boy dies but in a much more comfortable way than he might have at home. Although there was no way they could have known the cancer had spread to his vertebrae already, it seems like the money was "wasted," but taking a chance on saving that little boys life is worth the money.

That is the kind of faith wealthy nations should have in even the poorest of nations. Assume that if wealthy nations give poor nations all the help they can, then the poor nations will be better off in the end. It is easy for a a wealthy nation to see the poor nation fail and then give up on them, but by not counting them out right away the poor nations at least have a chance. Massachusetts General Hospital still treats some of the sick children for free even though they are not always successful. They continue to help in hopes that eventually they will have a positive outcome. Wealthy nations should continue to help in the ways that they can in hopes of that positive outcome, not because they feel they have to but because they are able to.

Lauren Mancini said...

Haiti is the perfect example of a nation in dire need of help from a wealthier nation. The beginning of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" emphasizes that Haiti is a "world designed by the elites of all nations to serve their own ends" and the "fingerprints of the Western Powers" was left on this country, leaving it full of poverty and disease (pg 73). World powers easily ignored the problems of Haiti, only taking from them what they needed, but Paul Farmer is able to bring their attention back to the needy country. Farmer begins by helping the people of Haiti, more specifically Cange, with his own money and his own education, not because he is responsible for the poverty, but simply because he hopes to make a positive impact in his patients lives. He brings about the point that if a nation has the resources to help a country then why not help. He does everything in his power to try and get people to donate their money and time but it proves to be very difficult. Tom White is the first person we see who is willing to give up his own fortune to a people who are in greater need of the money. His money is able to do things like help cure people of TB and build clinics, which shows what a positive influence a single person can be, never mind an entire nation.

The question still remains however, do people in positions such as Tom White have a responsibility to give to a needy country. Are countries such as the United States and France for example, obligated to give money to countries such as Haiti, Msocow and Russia? Personally I think the answer is no, they do not owe these countries anything. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be willing to share their resources with these countries when they are in such dire need. It amazes me how Paul Farmer is able to convince individuals on a personal level to give to those in need and then convince organizations on a larger scale to do such drastic things as lower drug prices and donate extremely large sums of money.

I was not until I finished the book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," that I fully understood its meaning. Towards the end of the book, we are told the story of John, the boy with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Massachusetts General Hospital is willing to provide John with free treatment and Farmer somehow finds the thousands of dollars to get the child a helicopter and an ambulance in order to get him to Massachusetts. It amazes me the chance Farmer takes on the boy, not knowing whether this treatment will actually cure him or not. In the end, the boy dies but in a much more comfortable way than he might have at home. Although there was no way they could have known the cancer had spread to his vertebrae already, it seems like the money was "wasted," but taking a chance on saving that little boys life is worth the money.

That is the kind of faith wealthy nations should have in even the poorest of nations. Assume that if wealthy nations give poor nations all the help they can, then the poor nations will be better off in the end. It is easy for a a wealthy nation to see the poor nation fail and then give up on them, but by not counting them out right away the poor nations at least have a chance. Massachusetts General Hospital still treats some of the sick children for free even though they are not always successful. They continue to help in hopes that eventually they will have a positive outcome. Wealthy nations should continue to help in the ways that they can in hopes of that positive outcome, not because they feel they have to but because they are able to.

Lauren Mancini said...

Haiti is the perfect example of a nation in dire need of help from a wealthier nation. The beginning of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" emphasizes that Haiti is a "world designed by the elites of all nations to serve their own ends" and the "fingerprints of the Western Powers" was left on this country, leaving it full of poverty and disease (pg 73). World powers easily ignored the problems of Haiti, only taking from them what they needed, but Paul Farmer is able to bring their attention back to the needy country. Farmer begins by helping the people of Haiti, more specifically Cange, with his own money and his own education, not because he is responsible for the poverty, but simply because he hopes to make a positive impact in his patients lives. He brings about the point that if a nation has the resources to help a country then why not help. He does everything in his power to try and get people to donate their money and time but it proves to be very difficult. Tom White is the first person we see who is willing to give up his own fortune to a people who are in greater need of the money. His money is able to do things like help cure people of TB and build clinics, which shows what a positive influence a single person can be, never mind an entire nation.

The question still remains however, do people in positions such as Tom White have a responsibility to give to a needy country. Are countries such as the United States and France for example, obligated to give money to countries such as Haiti, Msocow and Russia? Personally I think the answer is no, they do not owe these countries anything. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be willing to share their resources with these countries when they are in such dire need. It amazes me how Paul Farmer is able to convince individuals on a personal level to give to those in need and then convince organizations on a larger scale to do such drastic things as lower drug prices and donate extremely large sums of money.

I was not until I finished the book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," that I fully understood its meaning. Towards the end of the book, we are told the story of John, the boy with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Massachusetts General Hospital is willing to provide John with free treatment and Farmer somehow finds the thousands of dollars to get the child a helicopter and an ambulance in order to get him to Massachusetts. It amazes me the chance Farmer takes on the boy, not knowing whether this treatment will actually cure him or not. In the end, the boy dies but in a much more comfortable way than he might have at home. Although there was no way they could have known the cancer had spread to his vertebrae already, it seems like the money was "wasted," but taking a chance on saving that little boys life is worth the money.

That is the kind of faith wealthy nations should have in even the poorest of nations. Assume that if wealthy nations give poor nations all the help they can, then the poor nations will be better off in the end. It is easy for a a wealthy nation to see the poor nation fail and then give up on them, but by not counting them out right away the poor nations at least have a chance. Massachusetts General Hospital still treats some of the sick children for free even though they are not always successful. They continue to help in hopes that eventually they will have a positive outcome. Wealthy nations should continue to help in the ways that they can in hopes of that positive outcome, not because they feel they have to but because they are able to.

Lauren Mancini said...

Haiti is the perfect example of a nation in dire need of help from a wealthier nation. The beginning of "Mountains Beyond Mountains" emphasizes that Haiti is a "world designed by the elites of all nations to serve their own ends" and the "fingerprints of the Western Powers" was left on this country, leaving it full of poverty and disease (pg 73). World powers easily ignored the problems of Haiti, only taking from them what they needed, but Paul Farmer is able to bring their attention back to the needy country. Farmer begins by helping the people of Haiti, more specifically Cange, with his own money and his own education, not because he is responsible for the poverty, but simply because he hopes to make a positive impact in his patients lives. He brings about the point that if a nation has the resources to help a country then why not help. He does everything in his power to try and get people to donate their money and time but it proves to be very difficult. Tom White is the first person we see who is willing to give up his own fortune to a people who are in greater need of the money. His money is able to do things like help cure people of TB and build clinics, which shows what a positive influence a single person can be, never mind an entire nation.

The question still remains however, do people in positions such as Tom White have a responsibility to give to a needy country. Are countries such as the United States and France for example, obligated to give money to countries such as Haiti, Msocow and Russia? Personally I think the answer is no, they do not owe these countries anything. However, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be willing to share their resources with these countries when they are in such dire need. It amazes me how Paul Farmer is able to convince individuals on a personal level to give to those in need and then convince organizations on a larger scale to do such drastic things as lower drug prices and donate extremely large sums of money.

I was not until I finished the book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," that I fully understood its meaning. Towards the end of the book, we are told the story of John, the boy with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Massachusetts General Hospital is willing to provide John with free treatment and Farmer somehow finds the thousands of dollars to get the child a helicopter and an ambulance in order to get him to Massachusetts. It amazes me the chance Farmer takes on the boy, not knowing whether this treatment will actually cure him or not. In the end, the boy dies but in a much more comfortable way than he might have at home. Although there was no way they could have known the cancer had spread to his vertebrae already, it seems like the money was "wasted," but taking a chance on saving that little boys life is worth the money.

That is the kind of faith wealthy nations should have in even the poorest of nations. Assume that if wealthy nations give poor nations all the help they can, then the poor nations will be better off in the end. It is easy for a a wealthy nation to see the poor nation fail and then give up on them, but by not counting them out right away the poor nations at least have a chance. Massachusetts General Hospital still treats some of the sick children for free even though they are not always successful. They continue to help in hopes that eventually they will have a positive outcome. Wealthy nations should continue to help in the ways that they can in hopes of that positive outcome, not because they feel they have to but because they are able to.

Jenn Mulkern said...

I think that wealthier nations have a great responsibility to help out areas of the world that is not as fortunate as them. This is a very broad statement though. I believe that as a human being we all have the responsibility to take care of one another. Even if you are not extremely rich that does not be you cannot help those who are in need. At times in the book Dr. Farmer hardly had any money, but instead of giving up on helping people in 3rd world countries he continued on his mission, and pleads his friends and co-workers to make generous donations.

Money is an obviously needed to help poor nations get back on their feet, but human interaction and kindness is needed even more. As Kidder says, those who live in poor countries have hope and are extremely thankful for any sort of help you give them. You do not have to be a millionaire to make an impact on poor countries. Dr. Farmer is a prime example of this, he is not exactly wealthy but he dedicated his time and money to make a difference.

Corinne Woodbine said...

Wealthy countries have the responsibility to help less fortunate countries for the simple reason that human beings have a responsibility to care for and protect one another. I don't feel that as a country we should bring in our armed forces, take over their government, put in place a democracy, and tell them how their lives should be run (something I feel our country has and does do when they intend to help other countries.) Nor do I believe every human being should feel responsible to act as Farmer does, sacrificing every ounce of his life, twenty-four hours a day, to aid others in achieving health and happiness. I feel that there must be a happy medium between doing nothing to help others, and helping others to the point where that is all you are as a person. Let's face it, not every person in wealthier nations is cut out for the work Farmer does. Not everyone is willing set aside their own families, their occasional luxuries, and their much desired free time in order to save those less fortunate. I wish that was the world we lived in, but that simply isn't the case. However, everyone should take the effort and responsibility for our fellow human beings in some way, be it a poor country, or someone else in your hometown who is having a hard time getting by. I feel that as a wealthier nation, we should try and stop being a little less self-involved, and at least pay attention to what's going on around our planet. We should travel to other places where less fortunate families are struggling, and we should bring them food, help them build houses, and help bring fresh water to families who have gone without.

I believe that every human being is entitled to the necessities from birth. Every person alive should be allowed food, water, and shelter. I feel that the first step to securing this would be for the wealthy population to be more aware, and to feel a sense of obligation to those without the necessities, let alone luxuries. I feel that big businesses and corporations should not just donate to charities for the sake of good publicity, but to organize and fund large groups to go to other countries to help them build irrigation systems and shelters.

Bendan O'Donnell said...

Hello,

I believe that individuals in wealthier nations should have the responsibilities of informing and helping poorer countries to learn how to run government and to improve the well-being of its people. I don't believe it is 100% our responsibility to care and nurture the poorer country to a respectable level. If the wealthier country controls the poorer country they will be happy for a given amount of time but if you teach a poorer country the necessary skills to run the coutry then they will be happy for a lifetime.
I believe that there are many different ways to express this responsibility. In my opinion, I believe it is right to show the poorer country its flaws and give them steps to fix them. Donations also are a way to keep certain funds running that can eventually aid the country.

Brendan O'Donnell

Zachary Campo said...

I believe that the responsibilities of individuals in wealthier countries is to provide support in any way they can in order to help poorer countries make it through major struggles. I believe that wealthier countries should not provide a tremendous amount of aid by taking over the responsibilities because the poorer countries need to learn how to manage themselves and sustain themselves. When there are major struggles pertaining to medicine and the government, is the only time I believe that wealthier countries should intervene. Which in the case of Dr. Farmer, he did precisely. Poorer countries simply do not have the tools and resources to fix major problems such as tuberculoses or AIDS. Therefore I believe the responsibilities of wealthier countries is to provide, in any way, the help that they can for those situations.
I believe that the best way to act on this sense of responsibility is to first learn about the culture of the country that is being aided. Second to understand how to help them in a way that they will be able to understand and work with you. Once you understand them, and they understand you is the only way that I believe major changes can be made to fix the country in need.

Thomas Moore said...

I believe that wealthier nations have a responsibility to help other countries that don't have the resources or Government to provide for their own countries. However, I believe that wealthier nations should not take total control over the poor nation and should only give the poor country guidelines to follow and some financial aid. They should teach them how to be self-sufficient by providing them with tools and resources necessary as well as the proper training. The wealthier country should not spend all of its money and resources on helping poorer countries also because it will distract them from their own country and problems. So, wealth nations should only give what they can to poorer countries and only provide guidelines and make the countries do everything themselves so they learn for the future. Everyone would prefer to be able to take care of themselves rather than having someone continually feeding and caring for them.

The best way to act on this responsibility is to provide humanitarian services when necessary including medical and disaster relief. More importantly is to provide education to allow them to make their own choices. We should not go into countries and impose our beliefs and make them clones of the United States. Other countries should be allowed to be individualist and express their choices as long as those choices are not harmful to others

-Thomas Moore

Amanda said...

Hi my names Amanda Rayos and I am a kinesiology major. I do believe wealthier countries have a responsibility to help other countries in need; however I believe that a wealthier country, like ours, should help the poor areas in their own country before they begin to help others. It may seem selfish to some but I believe our greatest responsibility should be helping our own country first. We need to put our money and time into reforming our own country because we don’t know if we will ever get the money back from these poor countries and we will definitely not gain the time we spent back helping these countries.
I have been to Haiti before and I saw how people lived there. I believe it was a great experience for me because I was able to see how lucky I am to have the just the simplest things in life. However I still feel strongly about helping people in our own country first. The best way to help is to provide humanitarian services when needed. For example for medical care, we need to provide everyone in our own country with medical care before we help give it to people of other countries. I am not saying we shouldn’t help poor countries, I just think we need to put the poor people in our own country first!

sarahborges said...

I agree with many of the people that have posted before me. I believe that wealthier countries have a moral responsibility to aid those that are less fortunate than they are, as we are all human. I feel that there is such an unequal distribution of wealth throughout the world, with some who have everything, and others that struggle to survive. The excess wealth the rich have acquired should be distributed throughout the world, especially in places of extreme poverty, such as Haiti. As the haitian phrase goes, as referenced in MOUNTAINS BEYOND MOUNTAINS, "Bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe". (God gives but does not share.) It is the resposibility of those who have the ability to help that should be aiding the poor. I feel that there are multiple ways that the wealth can be distributed, such as through education, rather than just monetary donations. Both, however, are essential for the poor to rid themselves of their dire situation, to thrive, and to be successful in their lives.

Rachel Flaherty said...

I think that wealthier nations do carry a moral responsibility to help out poorer countries. Although poor countries should not become their first priority, wealthy nations should be open-minded towards aiding less fortunate countries. Dr. Paul Farmer is a strong believer in wealthy nations sharing their resources with the less fortunate. On page 164, Dr. Paul's good friend Jim is speaking at a PIH All-Star weekend event. While speaking Jim states, "There are more billionaires today than ever before...We are talking about wealth that we've never seen before. And the only time that I hear talk of shrinking resources among people like us, among academics, is when we talk about things that have to do with poor people" Clearly in his speech Jim is trying to get the support of wealthy people to fund him and Dr.Paul Farmer's project to aid poor countries. Jim makes the point that wealthy people, especially Americans, have plenty of money to spare. Jim goes on to say, "Never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world. Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have". This quote by Margaret Mead perfectly captures the goal of Dr. Paul Farmer and his friends because although they all know their job is a long and tedious process they refuse to give up because they are determined to change the world.

DGleeson said...

In my opinion, I believe that individuals in wealthy nations must do all that they can in order to give aid where they can in poor countries. I believe that much of people’s success, or lack of, is based on luck of the draw. What I mean by this is that someone born in a privileged area of the world is more likely to be successful than someone who is born into poverty, simply because of the amount of obstacles they must overcome in order to achieve success.
Because of this, people in wealthy nations must do their part to try and limit the amount of obstacles people in poorer countries must overcome to be successful. Whether this means spreading awareness of people’s hardships, raising funds, or volunteering time and effort like Dokte Paul, it is a necessary objective everyone ought to share. As a former volunteer in Accra, Ghana, I can say that volunteerism on an international scale is something that is as rewarding as it is productive.
-David Gleeson

brenae thomas said...

in this book mooutains beyond mountains the narrator follows DR.Paul Farmer on his quest to heal the world. narrator first visits Haiti to report on american soilders and their job to keep the peace among the haitians. i think what the narrator and is doing is such a good thing to, if i had the money and time i would travel the world trying to find a cure for desieases like TB and Diabetes etc

Sarah Patterson said...

Even before reading this book, I believed that people from wealthier countries should help those in developing or less fortunate countries. Paul Farmer's story is beyond inspiring, though. His dedication to the global health effort forced me to question what in my life was truly necessary and what was frivolous. Hearing his insight on people who thought donating money was enough was interesting too. Personally, I donate some extra money every year to causes that really affect me or stick out in my mind. Paul Farmer's "you-can-never-do-enough" mentality definitely made me reconsider feeling like a martyr every time the Red Cross sends me a thank you card, though. Especially being so young and able, I feel that it's inexcusable to not put forth more effort to help these people. The book really touched me on a personal level and I hope others feel the same.

Kelsey Harsh said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains is such an inspirational book. It truly showed how just one person can change the world. With his perseverance and dedication to his work, Dr. Paul Farmer took on the responsibility of shaping one of the poorest countries in the world into a changed nation.

As for wealthier countries helping out poorer countries, it's a great start to changing the world. Wealthier countries can donate money and provide a better lifestyle. There would be no negativity coming out of the wealthy helping the poor. All it would do is better the lives of many people who aren't as fortunate as others.

A good way for them to start this process could be by opening a separate fund for the charity and donate money monthly to send straight over to the third world countries. It would be a simple process and benefit the world in big ways.

Brianna Carbonaro said...

Hi, my name is Brianna Carbonaro. I am an undeclared student here at URI. I do believe that more fortunate countries should help out the less fortunate such as Dr. Paul Farmer did with Haiti. If everyone acted a little more like Dr. Farmer and less selfish and privileged as a whole then maybe people will realize how well off they are and could try to make a difference. Being an arrogant student, before I read this book I thought that every country should be on their own. After reading this book I have realized that countries all over relay on others and need one another's assistance and help.

Farmer was a unique individual who had a heart of many men. He did not have to go to Haiti, work with no pay and spend all of his time with the people that were sick. He would wake up everyday and help them just for the greater good and only get satisfaction from it as a reward. Overall, I feel that if every human in the wealthier nations were to come together they could all help lessen the amount of poverty that some humans have to endure in rural countries. They could also lessen the rate of humans that die from diseases such as TB, where in America they are taken care of on a regular basis as a more fortunate nation.

Brianna Carbonaro said...

Hi, my name is Brianna Carbonaro. I am an undeclared student here at URI. I do believe that more fortunate countries should help out the less fortunate such as Dr. Paul Farmer did with Haiti. If everyone acted a little more like Dr. Farmer and less selfish and privileged as a whole then maybe people will realize how well off they are and could try to make a difference. Being an arrogant student, before I read this book I thought that every country should be on their own. After reading this book I have realized that countries all over relay on others and need one another's assistance and help.

Farmer was a unique individual who had a heart of many men. He did not have to go to Haiti, work with no pay and spend all of his time with the people that were sick. He would wake up everyday and help them just for the greater good and only get satisfaction from it as a reward. Overall, I feel that if every human in the wealthier nations were to come together they could all help lessen the amount of poverty that some humans have to endure in rural countries. They could also lessen the rate of humans that die from diseases such as TB, where in America they are taken care of on a regular basis as a more fortunate nation.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

My name is Shayla Minteer, and I am part of URI's Honors Colloquium this fall. I waited to write this blog until the end of my study abroad trip to Cervicusco, an OBGYN/ cervical cancer clinic in Peru. I have been here volunteering in their medical laboratory, getting to know the culture through tours, talking to the people in their language (Spanish), and by living in an impoverished area.

There are 3 major ways to help poor nations- monetary donations, donations of time on site, and building of humanitarian campaigns, which is a mesh of both of the latter. In any of these methods, one MUST commit to being a self starter, motivated to solving problems and using resources to do so. Otherwise, no solution will be reached.

Do I think that people of wealthier countries are obligated to help those of poor countries? Not necessarily. Though I do believe that service in poor countries is right and just and spawns a kindness, generosity, and cultural understanding that is nothing but contagious and impossible to recreate. Without spending time committing to service to the poor in other nations, every person remains ignorant of the struggles, the societies, and the cultures of impoverished areas. Of course, these aspects of each country are invariably intertwined, as so with medicine. As quoted by Virchow in Mountains Beyond Mountains, “Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing but medicine on a large scale" (61).

Even some volunteers in poor countries do not always understand the connection between medicine and culture, society, and politics. To accurately help people of a different country, volunteers must be sensitive of and knowledgeable about the nuances of the cultures that they are trying to assist. Therefore the best way to express or act on responsibilities to the poor is not to try and re-invent the wheel and to remember that the culture you are entering into is not ending when you leave and was not created when you began. As Dr. Farmer encounters Voodoo in Haiti, he realizes that, "A doctor who didn't understand local culture would probably mistake may patients' complaints for bizarre superstitions, or at best be utterly baffled" (83). Just as in Peru, an understanding of a mesh of Incan and Spanish culture is necessary to proper sensitivity to the intricate surroundings.

So to help humbly, and "silently," is to give more to a poor nation than to try to force personal or social values upon them. A mesh of societies is not a successful end to a humanitarian campaign from a wealthy to a poor society. For example, introducing advanced technology into an impoverished nation will only serve as landfill- a non-sustainable approach to humanitarian campaign will be ultimately detrimental.

As a final word, in controversy to other posts, we do have problems at home in the wealthy USA. That is not a question. However, we do not have garbage covered streets, packs of wild dogs, houses held up by tree branches, the majority of our doctors on strike for payment, water unfit for drinking, or a $300/day average salary. These are all things that I have witnessed in Peru. I have however not witnessed widespread unhappiness or unrest as their is in the USA- I have witnessed instead constant generosity of the Peruvian people.

Helping those in poorer countries will not only benefit ourselves personally but can slowly help to make our world, and our future, more beautiful. As Mother Theresa once said, "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop."

Shayla Minteer

Emily Tradd said...

Hey everyone. I want to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this book and it shed light on an issue that I was not terribly familiar with. Dr.Farmer's work is really selfless and inspiring. I would love to be able to do this type of work eventually and this book was a testament to why I want to do this type of work. In regards to the question, "do wealthy nations have an obligation to aid the less fortunate", I initially thought my answer was yes. I do believe that when possible, people should help those in need. I think what Farmer does is excellent and more people should follow his lead. When thinking about this on a larger scale it is a more complicated issue. For example, Germany has loaned Greece over $200 Billion dollars and it has not been used in an efficient manner. The hardest part about supporting a less fortunate nation is the fact that it may never be enough.

Sarah Appleton said...

Hi my name is Sarah Appleton and I am majoring in Animal Science. I have always been intrigued by people who spend time volunteering for the needy, and i also look for opportunities to help out in communities. Tony Kidders novel "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is an inspiring book and i felt I could relate to Dr. Farmer feelings about poverty very easily. I myself participated in a school funded humanitarian project, where 50 students and adults spent 2 weeks building a medical clinic for a small village in Peru. This trip was such a life changing experience and made me feel so good knowing that I helped a community in need. That feeling was what Dr. Farmer felt every time he saved a life or cured someones disease. He was such a dedicated man and spent his entire life helping others.

The real point that i got from this book is that no matter how hard you work or how many lives you save, there will never be a cure to disease. Farmer spent his entire life studying medicine and searching for a cure for TB and AIDS, and still after curing many patients and saving endless lives, he always finds someone still in need. Farmer pointed out in this book that poverty is the main reason why so many people are sick and diseased. I personally think that the only real way to make progress is by donating. Donating money to poor communities allows people to buy things they need in order to stay healthy. I think that Farmer was fighting a lost cause. He definitely made a huge difference in many communities, but there will always be someone else that has AIDS or TB. I dont personally think that wealthy nations have a definite responsibility towards poor nations, but I think that it is more of a choice that wealthier people make. I think that to some extent everyone should fend for themselves, but at the same time, helping others in need is a great thing and I think more people should do it.

overall I thought this book was interesting and a great way to inform people about the threats of disease in other countries. Farmer made a difference in the world, and to him that was enough.

Amy Hopkins said...

I believe that any individual has the responsibility to give help where it is needed. Whether the individual is from a wealthy nation or a poor country, I believe that it is necessary to attempt and hopefully succeed to better another person's life. Based on Mountains Beyond Mountains, Paul Farmer's way of life is extremely interesting to me. In chapter 8, Farmer was completely disgusted by a doctor who said that he would not be bothered at his home knowing that there are ill people in Haiti. It is sad to think that a doctor would feel that way, because he clearly has a better life than the poor people in Haiti and other countries. It is a relief and there is a comfort in knowing that there are doctors like Farmer that have the passion to do whatever they can to help. I believe that every bit counts, and any act of kindness can help to push the situation to a more positive level. I was extremely impressed with this book and the decisions that Farmer made. It is crazy to think about all of his accomplishments, and it may seem impossible to make that much of an impact on a large amount of people. I definatly agree that a contribution such as giving clothes to the less fortunate makes a huge differance in someone's life. Any action to better someone else's life is a great move towards positive change.

Neil Gentile said...

Mountain beyond mountains was a very thought provoking bookindeed. One main topic that stuck out to me was the lack of help that othercountries are receiving from countries that are more than capable of helpingout. I think that people like Farmer definitely need more help and support fromother people and companies. But I think that there is a point to as how muchhelp we should give. Countries have to prosper and grow as a nation and not behanded everything on a silver platter. What should be provided is what exactlywhat farmer was giving. He was giving the perfect amount of help but not toomuch for the citizens to keep asking for more and more. His focus on healthcareand his dedication towards his patients was second to none. The world needsmore people like farmer to help the underprivileged grow and become healthy asa nation in order to prosper.

Anonymous said...

This book was very inspirational and really forced me to think about problems that many poorer countries are dealing with. I also agree that the wealthier nations should be supporting the poorer nations that really need help.

Victoria Gasiorowski said...

In order for a nation to succeed, they must first be taught how to prosper on their own without foreign affair. Any wealthy nation can donate supplies or send troops over to a nation in poverty. However, there is a longer lasting impact on the nation, if the time is taken to teach the citizens and they are given the skills to grow. If never taught how to strive on their own, the nation will be forever dependent and situations will return to where once started if aid discontinues.
Dr. Farmer not only treated his patients but educated the population. He did this in hopes for a brighter future and a stronger community. Haiti needed to become educated about medicine and healthcare. They did not understand the importance of proper sanitation and taking care of one’s health. By educating the citizens, Dr. Farmer gave them more than temporary relief. He changed the nation drastically for the better.
Wealthy nations should set relief plans focused on schooling. Therefore, the nation will never be solely dependent on foreign support and hopefully one day support other nations.

sam gorton said...

People in wealthier nations certainly have a responsibility towards other people in poor countries and those less fortunate than themselves in their own countries. It is only right to help others who have little opportunity provided to them a step in the right direction. I believe that people with money to spare should be helping those in need. Those in high demand careers such as Paul Farmer are able to enroll in programs that will put them in hospitals in areas in need, this is especially good for doctors who unlike farmer are not able to devote their whole life to helping others. For the average person money can be donated to credible sources such as red cross, and habitat for humanity. Others might want to travel to the country to see the impact that their efforts have, both ways are very effective and I believe that people should try both and help often.
Sam Gorton

Andrew Descoteaux said...

Tracy Kidder's book was a really eye-opening one. In conclusion to finishing the book, the idea that I'm left with is that wealthier nations have a moral responsibility to help less fortunate countries as much as possible. It reminded me of a quote i once saw from a man named Tony Robbins. "Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more." Responsibility can be described as having a capacity for moral decisions and therefore accountable. Because we have more money and resources at hand, we are accountable to give some to people who are actually in need. In doing so, those other countries will begin to grow into healthier and more positive areas around the world. When they are finally grown, they can start to pay it forward.

Carly Ferias said...

Upon reading this book, for me it sparked many questions and made me think of different ideas and aspects between the wealthy and poorer nations. In my opinion, I feel it is the wealthier countries obligation to help out the poor in any way they can. When most people think of giving to the poor, they think donating money. But what they don’t realize is that they can be giving much more than that.
In the book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, Dr. Farmer showed that just by having, good attitude, dedication and leadership you could do much more than just donate to charity. Many people can just give money for a country in need, but the people who really make the biggest difference are the ones who devote their time to do something big like create a charity, go to the country, and lead other people in the help for improvement. In the book, Dr. Farmer’s dedication to Haiti is incredible. Living there for 8 months of the year to help these people in any way is amazing. Also, throughout the book he shows how far his great attitude gets him. So many people relied on Dr. Farmer and for him to always have such a good outlook about the hard situations, show how it helped his patients. Also, Dr. Farmer’s leadership skills are another way he contributes to the growth of Haiti. After hearing of a woman’s death due to TB while he was in Boston, he quickly puts together a medical system that would help his patients while he was not in the country. The way he organizes this system immediately not only shows his leadership but also his dedication, and his positive attitude of taking something tragic and doing something about it, so it can’t happen again.
Overall, Dr. Farmer not only helped me open my eyes to the ways of living in the middle east, but he also showed me all the different ways you can contribute your time to help the people in need.

Anonymous said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder is similar to Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and Oliver Relin as both books have a common theme. The pertinent novels are common in the sense that each novel’s protagonist exhibits the responsibility an individual in a wealthy nation should have towards people in a poor country. Additionally, the works of Kidder, Mortenson, and Relin best describe the way in which these responsibilities should be fulfilled. Dr. Paul Farmer, the protagonist of Mountains Beyond Mountains feels that he has a responsibility to cure the impoverished of Tuberculosis and Multiple Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. Three Cups of Tea’s hero – Greg Mortenson – believes that his obligation is to educate the girls of South West Asia. Since both men are eager to aid the poor, they demonstrate that citizens of wealthy nations should feel the need to assist the poor. Furthermore, Dr. Farmer and Mr. Mortenson best represent the method by which philanthropic work should be done – by actually getting “down and dirty!” Farmer represents getting “down and dirty” by cutting out inefficient bureaucracies such as the World Health Organization. Farmer eliminates waste by starting his own organization (Partners in Health) that focuses on helping the needy and not high salaries and excessive meetings that are infamous in large organizations. Identical to Famer, Mortenson best aids the impoverished by cutting out the middleman – Mortenson does so by getting the villagers to build the schools without the aid of senior Taliban officials (notorious for wasting funds just like bureaucrats). Citizens of wealthy nations should feel the responsibility to aid the impoverished and they should do so by bypassing wasteful middlemen and large, inefficient organizations.

--William A.

Robert Piispanen said...

Wealthier nations should not force themselves with the burden of aiding less prosperous nations. However that does not mean that poorer nations should reject aid from foreign nations. With help and aid from the more prosperous nations' private sector, the poor countries should grow. People who seek to help others in their lives should not refrain themselves from helping the needy living in squalor. They should embrace what they believe in and make the world a better place for everyone. These people vary from all different backgrounds from Paul Farmer, to Mr. White, to Mother Teresa. People will always have a desire to aid others because they enact on what they feel is right. They, like Paul Farmer can help change the lives of people all over the world. These peoples are the catalysts that allow underdeveloped nations to prosper and grow. When these countries can supply basic necessities and care to its citizens through the help of foreign aid, these countries can spend its funds and resources on its economy and etablishing itself as a prosperous nation. People can help change the world and when people have the initiative to help a country like Paul Farmer did, they can end up changing the world.

Sophie Harris said...

In many cases, a large percentage of people are unfortunately unaware of the detrimental state Haiti and other poor nations are in. By educating oneself, and hopefully enlightening others as well, it is possible to identify the problem, which is always the first step. While some will turn their backs on the devastation, others will be affected and will want to do more. Though not everyone will be able to dedicate their life to the cause, as Farmer so graciously and selfly did, merely acknowledging and supporting the cause will help spread the word. While a concept or cause may not spread as TB does, it is quite possible to inform others just as affectively. Everyone is responsible, some just choose to remain ignorant to a worthy situation.

Anonymous said...

Citizens in the more opulent societies of our nation should not feel obligated to lend support to struggling countries, but rather motivated to help those in need. If they have the power to make a difference they also have that responsibility. Dr. Paul Farmer drew emphasis to this concept and changed thousands of lives by doing so. Why should individuals have superfluous luxuries while there are people struggling just to stay alive? Places such as Cange should not have to stand stagnant, encompassing hospitals just to find a source of vitality. These generally frail human beings don’t have the ability to stand up to these governmental totalitarians. That is where the more fiscally dominant countries have to step in and help. The first step is educating the general public about the life threatening circumstances that these people have been dealt. The second step is actions because just talk will do nothing make a change. Capable organizations should at least be urged to send donations that will eventually build long-term infrastructure to developing nations. Make a difference by making that effort and change the lives of others to help sustain the human element.

-Conor Langille

Chris Watts said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains –
The Book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder was a very inspiring book that has influenced not only myself but also many readers. What makes the book so good is that it shows how one person can truly affect the lives of many others. If you read the book you can clearly see that Paul Farmer has dedicated his time to save the lives of people who are suffering from infectious diseases in Haiti. Imagine if we all tried to help out in ways like farmer. If everyone would just do something instead of nothing, than lives in other countries that are living in poverty would be able to live better lives.
It is our responsibility as a wealthy nation to help those in need. We are the ones with all of the money and great health care, while there are others in parts of the world that are living in poverty and need simple things to survive such as clean water, medicine, and food. One of the main concerns for a person living in poverty is finding affordable health care that people can actually trust when one is sick. That is why I believe that with some improvements in education and a little bit of help from others; that maybe one day these countries can live on their own. But in the mean time they need our help.

Octavius McGhee-Kelly said...

Mountain beyond mountains was a fantastic book. It was very inspired me in many ways, as well as, it gave me a more in-depth vision of less fortunate countries and their problems As I was reading prior post, I was thinking valid points were made about the responsibility of wealthier nations to poor nations. Dr. Paul Farmer was a strong believer in equality and his work in Haiti and other countries proved that he was a stronger believer in his beliefs. He never helped someone because they were poor/less fortunate, but he helped them because they were just like him. Even though they may not have had the resources like him to do what he did and to get medicine, but they were human. They eat, drink, and breathed no differently than Dr. Farmer. He showed me that doing the little things are the most important and helpful in situations. Therefore, the more fortunate countries should show care and affection towards the less fortunate countries. If they do not have hospitals and doctors, then they should take the time and provide them with their necessities. However, if only one country decides act upon it, things would not change. We need many countries to come together to make the world a better place. Anything is possible if you take it step by step and stay focused.

--Octavius McGhee-Kelly

Julianne Dulude said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains was a truly inspirational book. After spending time on a farm in Kentucky this past year, I got to experience shorthand what it was like for Dr. Farmer. It is so rewarding to give back to people that are not as fortunate as we are.This book reminded me how much one person's devotion can go a long way. Dr. Farmer was able to put aside his own desires in order to help out the less fortunate. His work in Haiti and other countries showed his passion for helping people and trying to make a difference in the world. Since we do not choose where we are born, it is our responsibility as a human being to use the resources we have to help other people/nations that are less fortunate.

Matthew Gardner said...

Hello Everyone,

I thought that this was a good book. It showed that even though you cannot win at every goal that you set out to complete. You can still give 110% of your effort to it and still accomplish something in the end. With that being said I think that the wealthier countries should try to help out the smaller and poorer countries. Such as Paul Farmer set out to do in Haiti, Peru, Siberia, and Russia. They don't have to go crazy and fix the problem 100% but they should at least put an effort into the problem.

Amanda DeCesare said...

I found Mountains Beyond Mountains to be extremely moving. It served as a reminder of how blessed I am to be living in America with the countless luxuries that we take for granted. We have so much while others, such as the Haitians, have so little. We are so used to having the best of everything that it becomes very easy to forget that people all around the world are suffering and have nothing. It is our responsibility to help those who are less fortunate. We can donate food and supplies that we know would greatly improve their lives. We have so much, therefore, it should be easy to give something to those who have nothing. Some can even donate their time and go to serve the Haitians (or citizens of other poor countries) just as Dr. Paul Farmer did. Hopefully, after reading this novel, we will all be more conscious of those who are less fortunate and do all that is in our power to help.

Amy Rumanowski said...

"What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?"

Reading the novel Mountains Beyond Mountains was an enlightening and refreshing experience. Understanding the inner struggles of the Haitians through the generous ways of Dr. Paul Farmer, other philanthropists and dedicated, passionate members of society like himself, was truely inspirational. This thought-provoking novel strikes up questions about the strength and commitment to sacrifice ones personal time and wealth for the good of those who are less fortunate.

In my opinion, people should be inspired by this story and want to aid others in need. I think that there is a basic moral drive in every human being to help those less fortunate and obligation to foster that emotion, as actions of men such as Dr. Farmer and Tom White are described in the novel.

This novel is an inspiring story about a man making a difference. I believe that to get into the action, a real, global difference can be made if each person contributes. Wanting to aid others oneself is the first step, telling ones story is the second step, finally inspiring others to act and getting a movement started is the final step; I believe with the story told of Dr. Farmer's journey in Moutains Beyond Mountains truely is a bright beginning to the achievement of a stronger global health community.

-Amy Rumanowski

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,
Even though I’m not a very strong reader and it took me a while to get through this book.. I really enjoyed the reading. It was an interesting pick and I’m glad I read it. I’m interested in medicine so reading about medicine in other countries was very cool. I think its awesome that Dr. Farmer led with such ambition and I think the people in this world that do so much for others are amazing. As well as Dr. Farmer I believe in equality and that everyone in this world has rights. Being a United States citizen, most of us are very wealthy and well off, where as other countries aren’t. Therefor we should do what we can to help the people around us whether it has to do with medical help, money, or even building homes for poor countries. All you need is one person with strong beliefs to help others. I think most schools in the U.S. should form a group to eventually go to another country and help as much as they can. Reading this book really opened my eyes on the idea of moving forward by educating ourselves and other people around us. I strongly agree with Dr. Farmer’s outlook on we are all human and you can help without getting anything in return. He is a true leader.

-Ashton G

Margo Derby said...

Hi fellow URI freshman!

After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I was genuinely moved by Paul Farmer's vision and devotion to helping the poor. Every single person who reads about his life story should be motivated in some way to follow his example. There needs to be more done to help the less fortunate, and I think that our government especially uses the excuse that we need to get OUR people back on their feet before we focus on other countries. However, I don't believe that their is enough being done to help our own citizens, and I don't think that this is unintentional. The government has a plan, and it's not to help our country's poor population. Jimi Hendrix once said "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.", and I truly believe that.

Lindsay Griffin said...

Individuals in wealthier nations have responsibilities when it comes to people in poor countries. Not only do the wealthier countries have financial responsibilities but also responsibilities pertaining to motivation and inspiring the less fortunate countries to better themselves. Financially, the wealthier countries can loan money to the poor countries which will then lead to the poor countries learning and gaining an understanding of handling money. Also, with money in possession they will have the ability to follow through with what it is they originally needed it for. I think that loaning money is the best way to express a sense of responsibility for the wealthier nations and teaching it and setting an example to the poor nations.

Stefani Terrazzano said...

Hi Everyone! I thought that this book was pretty inspiring as well. It's nice to hear about someone doing so much for some of the poorer countries in the world. After finishing the book, I felt that it was really strange that I've never even heard of Paul Farmer. In response to the question, I most definitely think that wealthier countries have a responsibility to aid those in need in poorer countries. I agree with what Shelby A. said about a "moral requirement." Even if it's just giving a small amount to a charity, individuals should take part in giving to the less fortunate. We have so many luxuries here in the U.S. that I am so fortunate to have. I hope that one day I can go to a poorer country and help people like Paul Farmer did!


-Stefani Terrazzano

Stefani Terrazzano said...

Hi Everyone! I thought that this book was pretty inspiring as well. It's nice to hear about someone doing so much for some of the poorer countries in the world. After finishing the book, I felt that it was really strange that I've never even heard of Paul Farmer. In response to the question, I most definitely think that wealthier countries have a responsibility to aid those in need in poorer countries. I agree with what Shelby A. said about a "moral requirement." Even if it's just giving a small amount to a charity, individuals should take part in giving to the less fortunate. We have so many luxuries here in the U.S. that I am so fortunate to have. I hope that one day I can go to a poorer country and help people like Paul Farmer did!


-Stefani Terrazzano

Janelle Gorman said...

After reading this inspirational biography of Doctor Paul Farmer I realized that governments of richer countries need to do more to assist the people who live in a country where Health Care is not acceptable. I think Farmers Dedication to Haiti and other third world countries should educate others that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many people. It is not a matter of countries being financially obligated to assist as much as it is a moral obligation. Basically countries who can financially help should, not because they have to but because they want to! Everyone should want to help these countries who do not have proper Health Care among many other issues because without our help things will never change. Farmer was a man who devoted his life to helping people because he wanted to make a change.

Matthew Morrill said...

Hello, i am Matthew Morrill.

Richer nations should do whatever is in their power to assist those who need help all around the world. Nations should stop thinking locally and start acting as one global race that thrives on improving itself, and the lives of the individuals within. Any attempt to improve ones nation must be to improve the livesof the least fortunate and not only to benefit the weathy and well off members of that nation. this is to avoid events such as the building of the dam in Haiti. This dam gave the Haitians a source of power they could use but it had cause local farmlands to become flooded and in the process took away their well being. No improvements should be made that severly damage the well beings of the surrounding area. On the contary, structural improvments should be made to take a step forward and elevate those who were not born into a weathy and secure nation such as ours. We can spare some money so children dont have to go to bed hungry or on dirt floors, it is what you would want if you were in their situation.

Anonymous said...

Hello! My name is Katie Lambert and I am a communicative disorders major here at URI. I definitely believe the world needs more people like Paul Farmer. I am so inspired when I read about or experience people who truly change lives. That is what I strive for.
When it comes to richer nations helping poorer nations, it should be obvious what richer nations should do. Richer nations have a financial AND moral obligation here. However just because a nation is rich does not mean there is no struggle in their own backyard. If there could be a way to balance out fulfilling the needs of the poor, sick and homeless in a rich nation and also contribute to the poor, sick and homeless in a poor nation, it would be the ideal world.
Paul Farmer was working toward an ideal world—a world that denied no one basic care if it could be helped. To think in terms of Foster’s book, “How to Read Literature like a Professor”, Farmer can really be considered a Christ figure. He struggled and sacrificed so much to help others. He never turned anyone away and truly loved all children as his own. He’d constantly education people with his knowledge if things few learned about in a life time. He walked among the people and went out of his way to check on his patients.
This ideal world that Paul Farmer was striving for is not an easy task for only one man. It needs not only national support but global support. We can all change the world for the better just by adhering to the simple template that Farmer created.

Keri Chernoff said...

Hey everyone!
Mountains Beyond Mountains was a very enjoyable read with a fantastic moral; which is obviously, to help the less fortunate countries in need. After all, we as a country help ourselves to resources in other countries (oil from the middle east), so how come we can't give back? Of course, there are the few individuals, such as Paul Farmer, who set a great example of selflessness. And if that one person can make all the difference (with the help of Partners In Health), why can't we as a whole nation?

Michael said...

After reading this book it was clear that wealthy countries have a responsibility to poor countries. They are not as well of as we are and they need our help to stay afloat. We are blessed to be part of a wealthy nation and we need to give back, its only fair. You are always supposed to help out the less fortunate. The best way to act on this is to get out there and actually do it. You can talk all you want, but talk doesn't help people, action does. We need to mobilize and come together to fix the problem. Words don't mean anything, its all about your actions.

Michael Stewart

Alyssa Menard said...

I believe that it is the responsibility of wealthier people and nations to aid poorer nations. Not only is it their responsibility, but those who come from wealthier means are morally obligated to help the poor. No one chooses to be poor and it is nearly impossible to break free from poverty. Therefore, the rich should do everything in their power to help the poor. Simply giving those who are poor money or food will not end poverty. Instead, they should go to the root of the problem and try to find the poor housing, or a job. This is similar to what Dr. Paul Farmer did for the sick in Haiti. He started a health center for the poor and dying in Haiti because they did not have or could afford the modern medication that can heal them. Dr. Farmer had the tools and knowledge to help save the poor in Haiti and knew that he had an obligation to help them when no one else would. He acted on that obligation and ultimately ended up saving countless lives because he acted selflessly.
There are numerous ways to act upon this responsibility. For example, someone can start a charity to help raise money for the poor, which can be used to buy food, housing, or medication. People can also volunteer their services to build houses for the poor or volunteering in hospitals.

Zac l said...

I think that as a wealthier country we do have some responsibility to aid other countries in certain situations. Under emergency situations such as the earth quack in Haiti, that it should be our jobs as human being to help them recover. If we as a country we to suffer a natural disaster I would hope that other countries would come to aid us in recovery as well. Money is not necessarily the answerer as well. The presence of people aiding the poorer countries can affect things greatly.

Having said that, I don’t think that we need do dive head first into other countries problems. There are enough problems with those who are under privilege in our own country that we need to fix to keep us occupied for a while.

Drew Lambert said...

This book was an inspirational book for me. I like the idea of how everybody should be treated equally, as in, how poor people should be able to get decent health care and have decent living conditions. I also believe countries like us who are better off should help countries in need. This book was dark and troubling at times but at the end i felt uplifted because of all the hope throughout the story as a whole.

Brandon Berube said...

This book was really informative about the living conditions and medical practices in other countries. I believe every person, not matter what their financial status is, deserves proper health care and treatment. Also, wealthier countries should take a more active role in helping less fortunate countries get the proper treatment and food and medical supplies needed. This book had both enlightening and depressing moments but did a great job at revealing the conditions and lifestyles of poorer and less fortunate countries.

Brandon Berube

Dejanique A said...

Before reading Tracy Kidder's, "Mountains Beyond Mountains", I always felt as though, that people from wealthier countries should help those in less fortunate countries. However, after reading this book I was very inspired and made me feel more strongly about wealthier countries helping the less fortunate. I feel like the weather nations should assist poorer nations with regard to economic, medical, and political needs, but it should not be an obligation to do so. I feel as though yes these nations are in desperate need of help but it i primarily that nations fault for being in such need. I think that poor nations should try their hardest to come up on their own and if they truely cant then to ask for help. It is never up to the wealthier nations to pick up the pieces of the falling nations that are less fortunate than them. I am in no way trying to say that wealthy nations should completely ignore the problems in poorer nations, but it should not be up to the few wealthy nations to resolve the issues of the many less fortunate nations, although they should feel morally obligated to do so.
We are lucky to have people like Dr. Paul Farmer in this world, who actually take an inerest in helping other nations and is truely passionate about it. I also plan to be in the medical field and if I can help in any way with other nations I will. It is sad to see little kids and even adults having to suffer from their naations lack of ability to supoort everyone. If everyone would just pitch in a little something to help the less fortunate we could continue to make an effort for the world to be a better place.

Megan Sanfacon said...

I believe that actions speak louder than words. People from wealthier countries talk a lot about helping countries less fortunate, but I don’t see much action to help fix their poverty. Sure, there are fundraisers here and there or some companies give some proceeds to help starving children. I think that more people need to take a step out of their realm and open their eyes to other countries and cultures. People need to see the harsh truth of other countries poverty and living style. More people need to understand what is going on outside of their own country. If more people understood they would realize that donating a few cents here and there isn’t going to fix the huge poverty In the less fortunate countries. If more people in the wealthier countries came together to help others I think progress would be made. But unfortunately the sad truth is I don’t see that happening. People are too wrapped up in their everyday life in their own country and don’t even give a thought about others who suffer in outside countries. Obviously not everyone needs to be devoted as Dr. Farmer, but if more people put in some type of effort I think great things would happen.

yazminalverdi said...

Reading Mountains beyond Mountains Changed my point of view. I admired Farmer because of his generosity and wisdom. I strongly believe its important to educate yourself after that you can do whatever you want with it. Since the day I realized wanted to work for the police department i knew i wanted to help people and make my contribution to the world.

Anonymous said...

After reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains", I can't say I was totally impressed. It appears it completely adverted the question "why is Haiti so poor?". There are multiple factors, such as: a slave-labor system during the early republic, the French debt of 1838, a boycott of Haitian goods, the influence of the United States government funding oppressive regimes, and not to mention a central bank. It seems as though Doctor Farmer was naive enough to think that he could cure the third world of its numerous diseases. If the system responsible for these health problems is corrupted to the core, no amount of effort from the exterior can change that. In regards to the question of what type of responsibility wealthier nations have for poorer nations; there is no responsibility. Assuming this question is referring to the societies and not the states (two totally different ideas), it is completely a personal issue. You are free to lend yourself to any other person for any reason, but no one can force you to. You have a responsibility for yourself, and any other responsibility you take on is a voluntary choice. As the wise Frank Zappa once said "The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else's life." If the Haitian government and the U.S. government were to simply stay out of economic and social affairs in Haiti, it wouldn't exist as a third world country, just like every other that exists for the same reason. I will once again reiterate that wealthier societies have no responsibility for poorer societies whatsoever, and that this very idea stems from the results of similar ideas applied in the past.

Sarah Visintainer said...

I think that people in wealthier nations have the responsibility to aid those in poorer nations and I think that Doctor Farmer was an example of someone who went above and beyond this responsibility. Also I think that the level of responsibility is different for different people. Not everyone can dedicate as much time and effort into helping the poor as Farmer did, but it is important that you do help, in whatever way is fitting for your current situation.

Overall I thought this book was very interesting and inspirational because as a pharmacy major, I have the potential to be able to do something similar to Farmer one day and I hope that I can have the same positive impact on people in the future as he did.

Grant Simmons said...

I believe that the wealthier nations and the individuals that live in them have a moral responsibility to take care of the poor people in their own country first then, once that problem is solved to move on to other countries. Once the poorer people are no longer poor they could go to other countries and help them move up economically and socially, away from the bottom of the "ladder". However, this is a flawed idea because of people who manipulate and abuse the system. This is where people like Dr. Farmer come in and establish an example for the rest of the nation to follow, no matter how small it may be. When he took a few Haitian students and sent them to Cuba to become doctors because of the programs offered there and the quality of those programs. This is what would work because they are coming back with a wealth of knowledge and have a higher chance of curing people and solving medical issues in their own country, assuming they have a great sense of nationalism and want to help the people of their nation.

Jeff O said...

I feel as though that wealthier nations should be doing all they can to help out the poor ones. My comment is probably going to seem like everyone else's response but its true. Helping poor nations get food and water is a number one priority. Although, i feel like some wealthy nations just dont care. Mr. Kidder did anything he could to help the countries that needed it. Even though he kind of failed, he still did things many people wouldn't.


I think some countries should be ashamed if they're not helping. If they were poor they would want help too. This summer i did a 30 hour famine and collected food cans for the poor. As tough as it was i managed to pull through. It was a great experience!

Patrick Lyons said...

I wouldn't say people in wealthier nations have responsibilities towards people in poorer countries, but more of a moral obligation. This does not mean that people in wealthier nations are doing wrong by not donating their money or time to helping poverty-stricken nations, because as we all know, the vast majority people don't. What it does mean is that people can choose whether or not they want, or can help these people. With that being said, I do not believe that people in wealthier nations have any responsibilities towards people in poorer countries, although the moral thing to do is help. Some people simply do not have the time, money, or resources to help, and therefore cannot be told they have a responsibility to help poor nations, because if they only have enough to provide for themselves, they cannot be asked to provide for others.

The best way to act on this "moral obligation" for the average person would be to donate money. America, being one of the wealthier countries in the world, is a busy place, and so are it's people. Most Americans don't have time to go to the extent that Farmer did, basically living in a place of need instead of his home.

sarah frechette said...

Hi everyone ! I thought this book was really interesting and I really enjoyed reading it. After reading this book i came to the conclusion that the wealthier nations have to stop worrying so much about themselves, and more about the nations that are in need of help. I think it is important that people that are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help people they should take advantage of it. I do not think the wealthier nations should HAVE to help the less fortunate nations, but they should want to and they should feel the need to help them. -- sarah frechette

Colin Petschek said...

I don't think that people have an obligation to help people in poorer countries, however I do believe that it is morally the right thing to do. People who have been blessed with enough to not only be able to take care of themselves and their families, but also are well off enough to have the ability to help less fortunate people, morally should try to help other, less fortunate people in some way or another. While the bar that Paul Farmer set, not only donating money, but dedicating his life to the cause of helping less fortunate people can help to a lesser extreme. Small donations, as well as a little bit of time help spending people, would do wonders for people in less fortunate countries, and one of the other, or both is the best way to express this sense of responsibility to the world we all live in.

Colin Capparelle said...

I just have to say how amazing I think Dr. Paul Farmer is for dedicating his entire life to bettering others. It really made me feel like traveling somewhere to help others. I have a friend who goes down to New Orleans every summer to help rebuild houses and I've always looked up to him for that. So, after reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" I did some thinking. Not that its bad, but instead of doing little things like giving homeless people a dollar here and there, or volunteering at a soup kitchen, I would love to start getting into traveling outside of he US to help out in other foreign areas.

Jessi Minneci said...

Throughout "Mountains Beyond Mountains" I was moved by Kidder's accounts of Dr. Paul Farmer's determination to provide health care equally to all, despite their financial standings. His true passion for his work and care for his clients was heart-warming and wholesome. It is truly astounding how he dedicated his life and work to helping those most truly in need. The account itself was a wonderful experience and makes you ponder all of the individuals in need and how you can become a part of something that betters your town, your nation, or even your whole world. I was pleased with the common reading selection and I look forward to hearing Kidder's presentation this evening!

Rebekah Picard said...

I was moved by Kidder's candid portrayal of Farmer's sheer commitment to helping the poor, no matter what the personal cost. Farmer shows just how big a difference one person can make. I hope to one day be in a field as good for me as Farmer's is for him. This book makes me want to go out there and volunteer, to help someone, anyone. I enjoyed reading this book and hope others did as well.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Chris Vignola and I am currently a Geology major. After reading the novel, I had many thoughts regarding Dr. Paul Farmer's actions. I think that what Paul Farmer did was a lost effort. Do not get me wrong, what he has been doing to help people in countries that need aid is absolutely amazing. I find it fascinating how many lives he has saved or at least tried to save but in the end, his group needs more resources. Without more resources, most countries will not bother helping needy people in other nations. Because of this, I think that the U.S. should definitely help with Paul's organization. Also, I think the U.S. should send aid to other countries that need it. America is the leading superpower in the world and should divert some resources to these nations (even a minuscule amount of resources). However, I do think we should take care of some of our own problems first though, but that is besides the point. As a citizen of this great nation, I think that it is necessary to help somehow; whether it be donating money or actually going to directly help those in need. However, I do not see it as an obligation though. Everyone has a different opinion as well as different motives so some people will feel that they have no duty to help those less fortunate, and he or she is entitled to his or her own opinion. In conclusion to this comment, I will say that our country should be doing a little more to help out the countries in need.

Michael Segala said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”

Personally I believe that individuals in wealthier nations have no responsibilities for people in poorer countries. But at the same time it is the morally right thing to help people in poorer conditions, it just isn't a necessary responsibility. Everyone is entitled to do what ever they want with their money for they earned it themselves. It would be nice and generous to donate your time or money to the poor of course. There are many problems in America today. Some people in this rich country live in poverty and a small amount even have difficulty finding food to survive on. I feel as if major issues like that should be dealt with first before we give billions to other countries.
-Michael Segala

Paige H. said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”

I believe that as an individual in a wealthier nation with access to health advantages and knowledge, it is our responsibility to use our resources to help others. Getting involved and promoting health care and support for poorer countries is a benefit to our sense of national stability. Needless to say, we have many members of the United States that face poverty and illness on a daily basis. I believe that along with the responsibility we have to help these countries in need, as Farmer did, we also have a responsibility to express concern for the people surrounding us as well.

Kayla D said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”

I believe that it's our responsibility to educated poor nations on technology and advancements that can help them succeed and prosper. It would also help to share medical information and supplies such as Dr. Farmer did. It would be morally right for wealthy nations to send charity workers, money and troops
over to give them a head start and organize their new government.

Ally M said...

I believe that wealthier countries have a sort of duty to use their reasources and their knowledge to help, but not completley take charge of a less wealthy country. If a wealthier country did take charge, it would not only never give the less wealthy country an opportunity to be independent, but it might also cause a great deal of responsibility a wealthy country may not be able to handle if for some reason they become less wealthy as well. I believe that it is very important for a wealthy country to take care of themselves first, and then show and give support to the less wealthy countries. By sending some troops and charity workers, this would be just enough support to help, but not become completley responsible for a less wealthy country.

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matee.gooknuh said...

Hello Everyone,
Before reading Mountains Beyond Mountains I was a little hesitant towards the book, but as I started reading the book, I realize that the book was very interesting. Dr. Paul Farmer is a true hero especially towards the less fortunate. He dedicated his life for people he wasn't related to. Like many doctors who are dedicated to their career, Dr. Paul Framer is an example of an incredible healer. He sacrificed his career and his family just to help save fellow Haitians who were desperately in need of being cure from life threatens diseases. Reading the book has influenced me to follow Dr. Farmer hard motivation and passion to care for others who are in need. I want to be able to go to foreign countries and help improve their homes because unlike them, I am more fortunate since I live in a great country that provides good health, food, and clean water for their citizens, it will be rewarding for me to help out foreign countries. Growing up, I always wanted to volunteer in a third world country and help build schools, homes and clinics for them but I just never knew where to start from until now. Dr. Paul Farmer is a wonderful individual that have influence me tremendously and i am glad that I have read this book because I was able to learn from his wonderful work that.

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Amanda C. said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”

I believe that it is the moral responsibility of wealthier countries to provide help to poor countries. As a citizen of the wealthiest country on the planet, I see people on a daily basis taking advantage of opportunities that are handed to us that are impossible dreams for citizens in poor countries. Although, the U.S. has it's great deal of people living in poverty and with diseases we must help the people who actually value the help that is given to them. Helping out needy countries is an act that can help improve the world as a whole. We must build the foundation to success in these countries that will let them become independent and their grow into their own country. Quality donations, such as, clothing, food and habitats to these countries will express our moral responsibility. In addition, to taking advantage and valuing our own opportunities.

Tom Pelletier said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”
I believe that each individual has a responsibility to provide food, housing and medicine to the poor. I don’t feel that the world is entitled to economic equality, but is entitled to social equality meaning things like housing, food and medicine. As a country that lives with economic excess, it is in everyone’s best interest that we devote that excess to helping provide these things. Countries like this need our help and we have the means to provide that help, yet we turn a blind eye. It’s time we change. We need to provide help now.

Aaron Libman said...

Hello fellow bloggers,

Personally, I think that it is vital to understand the wealth and health of other nations. As the worlds largest economy, we set an example of what other countries are striving for. Being the worlds largest economy, we also give out the most foreign aid of any country. Giving money to underdeveloped countries is a duty that we should have and take full advantage of. The worlds condition is only as strong as its weakest countries.

ciacono said...

I found Mountains beyond Mountains very interesting but at the same time I found it very idealistic rather than realistic. In a perfect world everyone would have insured healthcare and no one would need to worry about being denied treatment because they cannot afford it. This perspective is very unrealistic in the fact that someone has to pay for others care weather it be wealthier nations or wealthier citizens. The medical crises occurring across the globe reflect our current healthcare debate in the USA. Many people argue that the government should pay for every citizen's healthcare as it is a right. This is paid for through either higher taxes for everyone or elevated taxes solely for the wealthy. Essentially the government is giving healthcare to everyone while taking out of a select fews pockets. While I do agree with the idea of healthcare reform I do not believe universal healthcare is the absolute answer nor do I believe it is a wealthier nation's responsibility to finance a poverty stricken nation's healthcare as the book and many others on this blog suggest. Many people haven't realized that our nation is 16 trillion dollars in debt and that by no means are we a wealthy nation or capable of paying for Haiti's (or another nation's) healthcare. I believe that private non-profit organizations have the opportunity to assist in such situations and that it is not the responsibility of another country's people to finance healthcare. And for those who think that other nations should finance Haiti's or another countries healthcare I encourage you to open up your bank account and send as much money as you want to Haiti's government or a non profit organization assisting in paying for their medical expenses.

Emily Z said...

“What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”

In response to this question, I personally feel that it is a responsibility of wealthier countries to assist the poor. However, not in the way that many feel it is our duty to provide for them. “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime." I believe that this quote is relevant because in order for a country in poverty country to thrive, we must provide tools to promote self preservation. Otherwise, what change would truly be made? In the long run, the people would still be poor and helpless. Paul Farmer made such an impact on the poor because he provided Haiti with the resources they needed to cure their people, along with a little help from American doctors. We could all learn something from Doctor Farmer's works.
Altogether I did enjoy this novel and I found Tracy Kidder's visit to URI to be very powerful. Farmer's life works are certainly something worth sharing and I think that Kidder portrayed the story in a truly moving way.

Jenna Kaplan said...

Though the book did take me awhile to read, at the end I really did enjoy it. The book had many messages, one of my most favorite being to not forget about the forgotten, which this book portrays through telling the story of Paul Farmer. Being one of the more privileged countries, I feel that we should not forget about those who are struggling. We have the resources to help them out, so why shouldn't we? Wouldn't we want the same if the roles were reversed? Actions speak louder than words, and the actions of Mr. Farmer show the truest form of unselfishness that there is in this world. This book showed me that no matter who you are in life, if you have a strong enough desire to do something, you can. It only takes one person to make a difference.

Kevin Thomas Burke said...

Provost Donald DeHayes asks, “What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?”
Very simply, I think individuals in wealthier nations should use their wealth and resources to make life better for those living in less fortunate countries. These people are lucky to be living in wealthy places, and should strive to help other countries achieve the same standard of living. Paul Farmer is a great example of someone who uses their good fortune to help the poor of other countries such as Haiti and Peru. He used not only the money and medicine available to him to help the poor; he went out and helped them himself. Dr. Farmer took the work and the responsibility on himself, unlike so many wealthy Americans who just throw money at a problem to make it go away. He took their problems to his heart and made these people’s health a personal priority for him. For people who seek to do good, one could not find a better model than Dr. Farmer.

Alexa Ferreira said...

Hello everyone,

Reading this book reminded me of how much I take for granted in my everyday life. As a college student right now I am so fortunate to have the means of being here. All of my life I have always had a mother that nurtured and cared for me, food on my table, and a roof over my head. I went to school each day with clean clothes and came home to a warm place. Most of the time i fail to think about the children who never had these advantages. I like many others are blinded by the fact that basic things to us are luxuries to others in different countries. I feel as though in this day and age it is a shame to have such poverty that children die because they are too poor for medicine or even food for that matter. We live in a world where technology is booming and the wealthy are always getting wealthier. It is our moral obligation as one of the wealthier countries to give back and aid in these countries such as Haiti where people die each day. Is it right for celebrities to have 6 houses and 10 cars while these people in Haiti do not even have a piece of bread to feed their children? Paul Farmer is an amazing and inspiring person and really got me to think about what I can do to help these people. If only these wealthy people and countries all had the same passion and mindset to help these unfortunate people, then this world would be a better place. We as a nation need to get together and take greater measures to take these people out of poverty and provide for them the basic essentials of life. I hope that one day I too can make a difference in the life of others just like Paul Farmer did.

david friedman said...

Hello everyone!

I know most of you on the Facebook page were like, this book sucks, this assignment is bullshit, I haven even looked at the book yet. I would just like to let you know that you missed out. This book was incredibly inspiration to read.

This man dedicated his life to helping others in need. Dr. Farmer could have lived in a beautiful home in the suburbs of Boston, have a beautifully rich life, with ferraris and a mansion. But Dr.Farmer chose a path that he could only accept. He couldn't sleep at night if he thought he wasn't helping people. A man like that is incredibly interesting to read about. The way he relates to his patient and the way he treats them is simply remarkable.

I truly hope those of you who didn't read the book, do read it eventually. It will be well worth it.

- David Friedman

Ashleigh Iafrate said...

I think that individuals in wealthier nations should help people in poor countries to their full ability. There are so many greedy people in the world today that just worry about themselves. They don't think about people that are less fortunate than them which is a shame, because they spend their money on materialistic things when they can be helping people in poor areas. In Mountains Beyond Mountains Dr. Farmer portrays a person that everyone should take after. He helped as many people as he could and worked long hours from morning to night and almost never took a break. As for the children that he helped, he treated them as if they were his own. He treated everyone with equal dignity and never helped someone more than another. Needless to say he should be an inspiration to everyone and people should try to be just like him

KaitlynHayes22 said...

After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains I have realized that when it comes to wealthy nations and poor nations it isn't really about the responsibility but simply what is right and what is wrong.

We shouldn't look at charity as something that has to be done, something that is a burden put on us because we are the privileged ones but instead that instead is the right thing to do. We have the resources and money to help so it is only right that we do. We shouldn't even give a second thought to lending a helping hand to the people in need.

With this being said I think we should help the underprivileged in anyway that we can, within reason. Of course wealthy countries have their own problems that they have to take care of but we must take into the far more severe problems that other countries have. Not to mention that in wealthy countries there are millionaires and billionaires that use their money on frivolous things rather than using their money for a better purpose and giving it to people that really need help. In my opinion we really need more people like Tom White in the world. Not many people can dedicate themselves like Paul Farmer can but many people can give their excess money like Tom White did.

Anne said...

Hi my names Anne. I agree with the post below me. Every individual in a wealthier nation does, and should, have the responsibility to help the poor. Farmer took on a great responsibility which many would not help or accompany him. If others in our world participated in the act of helping others, what Farmer went through probably wouldn't have been so harsh. One man was taking on the work of many, and he never gave up. Not only was he taking the work of many people at his hospital, he went above and beyond what he needed to do by checking on his patients outside of the hospital. A little help from a lot of people can really make a difference. People who donate money should take a little time out of their schedule to visit and maybe help out at the hospital for a week. Those that can't donate money should donate time. Anything can help change these peoples lives, and it all is starting with the remarkable work of Farmer.

Isabel Maina said...

"Mountains Beyond Mountains" by Tracy Kidder is an inspiring story. From what I learned about Haiti and other poor cities and countries in the book, I believe that wealthy nations have an obligation to help the poor. In wealthy nations like the USA, we take things for granted. We have healthcare; clean, running water; houses in any shape or size with wood floors and carpets. We need to help those who need aid, but not just when disaster strikes, like the earthquake in Haiti. Disaster happens every day, so we should be helping, earthquake or no earthquake. Any kind of charity or program that collects donations or an organization that asks for volunteers is a good way to help. In this day and age, no one should live in the conditions the poor people of Haiti live in. They deserve--they have a right--to have healthcare, clean water, homes that shelter them properly, a way to support their families, and a healthy way of living. Whether someone helps by donating or volunteering, every person should dedicate themselves in some way, shape, or form. Nations like the USA are lucky because everyone has healthcare, we have hospitals with amazing doctors (my aunt is one of them) and technology. We can cure people where in Haiti and other poor countries, there are sicknesses that cannot be cured in that kind of environment. Like Tracy Kidder said at his lecture last night, "Healthcare is a right, not a privilage."

Gabriela Gil said...

Tracy Kidder's book " Mountains Beyond Mountains" is really an eye opener on what poorer countries have to face in their everyday lives, things that we couldn't even imagine thanks to country we live in, which could be one of the most advanced countries in the world, but to the people in poverty, like the ones in Haiti, view it as just another normal day. I believe that richer and more advanced countries have an obligation not only to those living in poverty but to themselves as fellow human beings to help underprivileged people in the most important things needed: like in Kidder's book food and medicine(but not limited to these things). I believe that if God has allowed for you to be successful than why not share that wealth with your fellow human being, especially those that need it the most; just like Tom White. The way that we can get involved in making the situation in impoverished countries better is to just simply involve ourselves in day to day charities that give back to underprivileged people and teach people about what is going on around them, just like Kidder did when he wrote his book.

jessica_garvey said...

Tracey Kidder’s presentation at the University of Rhode Island was both entertaining and motivational. Tracey Kidder spent the last few years of his life in Haiti shadowing a Doctor named Paul Farmer. Paul Farmer was a man dedicated to helping those diagnosed with AIDS, Tuberculosis, and various other diseases in Haiti. However, that was only one of many of Mr. Farmer’s accomplishments. He attended Duke University on a full scholarship and continued to receive his medical degree from Harvard. Although he was still in school, Farmer spent most of his time in Haiti witnessing first hand the country’s poverty and devastation. Due to this experience, Farmer along with the financial help of Tom White created the business “Partners in Health” which gave medicinal help to over 1.3 million Haitians.
During Tracey Kidder’s presentation he told the audience that when speaking to Farmer’s mother about having no couch potatoes in her family, she replied “no couch.” This shows that Farmer was not brought up in a wealthy childhood. He knows what it is like to live in poverty and can therefore sympathize with his Haitian patients. It also shows Famer’s determination to do whatever he can with whatever he has. Farmer was a selfless man who used his small personal assets to help those with nothing.
The most powerful part of the presentation was viewing the pictures of the young boys Alcante and Joseph. Alcante was an 11-year-old boy dying from malnutrition and Tuberculosis. However, after treatment from Farmer, Alcante went on to live a normal happy life. Joseph, like Alcante, was diagnosed with Tuberculosis but was also diagnosed with AIDS. With Farmer’s help, Joseph was treated, not cured, but still went on to live a normal life. This was the most powerful part of the presentation because it allowed the audience to see for themselves the difference that Paul Farmer was making in Haiti. It showed that Farmer’s medical treatment saved two boys so close to death and allowed them to keep living.
Kidder concluded the presentation by saying that Haiti brought out the best in Farmer because Haiti’s extreme suffering brought out Farmer’s extreme passion. He believed that it was difficult to come home to the luxuries and privileges of the United States after witnessing such poverty in Haiti. Kidder also encouraged the audience not to “forget about the forgotten” and to do something to help those in need. Kidder’s slideshow and presentation was intended to motivate the audience to donate or to go out and make a difference by helping the less fortunate. Through the work of Paul Farmer, Kidder showed that all it takes is the will of one person to initiate a change and better the lives of millions.

Kathryn Platek said...

I would just like to add that I found the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains" to be really moving and thought provoking. It very clearly expressed the differences in our culture compared to that of poverty stricken Hatti. As we all know we have everything we need and I feel that more often than not we take our blessings for granted. People in Hatti and other countries like Hatti struggle for things as basic as water or medicine. I also feel it is very difficult for the wealthy countries to provide aid to these poor countries because they are very absorbed in politics rather than social injustices. I feel that this is a problem which is not easily solved due to our human nature. When we see things that are not right, most of the time apathy sets in and we forget that these issues even exist. I feel that the only way to change this is fully expose yourself to the problem. We read about wars that go on in other countries but we still sleep fine at night despite the fact that people are dying. I believe what Paul Farmer did was extremely commendable and admirable. He did everything he could for these people which is something we should all try to do even within our own communities. He was fortunate enough to have become a doctor and was able to supply medical aid and money donations. Depending on an individuals personal resources, they should make some effort to aid those who are less fortunate. Whether that be donating time, money, supplies like Dr. Farmer or simply going and volunteering at your local food shelter or soup kitchen, every little bit helps. I also agree with that complete understanding is the first step in figuring out a way to find a solution. It make take time to solve this issue, but I believe it can be done.

michelle katz said...

hi guys!

i think its our responsibility to be educated about these third world countries and become less susceptible to being ignorant about the tragedies that are happening. even though they are not directly affecting the US does not mean it isn't hurting our world that we live in. But i do not believe in going to another country and doing what "we think is best" and ruining their culture and environment, which we have previously done in the past to Haiti. We can use our knowledge and wealth to help these very poor people in the least invasive way possible. i think that this book is a perfect example of helping people in the best way by living, breathing their culture and by finally understanding these people he could help them in every way he could and the people there respected him almost as a god.

Matthew Vieira said...

"Mountains Beyond Mountains" was a very good book. As I was reading it got me to thinking about how other countries around the world do not have the same privileges as we do in America. This book can help many people to start thinking about getting involved in charity work that helps destitute countries like Haiti. If there were more people in the world like Paul Farmer then Haiti could be well on its way to becoming a more wealthier nation. As Tracy Kidder said in his speech "In order to see any change in Haiti, then wealthier nations must work one on one with Haitians to show them the way to prosperity." I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I also believe that the wealthier nations should help and give back to the poorer nations in the world because when those poorer nations do become more prosperous then they can help to boost the overall world economy.

Anonymous said...

I think from reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" we can gain insight into the quality of life that has been accepted in Haiti. As stated in Kidder's book, "Resources are always limited." Imagine if we were unable to have a bed to sleep on or a roof above our heads. Regardless of what situation our country is in, we are lucky to be able to have resources at our disposable. We do not have to travel to get fresh water, it is delivered to us. I guess what Kidder is trying to convey to us as the reader, is that we are lucky to be able to get the resources we need when we need them and also lucky to have the quality of life that we do have. Whether those resources are medical or basic everyday resources. We believe this doesn't affect us directly, but it does. Paul Farmer was able to realize that the people of Haiti deserve the resources we are lucky enough to have that better our quality of life. If everyone was as motivated and dedicated to bettering the well being of all third world countries suffering like Haiti, perhaps if we had more Paul Farmer's, the world could be a better place. Maybe we, as a country or as individuals, could try to better the quality of life of the Haitians and provide them with the resources they need and deserve. In conclusion, in context when Kidder states "Resources are always limited," he is trying to open our eyes to understanding how lucky we are and how unlucky the Haitians are.

Darlenys Polanco said...

This was a very interesting book. The Perseverance Paul Former had in it been amazing. Paul Former wanted his dreams to come true not only for himself but also for all the people out in the world that has infectious diseases. This book really represents the saying “Things are never going to be easy but will be worth it.” It represents this saying because Paul Former knew it was going to be a difficult thing to do but he had the faith in to accomplish his goal even when it seemed difficult. Very inspiring book for us college students.

Chuckie McCarthy said...

This book truly opened my eyes to the fact that one person can make such an enormous difference in the world. Paul farmer dedicated his life to his work of helping others and trying to cure a plague mankind has suffered from for thousands of years. I personally believe that fortunate human beings who live comfortably in first world countries hold a responsibility to those who are so much less fortunate by no doing of their. The American People above all, must shoulder the brunt of this vitally important responsibility because we are the most fortunate society and these innocent people form impoverished countries do not deserve to suffer as horribly as they do. I also believe the nest way to act on this sense of responsibility is to help in whatever ways we can. Everyone can help. We could either send money, food, clean water, medicines, or almost anything useful that these people do not have. Doctors should be sent to these countries to help treat all of these people. Schools and public recreation centers should be built. Honestly, the point I am trying to get across is that we hold the responsibility to help these less fortune people in whatever possible way that we can.

Neda S. said...

Neda S.,
believes that wanting to make a difference and change one's life for the better comes from deep down. Can the wealthier nation donate money? Yes, they can but that's not the only way people can help. Learning and understanding about the issues in poorer nations and making people aware of it is a start. Then hopefully volunteering your time will be next. There are people out there who deserve better but are unable to stand up and have a voice. That being said if we were in that situation what would you want others to do to help?

Ana Duque said...

In the moments before I sat down and listened to Dr. Tracy Kidder speak via simulcast, I noticed the calming of the audience's manner. I realized that this man truly had the presence that was noticeable in the style of his writing. If this man can control an auditorium, control a reader, control an audience, what can't Kidder do? Paul Farmer's story was skillfully told by Kidder on paper, and my university was given the privilege to have Tracy Kidder re-tell his story. Had I been given the honor to be in Kidder's position and experience first hand working with a man like Farmer, I would see primarily how an individual with a heart as large as Farmer's can live every day life, whether on the field or on the plane ride there. Kidder's interpretation of Farmer made it seem like he is a genuine person no matter what the circumstances. Mountains Beyond Mountains and Kidder's speech are moving in more ways than one. I can only hope to accomplish what these two individuals have done in their lives. However, the future is bright, and learning Paul Farmer's story has set me in the right direction.

Molly Gallagher said...

This book was truly inspiring for me. I have now come to the realization that it is my true pasion to got o Haiti and help the people ther. My uncle has been traveling there and helping out for this past 30 yars, and it took me this long to realize that this is something I must do. I appreciate what I have, so much more, since i have read this book, and I feel that it is my duty as a privelaged citizen of the world, tocontribute to less fortunate countries and communities. If every privelaged person in the world could find it in their hearts to donate time or money to a cause like Zanmi Lasante, there would be no way that there could ever be a shortage in supplies.

Molly Gallagher said...

This book was truly inspiring for me. I have now come to the realization that it is my true pasion to got o Haiti and help the people ther. My uncle has been traveling there and helping out for this past 30 yars, and it took me this long to realize that this is something I must do. I appreciate what I have, so much more, since i have read this book, and I feel that it is my duty as a privelaged citizen of the world, tocontribute to less fortunate countries and communities. If every privelaged person in the world could find it in their hearts to donate time or money to a cause like Zanmi Lasante, there would be no way that there could ever be a shortage in supplies.

Anonymous said...

I believe that individual’s that live in wealthier nations have some obligations towards others who live in poor countries. I think the first step is for these wealthier people to educate themselves in regards to how difficult it for these less fortunate people. Once this is completed I think that the people will want to help less fortunate people in other countries. I would not make it obligated by all citizens but I think governments should push for their citizens to help the poor countries.
I think that the best way to act is simply do let your actions speak louder than your words. Anyone with basic morals should indeed want to help the poor countries out and need to realize that they make a difference.

Bobby Fox

Zuenelly Colon said...

I want to add on to Shelby's comment regarding the wealthier countries vs the poorer countries. I also beleive that the wealthier countries, instead of looking for more ways to become wealthier, they should focus not only themselves, as a wealthy country, but they should focus on the less fortunate countries (poorer countries) who may need help coming up. They need to think about all the people and children and all those less fortunate living in the poorer countries that dont have food, shelter, and clothes. I feel that they worry about themselves now that they have it all and their country is successful, they don't worry about anything else, just the benefit of their wealthy country. This book was definately an eye opener for me. It's nice to see and hear about people helping the poor countires. The thing here is that mostly all of the people helping the poor, have been poor before and knpow what the struggles are like, they are in that same situation, or they know of a family or friend that was or is in that situation. That's great, but what I would like to hear more of is rich people/countries helping out the poor! That's just my take on things. Tracy Kiddler did an amazing job with the plot and story line, it sure kept me focused and interested!

Casey McGarvey said...

I have always been aware of the fact that there are poorer nations with too many individuals suffering severe poverty and lacking decent medical attention. However, Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountain's was a complete eye opener to me on how little we truly understand about tragedies and horrors these poorer nations are being put through. This book magnified the hell of a lifestyle these people of poorer nations are being put through. Wealthier nations must act like a big brother in a reasonable and sensible manner in order to aid these nations and help transform the world into a healthier, more peaceful place. Early on in the novel it is obvious as to just how passionate and obsessive Paul Farmer takes his work when he goes out of his way to hike up a mountain in a storm to reach one of his poorest of patients who missed an appointment, just to check in on him. All of us living in a wealthier nation could not live up to Paul Farmer by devoting our lives to trying to make impossible tasks, possible, but we can all do something. Little things go a long way. I learned in an environmental science class in High School that "you matter". Not only from an environmental standpoint, but in general. One tiny effort by each person in a wealthier nation can go a long way in trying to make the world a better place.By doing something as first hand as mission trips or leading re constructional development, etc. or simply participating in a fundraiser, or donating to a world health organization, you matter. It is important to be aware of the struggles going on in poorer countries and it is our responsibility as privileged countries to do everything within reason, in our power to help people of poorer nations live comfortably and with as much health support, and security from radical government practices, as possible.

Aysha Moreino said...

Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains was not only a well-written book, but it was also very inspirational. Reading about Dr.Farmer's background growing up in a large family and living out of a large bus, to later down the road become a doctor is amazing. As if his childhood was not rough enough, Dr.Farmer also faced many challenges throughout his career. He took a chance when he left Boston to venture out to Haiti and improve health services in the area. It was difficult finding the funds necessary to keep his future projects of building clinics alive. Another problem farmer faced was dealing with the internal toll of watching suffering day after day that the Haitians experienced, and not being able to cure some patients. Farmer also had to deal with the intimidating Junta, who ruled Haiti for some time, and essentially "kicked" Farmer out of Haiti for trying to improve the health system. Despite these challenges, Farmer strived on and this resulted in much success. Partners In Health expanded to other areas around the world and are still in effect today. The overall message of this book is very important and leads the reader to believe that anything is possible, but it will not come easy. Mountains Beyond Mountains was the perfect name for this book. Not only does it relate to Haiti's landscape, but it also means that there will be milestones and challenges in life, once you get through one challenge, another awaits. If you are determined to reach success, you will get there in the end.

Vina Saengdara said...


I really admire Farmer and his story is very inspirational. He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon, he worked hard to become the renowned doctor he is today and he still helps the less fortunate. He left his home, family and friends to go to a foreign place at the age of 22. After seeing the situation that the Haitians were living with, he chose to stay and make a difference. He gave up practically his entire life trying to better heath clinics in Haiti. The stories of the people they saved are so amazing. Seeing their before and after pictures during Tracy Kidder’s presentation was just heart-warming.I feel like I could relate to him because at some point he was lost because he didn’t know what to do. I feel like I’m at that stage in life. I’m a freshmen in college and I have no idea what to major in. Hopefully, I find something that I’m passionate for. The lyrics of the song “The Motions,” also fits Farmer’s life because like I said he gave up everything and did everything he could. He left his wife and kids to go to Haiti and that’s not something everyone can do. At the mere age of 27 he founded Partners In Heath and he’s still there to help the people and probably would never want to leave.

emduv4 said...

I think wealthier countries should help out the less fortunate countries. Medicine and education would be the most important and most beneficial to those less fortunate countries. With more education and healthier people, those countries may be able to return the favor and help us out in the future.

Rachel DiPaolo said...

I really enjoyed Tracey Kidder's presentation. I thought he was very friendly and had a good connection with the crowd. I found it very interesting listening to him talk about his relationship with Dr. Farmer on a more personal level than what you could experience from the book alone. Also it was interesting hearing about Dr. Farmers childhood and the path he took in life which led him to Haiti and doing the things he did for the very less fortunate country. I thought it was cool that Kidder came to the presentation with the understanding that it was okay that there was probably many people who didn't actually read his book (not that that applies to me). But it was a good way to hear more about the book and his own experiences. I loved the part of the presentation where he showed pictures of before and after the new health service buildings were built; it was very inspiring. Also I thought it was very real of Kidder to share with us about the people he encountered who knew Dr. Farmer on a more personal level than he did. Although he was trying to "bring a hero to life on paper," we must all remember that no one is perfect no matter how many selfless acts we commit. In all that Dr. Farmer did, he is definitely someone who should be looked up to as an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?

Wealthier nations first should be educated about the poor countries. After that, I think that wealthier nations should be responsible to fundraise and promote ways of getting poor countries help. The best way to do this is for everyone to get involved. It is important to make a difference in the world and help out other people regardless of who they are or what they have.

-Erica Rekrut

Anonymous said...

What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?

I believe that wealthy countries should contribute to the aid of the poor countries through fundraising and mere awareness. The best way to act is for everyone to help in some way even if it is very small. Any kind of help adds up.
Koye Idowu

Karen Lobaton said...

Tracy Kidder's, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is truly an inspiring story. To add on to many of the other student's comments, I too, believe that the responsibilities individuals in wealthier nations have toward people in poor countries is that they should help provide for them and get them back on their feet. Many people in so many countries are less fortunate than others and could barely provide for themselves. The wealthier nations should help the poorer people by giving them what they need to survive. Many people can't even afford the necessities they need to live for themselves and for their families. It effects many people. Just like Farmer, I believe that they should take the time to go out and help people in need so that they can live a fulfilled life. Many people die young because they can't afford what they need to survive. Wealthier nations can help prevent that from happening. Many wealthy people have more in their life than what they actually need, so they should help provide for the people who barely have anything at all for themselves. I think that the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility is to actually take action. There have been cases where people said that they want to help, but never act on their words. It is time to put words into action and take the initiative to actually help the people in need. Farmer helped so many people who were in great need and on the edge to survival. Especially in Haiti, he used the fact that there is always someone in need of assistance as his motivation. He wanted to help as many people as he can because he doesn't like the fact that not everyone gets the help they need and deserve. Other ways people can act on this responsibility is starting service groups or joining groups and sending things to services such as the Red Cross. The best way to get started is to make more and more people aware of what is going on in the world. The more people will know, the more they will help. It is time to take action and put our personal problems aside as Farmer did, and think about others and take action.

-Karen Lobaton

Alexis Sergi said...

I believe living in a welathier country we have some sort of repsonsibility over poorer countries. We have all the technology and healthcare that may not be given in other countries. We also can provide education . In this reading, i was inspired because Paul Farmer looked out for interests in the poorer country than in the United States. He cared more about the health and well being of others. I think the best way to show responsibilty is to act. We need to show we care and are here to help, just like Paul Farmer did. No matter how hard things were he found a way to help the country. I think we need to get involved in making a healthier and more educated universe.

Nick Saccoccio said...

Hi everybody,

After finishing where I'm at in the book I'm realizing what a huge challenge Paul Farmer is trying to tackle. I can take away so much from him. This man literally does his best to take on the world's biggest health challenges.

He started out with literally no resources to work with save for his incredible determination and a vision that could not be altered by any political or governmental parties. Half of the stuff he did was done at the same time that he attended college. When I take a step back and reflect on what I have read, I see that Paul Farmer proves that anything is possible through determination. Yes, he ran into the inevitable and drawn out natural battle between drugs and germs, but this never daunted him. He made incredible headway in areas of the world that needed it most in spite of the natural boundaries that made it difficult. Other doctors would never in a million years have the stones to try what Paul Farmer proved was possible. That's what amazes me about Paul Farmer, his true leadership. There is a lot I can take away from him.

I believe what I have read will help me in school as well as the rest of my pursuits in life. The story taught me that whatever I want/want to achieve in life, can happen. I also learned what true leadership is. Paul Farmer is doing something that has never been done before, ever. He is an inspiration and shows me that I can accomplish whatever I want to in life. Another concept I am taking away from this story is time management. Paul literally has the most packed schedule I have ever heard of and he gets to everything he wants to one way or another. The last thing I learned from this story that will stick with me for the rest of my life is how to handle stress and situations where things go wrong; just shrug it off and keep moving.

To sum it up I have gained a lot of life experience through reading this book. Paul Farmer is an inspiration to the world and deserves to achieve his greatest goals. I will take the experience I've learned from him, and apply it to my time at this university, and my life thereafter.

jr adewusi said...


This book was a every good story, it was good because Tracy Kidder came across this story and just wrote about it but he felt that he couldn't take credit for anything. The story Tracy came upon how Farmer helped out in Haiti and helped the poorest people by getting some guy Tom White that was on Graduated on top of his medical class and gave Farmer millions of dollars to help the people with building houses, food,clean water, and gave them shoes. Most people might think of Paul Farmer as too much Letters were sent to editors of "venom" but Paul is a realistic man who did not know despair/sadness and had faith for Haiti.

Taylor Mahoney said...

What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?


Even though money does not buy happiness, individuals in wealthier countries are at an extremely high advantage compared to those who live in poor countries. These individuals should constantly be stepping forward and benefiting those who are in need. In this day and age, we have thousands of corporations and organizations working hard to improve the welfares of others. By joining these organizations that donate food, improve health care, and assist in foreign aid we can follow the example of Dr. Farmer in Mountains Beyond Mountains and truly make a difference.
Unfortunately, wealthier individuals tend to treat their responsibilities toward poor countries as a burden. They often feel guilted into helping others instead of feeling motivated to take part. I believe the best way to act on this sense of responsibility is to attack the task whole-heartedly. Guilt should never be a reason for helping others, because helping others should also be a way to help yourself.

-Taylor Mahoney

Elizabeth Rivera said...

When I first heard about having a reading assignment I can honestly say I was not too happy, so I did not expect to like and or get far into reading this book but after learning about Dr. Farmer and all the incredible things he devoted his life to, I was proven wrong. This book gave such insight as to how ignorant some people are to other countries/peoples' suffering and how selfish we have become as a nation. I believe helping others should be a big concern for wealthier individuals, who have more then what they need. I think money is and will be of great assistance to those areas of the world although I don't believe we should just give away money and expect things to get better, but I do think it's a start. I think getting groups of people who more or less have the same passion for this topic as Dr. Farmer does can and will change the world. It took sacrifice of time and money but most of all it was a love for those less fortunate then ourselves. If we learn to be like Dr. Farmer it will benefit everyone in the long run.

Liann R said...

After watching Tracy Kidder’s presentation about his book, Mountains beyond Mountains, I felt a sense of inspiration and anger at the same time. Mr. Kidder told a story about how Dr. Paul farmer brought about change in the country of Haiti. Dr. Farmer was upset because the poor in Haiti were not receiving medical treatment because they could not afford it and because the hospitals did not have the proper equipment. This bothered Farmer because he believed that we are all human beings and that we all deserve equal treatment. This inspired Farmer to go back to the United States and raise money to get medical equipment so he would be able to treat sick patients. I found this act to be so inspiring. Farmer was so passionate about helping people that he did whatever he could to make that happen. When I thought about how passionate he was, it angered me that others, including myself are not more like Farmer. A lot of the times we are all self-centered do not care about others if it is not affecting ourselves. I think that everyone can learn from Dr. Paul Farmer and find something that will inspire them to change the world for the better.

Susana V. said...


Regarding my thoughts on the specific questions at hand, I think individuals in wealthier nations should pay attention towards citizens in poor countries. If everyone helped each other instead of being lazy and selfish, the world may improve. Those in wealthy countries take their nice lives for granted and they do not know the struggle of others that cannot even afford to have health service or a decent clean water supply (which is essential to living). In my opinion, the best way to act on this responsibility is by visiting these poor countries to assess what really needs to be done. Maybe, they will feel empathy and try to donate money or donate some of their time to help improve the lives of the less fortunate. Even if the wealthy does not want to actually do anything physical to help, the least they could do is donate their money to working scientists or those who actually want to help. If we work together, improving civilizations in some poor countries, life on Earth could be better.

Gabby said...

I do believe wealthier countries should contribute and make an effort to the less unfortunate ones. With the help and assistance from others, a positive outcome would fall into affect. The United States as a whole should be blessed and fortunate for what we have and greatly appreciative of the people in our lives who contribute to this great success. Taking a break for our lives and focusing on someone's else for just one day could really make a difference. Aside from our daily routines, there is so much more to experience and become knowledgable about.

KS 91 said...

Hello, my name is Kyle Sirois, I'm a freshman majoring in Kinesiology here at URI. Although wealthy people do have a right to do whatever they please with their money, I believe the more fortunate should feel responsible to help and try to enhance the life of those who are less fortunate. It's a very difficult situation because if any person just tries to send money to the country, the money will 9 times out of 10 just go to the government, and it'll be like you just flushed it down the drain. But, if it was to be sent to an organization such as PIH, in order to help support a man like Paul Farmer, the money would be going to a cause where lives are saved day in and day out, nonstop around the clock. And even if that isn't a possibility, spending money and raising awareness of what goes on around the world, telling about the pain and suffering that controls countries like Haiti, Peru, and Russia, is half the battle. I think that in order to understand what goes on in these countries and before anyone helps support anything, they should either research or visit to see how much they would be making an impact, and how something as simple as water can be so vital and rare for others.

Jessica I. said...

After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I felt very inspired by Paul Farmer and everything he has done to try to make the world a better place. Page after page I was in complete shock while discovering all the obstacles he went through in order to help people in need. I personally believe that individuals in wealthier nations should have the desire to help those who are less fortunate. Although richer individuals may learn to cherish their money, I think that the right thing to do is to think about the much greater problems that other people are facing and to help contribute towards the fight of healthier and happier nations. If the more fortunate counties, or even individuals, were to donate a portion of money to counties like Haiti, it would make a huge impact. I believe helping people that aren't as lucky are you are it is a very generous thing to do and it can definitely make someones life a whole lot better.

Jessica I. said...

I believe helping people that aren't as lucky are you are is a very generous thing to do and it can definitely make someones life a whole lot better.**

Katrina Karpeichik said...

I believe that the wealthier nations should help out the places that are in need of services that they cannot afford. With the help of the wealthier countries, many world issues can be solved. I think that the title of this book is saying how there are always more obstacles and situations. Once we help one situation and you think you are "over the mountain" there is another issue for us to help solve. There are always more things that wealthier nations can be doing to help the nations in need.

Sarah Marchand said...

I thought that Mountains Beyond Mountains was a very inspiring book and Paul Farmer was a very inspiring character. I believe that wealthier countries do have an obligation to help poorer nations. Most people in wealthy nations are not worried about getting clean drinking water or when the next time they are going to eat will be. People in poorer nations are in more need of food and water than people in the United States are in need of big flat screen televisions. Nations like the United States should stop worrying about spending money on themselves and give a little help to the less fortunate.

Wealthy countries should set up funds that will strictly go to countries in need. Every little bit will help. If every person were to donate one dollar, it could help thousands of people. Also, people could follow in Paul Farmers footsteps and visit counties and lend a helping hand. If people of wealthier nations did that, this world would be a better place.

- Sarah Marchand

Anonymous said...

hey guys, this book was really interesting and had me thinking alot. Dr. Farmer is a intelligent man and takes on alot of responsiblity. He had those people trusting him to make them better and that is alot of pressure on him. It was a good read and made me feel sorry for those haitian people.

yesenia saguay said...

After reading this book I see the point of why the wealthier people have the responsibility to give a helping hand on the people in poorer countries. The wealthier should take a step on helping knowing we live in a country with so many resources and opportunities to do so. looking as the kids from Haiti made me see the things we take for granted and how these kids need the help by us doing the simple tasks as donating money (it does have to be a lot every bit count). making others see does improvement we as humans have to do to help one another and as myself and others we can go beyond that by visiting the places like Haiti and others like Mr. Farmer do and help build hospitals volunteer in those hospitals. so we can bring hope to helping nations.

yesenia saguay said...

After reading this book I see the point of why the wealthier people have the responsibility to give a helping hand on the people in poorer countries. The wealthier should take a step on helping knowing we live in a country with so many resources and opportunities to do so. looking as the kids from Haiti made me see the things we take for granted and how these kids need the help by us doing the simple tasks as donating money (it does have to be a lot every bit count). making others see does improvement we as humans have to do to help one another and as myself and others we can go beyond that by visiting the places like Haiti and others like Mr. Farmer do and help build hospitals volunteer in those hospitals. so we can bring hope to helping nations.

India said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains is an inspirational book. The beginning starts off slow but as you get into the book, the plot begins to develop. Paul Farmer is a dedicated, inspiring individual. He travels around Haiti and lends those in need a helping hand. Paul saw that everyone, no matter where they are from or what race they were deserved health services and should be able to get help when needed. Paul Farmer has shown the world that one individual can do a lot to help others. I enjoyed the book because it thought me things I didn't know before and opened my eyes to the struggles that happen outside of my world.

Jaime Makooi said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains was a pretty good book. The beginning starts off kind of boring but it gets more interesting the further you get into the story. Paul Farmer is a noble man with inspirational intentions and a strong work ethic. He is a perfect example of the fact that if you work hard and your heart is in the right place, you can have a major impact on the world.

Carter Kramer said...

I feel that the responsibilities of an individual in a wealthier nation towards people in poor countries is very broad. However, in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains we clearly saw that not only did we see a person "Farmer", help people in poor countries but it gave us a better understanding of what we can do as a person and as a wealthier nation. First off, individuals must learn and become educated about a poor country if they are going to take a responsibility for it, like Farmer, you need to talk to the people, you need to meet with them and most importantly you need to find out what's wrong. It makes no sense to go to a country and just start handing out food and water bottles because they might not need that, they might need things like education or hospitals. You need to grasp an understanding about what the problem is and how you can fix it. And it also doesn't mean you have to be a super hero, people don't want to think of you as a god bringing money and health to they country, you want to teach them how they can do it on their own because as soon as you leave, chaos will erupt. Like when Farmer left to go to Boston, someone died in Haiti and they acted as if Farmer could have saved her if he was there. It wasn't Farmer's fault he had to go back to work a real job so he could come back and give away his time for free. They Haitians should have known what to do and how to take care of the person that became ill.
Also, the responsibilities of an individual in a wealthier nation isn't to hop on a plane and fly down to the middle of no where and start building houses for people. It makes more sense to give money to people like Farmer who knows what to do with the money and how to spend it properly, for all you know, if you send money down to a place like Haiti, they could just take the money and go out and waste it all.
The responsibilities of an individual in a wealthier nation towards people in poor countries are very big but only a few of the responsibilities makes sense and work well. What Farmer was doing was right, and was carefully planned out and he executed his responsibilities quite well. The best responsibility is to become educated about the problems in the poorer countries and know how you can help in the best ways.

Cassidy M. said...

I thought this book was really good. It was motivating and interesting to read, it also educated me a lot about medicine and the medical polices all across the world that I had no idea about. Throughout the book you can see that people with positive and good attitudes will do great things in his or her life, and will go far. In this novel you see Dr.Farmer have such an optimistic attitude in everything he does, you also read about his goals and dreams that were to be helpful to people in need. One other great thing from this book is that is proves there are wonderful people in the world who are willing to do anything for others without wanting anything in return. I think it is also exciting that Mr. Kidder is came here.

Anonymous said...

What responsibilities do you think individuals in wealthier nations have towards people in poor countries? What do you think is the best way to express or act on this sense of responsibility?

Wealthier countries should be taught about the countries struggling. They should definitely be aware of these countries in need and try to help them any way they can whether it's fundraising, missionary trips, or trying to let the world know about these poor countries. People that are more fortunate should help out the less fortunate.
-Brendan Bucci

Matt Tracy said...

In regards to the question of the best way to act on responsibility to those in poorer nations relates directly to Tracy Kidder's book "Mountains Beyond Mountains". Kidder spoke of Dr. Paul Farmer, who spent a good part of his life in Haiti helping the lesser fortunate. Not once did Farmer think of himself while doing so; just the people in Haiti who are at a strong disadvantage. Dr. Farmer felt as though he couldn't take any credit even though he helped a great deal in Haiti, from helping cure disease to building homes for these people. Farmer obviously took responsibility in helping those in poorer nations. Dr. Paul Farmer followed his dream in wanting to help people. I believe he deserves all the credit even though he did not want any type of retribution.

- Matt Tracy

Max Herrmann said...

People in wealthier nations like the United States, UK, France...etc. should take some responsibility by teaching or giving aid to countries that are less advanced and industrialized than the wealthy ones. If these countries just even took notice to these struggling counties like Haiti, it would better the wel being of their people and their government would structure more smoothly. While I do not think that we are fully responsible for these poor countries, I don't think we need to give them food, supplies, money and things like that but maybe it would be better off if we helped to structure their government or their education systems. It would be the right thing to do if exposed what it is wrong with the country and work on fixing it in the long term as opposed to a short term mend. If people all around the world cared about people who are struggling in smaller less advanced countries and did something about it there would be less of these occurrences.

Max Herrmann said...

People in wealthier nations like the United States, UK, France...etc. should take some responsibility by teaching or giving aid to countries that are less advanced and industrialized than the wealthy ones. If these countries just even took notice to these struggling counties like Haiti, it would better the wel being of their people and their government would structure more smoothly. While I do not think that we are fully responsible for these poor countries, I don't think we need to give them food, supplies, money and things like that but maybe it would be better off if we helped to structure their government or their education systems. It would be the right thing to do if exposed what it is wrong with the country and work on fixing it in the long term as opposed to a short term mend. If people all around the world cared about people who are struggling in smaller less advanced countries and did something about it there would be less of these occurrences.

Calandra Sahagian said...

During my senior year of high school, I was placed in a class titled “Globalization”, which focused on the history of interactions between nations around the world. I can specifically remember the teacher asking the class one day if the U.S., being a stable, wealthy nation should ever provide aid for other countries in need of assistance, or just focus strictly on maintaining our own country. Some people argued that we should help out any country in need whenever we can, after all, if we needed help, we could only hope that other countries would be there for us. It was the morally correct thing to do. Playing devil’s advocate, the teacher argued that there are too many issues worldwide for us to handle all of them, so how do we choose who to help? The class responded by saying that we should put the most critical and important situations first. The teacher then asked who decides what’s most important? People have different ideas of importance. A political figure would argue that the well-being of our own country was most important, and therefore believe we should help out any country that we can benefit from. A feminist might believe that we should help out any country in which women are raped or disrespected every day. A mother might rate children being enslaved and abused as the number one most important issue. So, here, we can see how difficult it is for a whole nation to agree on what issues take precedence over all of the others, and take action. This is why most of the time, in the U.S. anyway, we involve ourselves only in issues that we will somehow benefit from eventually. Our leaders make these kinds of decisions, and they are looking out solely for the well-being of our country. We, being citizens, and holding no political power feel that we have no control in assisting people in other countries, but that is not the case.

In “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder, Doctor Paul Farmer dedicates himself to helping to maintain the health of the people in other countries, specifically Haiti. It is something that he has personally decided was most important to him, and he made a difference. We don’t necessarily need the help of a whole nation to help out another country. If you truly believe that there is an issue that needs to be resolved, there are ways to raise awareness, or take things into your own hands, like Doctor Paul Farmer did. I think it’s important for the nation as a whole to make sensible decisions, so that we can stay stable and strong, and not dedicate all of our efforts into helping other nations. However, individual people, not associated with the government, don’t realize that they can make a difference too. I think this book conveys that message strongly and clearly to its audience, a message that I agree with completely.

Nicholas Lindgren said...

Hello everyone!

Mountains beyond mountains by Tracey Kidder really does bring up the controversial topic: why do third world countries suffer while the wealthier nations across the globe live an often lush lifestyle? While for the most part I can (sensibly!) agree that yes, nations with more wealth should be helping individuals who are not so lucky in poorer countries, it just isn't that simple. While misfortunes are easier to highlight in third world countries because it is much more common, we cannot overlook the fact that people in our own land suffer something close to that magnitude. Homelessness in city streets, a single parent household trying to raise children, etc. are all things that are problematic to the less fortunate in our own country. While I certainly do believe that yes, help in the form of medicine, food, and water needs to be given to destitute countries, we must also remember that the "wealthy nation" doesn't encompass every single citizen. It is ignorant to assume that everyone in the United States is well off or that there aren't people suffering to the same degree as those in poor countries. With the shape our economy is in, it's hard to embrace the idea that we should still be assisting other countries as much as we are. But my moral standpoint detracts from that idea and says yes, we absolutely need to aid these countries. Like I said, with the way the economy is going, we need to get many in our own country back on their feet. To reiterate, I do think help should be given to poor countries, but we must also reflect on the well being of our own citizens. I wish there was a way that we could stop the inhumanities in third world countries and bring our own nation back on its feet. I would like to end with a statement I started with, hopefully it provokes more imaginative thoughts and opinions: it just isn't that simple.

Veronica Ricci said...

Paul Farmer is the perfect role model when it comes to foreign affairs. He has spent his entire life proving to the rest of the world that if we just take some of our time and resources then we can help other nations become as successful as we are. It will take many years for that to even become possible, but the United States and Great Britain would be able to do so. It is sometimes hard to see what life is like in poorer nations but Tracy Kidder really helped to describe what life is like in the places that Paul Farmer worked in. Not all wealthy nations can help countries like Haiti, but even the slightest bit of attention towards them would. Money isn't the only thing they need. Proper health services, better living conditions, even just clean water could help reduce all of the diseases ravishing third world countries. The title of this book, "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is perfect. It describes Paul Farmer's struggles throughout his whole career. Once he helped things in Haiti he traveled to many other nations to try and help them just like how he helped Haiti. No matter how hard he tries though there's always going to be a new "mountain" waiting for him to climb over. Once he reaches the bottom of that one he will need to prepare for the one after that. It's a cycle that will take many people and many years to help erase, but because life isn't perfect it most likely won't ever change. There is always going to be a country less fortunate than another, and until the wealthy nations learn to help out, even just the slightest bit, those countries will never change. Paul Farmer is a wonderful human being because he'd rather spend his life to help people in places where he knows he won't make any money instead of being a doctor in the United States. This was a great summer reading because it has opened so many peoples eyes to the unknown and has helped them, including myself, to take a step back and realize that things can always be worse and we should strive to help those who are less fortunate than us.

MBC said...

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder tells the tale of Dr. Paul Farmer's work in attempting to assist the poor in locations such as Haiti, Peru, Russia, and Cuba. I cannot say I loved the reading, although I will say it was worthwhile and inspiring. I found the mood to be troubling, but uplifting in areas and events throughout. The main theme is undoubtedly that there is a multitude of people living without decent living conditions. Nobody deserves to live as unsafe and unhealthy lives as those that Tracy Kidder and Dr. Paul Farmer shed light on. Although Farmer's task to eradicate poverty may be one that is impossible to complete, he continues his efforts on all scales, large and small. His continuing positive mindset and actions despite, the extremely minor impact they had, are an example of how much more an individual can do on a daily basis to improve the lives of those suffering. Throughout the reading I reflected on my own efforts in doing good by those less fortunate than I. The perspective given through Tracy Kidders writing made me realize that I don't see the suffering often, if at all, and that I can, and should be doing more than I am. If everyone living comfortably took time out of their day to help those less fortunate, there would be large scale improvements. I was forced to take a second glance and recall the struggles of individuals that I don't see on a daily basis, which is a good thing. I understand why Mountains Beyond Mountains was the selected summer reading, it contains a powerful positive message that inspired me to take more time to help others. I'd say the quiet internal reflection and inspiration during the reading was time well spent.

Anonymous said...

To many of us who have spent their entire lives in a wealthy nation, such as the united states, we do not usually think twice about people who fight each day for survival. Yet we also fail to realize that the problems of famine and disease actually have an impact on our own lives. Most important is the notion that an epidemic impacting another nation can migrate, either through migrants in search of a better life, or through products produced for cheaper costs being shipped to the United States. As a result, the same illness can rise even in the wealthiest of nations--we are not immune.

However, there is something wealthy nations can do to prevent disaster. By turning thoughts and efforts to help struggling nations (Haiti being only one example), we can avoid spread of disease-improving not only the lives of the poor, but the lives of humans worldwide.

-Andrew Wolfe

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