Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Your Big Idea?

Hello again, Class of 2016! This is just a friendly reminder that you are able to post at any time regarding Mountains Beyond Mountains. The first member of Class of 2016 has begun the conversation with our first posting. Your assignment, after reading (or beginning to read) Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains is: “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?” Mara, an incoming biomedical engineering major, suggested that discovering where one's passion is may be the most important factor in taking responsibility. What do you think? Also, if anyone is having difficulty posting, please email newram@etal.uri.edu. Place in the subject line Common Reading Blog!

248 comments:

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Ten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ten said...

Hi my name is Ten, and I am a incoming Pharmacy major student. Here is what i have to say.......Every individual in wealthier nations should always feel a responsibility to help the poor. Although, i don't think its beneficial to just said send money to the government of poor countries. Due to fact that the money you send will not go to feeding the poor, it mostly stays with government officials. Who just use it to fill their selfish needs. That is why i like Framers approach of helping the poor. He actually took time out of his life to meet patients, have face to face interactions with them, and even give them gifts during their recovery from an illness. Now its good that we have many people in the world that donate money to organizations to help the poor. But this people also need to step out of their comfort bubble to actually visit the countries their money go to. Its good to donate, but its also good to actually see the faces of the people that your money goes to. Which to me must have been the best part of Farmer's job. It always made him happy to see the patients that under normal circumstances would have not died survive.

Ronny said...

Hi, Im Ronny, and I am an incoming Mechanical Engineering major. I agree with the above post. Every individual of a wealthier nation should feel a certain responsibility to help the poor. However money is by no means the best way to help people that suffer from poverty, it is only a short-term solution to a much larger problem. People from wealthier nations need to take more time to research the cultural and political landscapes of countries such as Haiti. Look at their major problems,such as political corruption, high infant mortality rates, the dependency ratio, population densities, possibly the standard of living, etc. If possible visit countries that have low HDI's (Human Developmental indexes) and meet the people. The biggest responsibility we have as citizens of a wealthy country is to spread awareness and make people want to listen.

Greg said...

Hi, my name is Greg and i am an incoming Undecided student. While reading this book I was shocked, surprised, and better educated about the less fortunate countries such as Haiti, one of the poorest of countries in the world. But what shocked me most is how individuals in wealthier nations turn their backs to these types of nations. At one point in the story, the people of Haiti were uneducated to the point where they thought the diseases they encountered were a product of sorcery. Donating money to research is good but is not the key to helping individuals from these nations, as mentioned above. The better method is to individually reach out to the people of that country. The best way to do this in my opinion is to visit one of these countries and experience first hand their way of life. This will help you appreciate your life more, and it is good to know where the money you donate to charities is going, as mentioned above. Spreading awareness is important for helping these poorer nations, and also distribution of the proper medication is vital.

April said...

Hello, my name is April and I'm in incoming ocean engineering student. I agree with the people who posted before me in this blog. At first, I couldn't understand Farmer's attitude towards his work because his behavior was so different from a man who was suppose to be helping the poorest of the poor. He enjoyed the luxury he had but only because he himself never had it as a child. Once I knew that it made sense why Farmer would be able to relate to the people of Haiti more easily than most. For most of his childhood, he too was without the many things we take for granted today. He took on the responsibility that our country, as a wealthier nation, faces. He stepped away from the opportunity to make his own life as luxurious as possible and spent his time in Haiti helping many people meet their basic needs. We, as a wealthier nation, should be out among the people of other nations simply because who else will be? Sending money to an organization is a step towards helping and if it is honestly all you can do to help then it is enough. For those people who are strong and healthy, they need to be out doing for people what they cannot do alone.

Marissa said...

Hi my name is Marissa and I am an incoming nursing student. I do believe that the people of our nation should feel the responsibility to help other nations who are not as fortunate. Tracy Kidder's, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," reminds me of a film I saw in high school called "City of Joy." In the film, an American doctor, Dr. Max Lowe, travels to a poor village called Bihar in India and has a similar experience to Dr. Paul Farmer's. I believe these two doctors serve as an inspiration to our country. They set a solid example for our nation to serve other nations in need. Since we have the resources and the ability to serve others, then we should take on the role of the caretaker for the world. The doctors exhibit one way to help others less fortunate in the world, but there are many other ways to do so. Many schools, churches, organizations, etc., sponsor week/month-long service trips to foreign places in need. These trips provide gateways to helping others and to help yourself grasp a true passion for helping others. They also are a great source of knowledge and prevent the ignorance that unfortunately most people of wealthier nations possess.

Catie said...

Hi my name is Catie and I am an incoming pharmacy major. After reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" and all of the other students blogs, I have to agree that it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to help less fortunate nations.

Marissa commented about how unfortunately wealthier nations have shown a certain ignorance towards less fortunate nations and I strongly agree with her point. Throughout the book I felt I was becoming aware of one nation’s ignorance after another. Dr. Farmer worked in many nations but the highlighted ones were the United States, Haiti, Peru, and Russia. In all of these countries Dr. Farmer had to work hard to get funding to help treat the poor or he had to fight regulations of the country before he could help the people. Ignorance was especially shown when Dr. Farmer and his PIH crew were trying to help fight Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR) in Carabayllo, Peru. This problem of ignorance began because Dr. Farmer had a realization that the treatment certain Tuberculosis (TB) patients were receiving, called the DOTs program, was only amplifying certain strains of TB to become resistant to more than one TB drug. Dr. Farmer pushed to treat the many Multi-Drug Resistant patients in Peru with a new form of treatment that would find out which drug patients were resistant to and treat them with other drugs so that their cases of TB would not get worse. Unfortunately Dr. Farmer’s brilliant idea was not praised but rather he was received with ignorance because no one wanted to go against the World Health Organization’s DOTs program. When Dr. Farmer introduced the problem to the World Health Organization himself, he was again met with further ignorance of not fixing the problem because they did not find treating the poor patients with MDR as ever being cost effective.

Cost effective is not what matters in this case and that was the point Dr. Farmer was trying to stress. What really matters is the patients being treated which in the end everyone must remember are human beings. One large meaning of this book (which Dr. Farmer lives his life by) is that all patients are human beings and regardless of economic status, all patients deserve proper medical treatment. This meaning also relates to ignorance because it is saying that patients cannot be ignored. With that said wealthier nations must help less fortunate nations who on their own cannot help all of their human beings receive quality medical treatment. Medical treatment for all is a problem concerning the entire human race so therefore it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to help less fortunate nations even if it means it is not cost effective.

I personally think that the best way to act on the responsibility of helping others who are less fortunate is to help stop ignorance. I understand this is a huge problem to combat but if every person just fought against small acts of ignorance then the world would definitely begin to change. Small acts of fighting ignorance could be as simple as talking to everyone regardless of their economic status. Another small act could be donating you time to an organization helping the less fortunate or even making a donation. Not everyone’s contributions to combat ignorance can be as big as Dr. Farmers but every little bit will help begin to make a difference. If a lot of people can begin to make a lot of small differences in the world, especially to those less fortunate, then the world will begin changing and heading towards a more equal place for all human beings to live.

Taylor said...

My name is Taylor and I am an incoming nursing major and there is something about the novel “Mountains beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder that truly inspires me. Perhaps it is not only Farmer’s generosity and selflessness but it is also his approach to helping the patients. This novel further supports my belief that it is not only money and a good education that can help those in need. It is when you take it to a personal level that you can truly make a difference in someone’s life. I believe that wealthier nations should reach out to those less fortunate. But I do agree with the posts above that we cannot just give money. Rather than just fund the nations we have to actively educate and support them as well.

In acting on this sense responsibility, Farmer sets himself apart. He completely embraces the culture of Haiti and has respect for their beliefs. In doing so, Farmer can gain an understanding for the people that suffer and can thus formulate a cure for them inside and out. In order to reach out to a nation, I believe, you must understand and respect their differences, and most of all, act.

The best way to act on our sense of responsibility is to not just formulate ideas but also do them. When you feel strongly about something, as Farmer does, you must take matters into your own hands and do what you believe is right.

Rebecca Tenaglia said...

As an incoming pharmacy student, and someone with a few friends who themselves are pursuing various careers in healthcare, I recently found myself taken aback when talking with other students who, in describing their reasons for choosing to enter such a field of study, offer this guarded phrase: "I don't want to save the world, or anything like that." Conversely, when it comes to medicine, I share the same beliefs as Dr. Paul Farmer when he said “I don’t know why everybody isn’t excited about it” (7).

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by such a response. We live a society where talk of changing the world is often followed by disappointment, where promises to fix a dilapidated highway in Haiti are abandoned, and where phrases such as “the rich have their problems, too” are used as an excuse for getting involved in philanthropic endeavors (216).

Many of the previous response posts I’ve read dealt with the idea of “ignorance,” mostly in regard to other nations or in terms of society as a whole. As Americans, students, and individual citizens; I believe our greatest ignorance is to believe that the world’s problems are too big to solve.

However, we aren’t all Paul Farmers nor should we strive to emulate his work. What should be taken from his story is his passion, dedication, and unwavering will do what he believed was right. Repeatedly Tracy Kidder emphasizes that idea that we cannot and should not all be like Farmer. I think it is in part because sacrifice without conviction will inevitably lead to failure. Similar to the way others have pointed out mindlessly sending solely financial aid to suffering countries often results in failure, especially when dealing with corrupt and manipulative government officials, as is often the case. Additionally, Farmer didn’t merely “take time out of his life” to help the poor, as some students have suggested, he devoted his entire life to his cause. He didn’t view his life as list of sacrifices. Kidder noted this as striking when he wrote, in regards to Farmer, “how happy he seemed with his life” (7).

Nevertheless, what should be taken from Farmer’s experience is an acknowledgement of the
global suffering that middle class Americans don’t have to worry about and with that abolishment of “ignorance,” or how Farmer put it, “how people can not care, erase, not remember” (219). I do believe there is something owed to the “nation of humanity” for being born in a first world country instead of a third world one. Guilt is a wonderful emotion, in that sense. I’ve been blessed with so many advantages and opportunities, some very basic others profound, that people elsewhere have been denied based on their socio-economical status. The best way to act on our sense of responsibility to those who are less fortunate is to find a passion and use our blessings to help others. We should aspire to improve world condition, in one way or another, and we should, in the words of Margaret Mead; “never underestimate the ability of a small group of committed individuals to change the world - Indeed, they are the only ones who ever have” (164).

Alexis H. said...

Hello, my name is Alexis and I am an incoming pharmacy major.

In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Dr. Paul Farmer expresses compassion to his deprived patients in Haiti. Farmer's frustration with the current supply of medicine and money adds to his concern for the Haitians and other disadvantaged people. He confronts this problem, making sacrifices to help the impoverished.
Rich countries should contribute their financial resources and intelligence to work together in the effort to end global poverty. However, it is the wealthy citizens who have a responsibility to ensure their governments provide aid to the people in poor countries. The wealthier nations should confront the world with more constructive and positive plans and become a global partner to build a more secure, peaceful world. People around the world show awareness of the costs of insufficiently undertaking global poverty with its many problems such as fighting, disease, despair. Although the achievements such as saving lives, growing economies and providing educational opportunities are appreciated, more is required to tackle terrorism, disease, and the unstable economies. The part these countries play includes creating more jobs, better health care and education, ultimately, decreasing poverty. Essential for transforming our moral values, such as Farmer’s, into action is foreign aid, which can positively impact our future. Politics plays a major role in this issue. Rich countries have a responsibility to help end global poverty and make underprivileged countries politically stronger. Poverty weakens political foundations, leading to global health disasters, and economic volatility that can weaken a whole region, affecting the rest of the world. To ensure wealthy countries ethically stick to their values and make this responsibility a priority, each country must have updated legislation and accountability measures in place. The Center for Global Development (CGD) keeps track of wealthy governments' contributions to poorer countries with their Commitment to Development Index (CDI). Each country must review their current policies on global development to ensure their policies on Foreign Assistance are current. President Obama views the CDI as essential to keep track of his global development policy. Each country must contribute their individual strengths as a nation where needed. These countries can come together to produce results. Like Farmer, each country can offer their charitable services to make the world a better place. It is the responsibility of individuals in each nation to ensure that their governments follow through with their moral obligations to poorer countries.

Alexandra H. said...

Hi! My name is Alexandra and I am also a freshman majoring in pharmacy.

It is time Haiti receives help from other nations. In the past, this poor country was never given a break. Haiti and its people endure worsening events each year such as wars, debt, poverty, hunger, earthquakes, and health problems. Nothing has gone right for this country and it’s about time they get help from wealthier nations that have food, water, shelter, and healthy citizens, necessities others take for granted. Haiti has many problems; it has a debt of $1.25 billion, its citizens have a life expectancy of only 60 years, it is considered the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and has a poor health care infrastructure. As a result, the people have trouble paying for good health care. In Mountains Beyond Mountains, Jim, Paul’s friend, calls his patients poor people and in his opinion are the same as “soon-dead people” (Kidder 100) because of the difficulty in paying for what they need to survive. The people of Haiti are treated by a multitude of different country organizations that create poor communication problems and terrible organization. Haiti needs one big health care program, so no more chaos occurs, so the countries helping Haiti need to come together in order to put all their efforts towards benefiting Haiti. Haitian health is already a problem why make it worse with a poor patchwork of different health organizations. In order to help Haiti’s problems with hunger, poverty, and health its government must be repaired. Without a strong government, Haiti will never see improvements. Wealthier nations must do more than just help with health care, they should help Haiti from the ground up and rebuild its government and set it on the right path, so if another devastating event occurs, Haiti will be able to regroup faster with the focus on improving their country rather than focusing on the need for other nations’ help.

Ian Dakers said...

Hi, my name is Ian and I am in incoming Civil Engineering major.
I believe that people who live in wealthier nations do have responsibilities to people in poorer countries, to a certain degree. I believe that if a person is financially secure and can afford to give money to poorer communities then they should. The first place that these people should look at though is their own nation, because every nation has some poor people in it, and these people have to be addressed first before trying to fix whole other countries. As Abraham Lincoln said “A nation divided cannot stand”. Once this nation is fixed the people who are financially secure should start giving money to poorer countries, improving the world piece by piece. The best ways of improving these poorer people is by providing proper housing and food because these are two major factors in a human’s health. Once these two areas have been improved in each individual’s lifestyle healthcare and other necessities should be targeted strategically so that it will maximize the health of each individual.

Lauren LoPresti said...

Hi my name is Lauren and I am an incoming communications major. I fully agree with what Ian stated above. As Americans it is our duty to preserve and protect this nation, including its impoverished people and places. It is important to reach out to those less fortunate than us to show the true philanthropist ingrained in all of us in order to be a good citizen. But before we reach out to other nations, including Haiti it is important to do all we can for our country. We should take our country's health care for instance and use it to provide ideas in bettering Haiti's. Recently there has been animosity regarding the health care in the US, and what can be changed in order to better the society. Haiti needs our ever evolving and hardworking people to help them reach its fullest potential as a country, and to treat the well being of its citizens. Our country first and foremost needs to focus on bettering our problems in order to properly be able to intervene and make progress with others in world. Natural disasters have impacted Haiti in taking its turn for the worst in health care and stability, but with aid and research after our nation becomes stable, they will become a force to be reckoned with.

Alexis Dellogono said...

Hi, my name is Alexis Dellogono and I am an incoming pharmacy major. Every time I picked up this book and started reading, I could not help but feel ungreatful and selfish for taking a lot of things for granted in my life. Not all people have clean water, fresh food, or even a family. Death surrounds them and becomes "the normal." This is unacceptable. While some of the nation's poorest countries continue to struggle, the nation's wealthiest countries stand and watch. Sending money is one thing, but with out actually participating in the help and seeing your efforts get results, how can you know that they really are? By visiting these countries and seeing the devastation around every corner, that guilty feeling that I felt as I read, will leave a lasting imprint in their brains. They will realize how lucky they are and hopefully be inspired to change the world, one country at a time. It should not have to be a choice to make the world a better place for everyone. The wealthiest nations in the world should have the responsibility to intervene and help stop disease, unruly governments, and increase life quality. By implementing the actions and processes that created their own countries, they can help create another prosperous and wealthy country. Of course, just saying this is a lot easier than actually doing it, but with the intense passion and dedication that Farmer had instilled in his brain, every one can help do their part to make the world a better place to live for everyone!

Thomas R said...

Hi, my name is Thomas; I am an incoming Medical Lab Science and Microbiology Major. I also fully agree with what Ian stated above. I am aware that there are other countries and nations that are worse off than the United States and could definitely use financial help. We must first realize that even in Rhode Island there are so many people who need help financially. If you take a ride through some of Rhode Island's communities you can see the poverty that is present. Most people don’t stop to think of the homeless and impoverished people in the United States; there are even many homeless people in RI. A great example of the need to help our citizens first, is Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is still not fully restored but yet we give money away to other nations! It is very generous (and sometimes political) of us to give the money away, and I have no problems with giving the money away, but I really think we need to help our own people in the United States and especially Rhode Islander’s before we help others! Once we help our people we will in turn have more people to help the people of other countries!

Hello said...

Hey, my name is Sam and I'm an incoming kinesiology major and I completely agree with you. I'm all for service and helping out others, but I think before we look at the big picture of the world we have to look at the smaller pictures of our own communities. Many would be surprised at the level of hunger in our own nation and the amount of low income areas. Before we can aid others far away we have to finish the job in our own country. From there, with more hands to further the cause, we can move on and out.

Brielle C said...

Hello, my name is Brielle and I am an incoming Marine Biology major. Like the majority of this blog, I agree that as a wealthier nation that we should provide what we can to the ones in need. This is no question in my mind. As humans, this is our duty to help those in need, the weak and the poor. Without doing this, we become less of a human (who has emotions, wants, dreams, desires and many other needs) and become more of the materialistic object that we use every day in this world. The real question here should be how we go on doing this duty.
Before reading this book, I was simple naive to how to help the poor. "Give them money," I thought, "that is what they need." I should have known better, but now I truly do. More needs to be done then just giving money. We need to actually take action and truly help them. And this is exactly what Farmer did in the book "Mountains Beyond Mountains".
However, Farmer does more than take action. What I truly love about Farmer’s method in helping the poor is that he did not just give them shoes, clothes, medicine, ect. He actually learned about their culture, became one with it, and did not try change their views. One of the people that blogged on here stated: “At one point in the story, the people of Haiti were uneducated to the point where they thought the diseases they encountered were a product of sorcery.". True, they are uneducated and one of the things that needs to be done in these poorer countries is that the majority of the population needs to be educated so that the society can thrive and grow stronger than it is now. However, the first step that needs to be taken here in this country is their over all health and they must be able to trust us first, since our government has done so much wrong already in Haiti (like giving money to the government, which only goes into the wealthy's pockets, cutting off valuable water sources, making it flood in other regions that use to have homes and families there, and eliminating the Creole pig because of the fear of a disease, which then made the families income even poorer). So, if sympathizing with them, by understanding their beliefs and maybe even believing in them a bit, will let us gain their trust so we can help them further, then that is what needs to be done. This also helps out with not having the Haitians refusing treatment because of their beliefs. If the doctor, like Farmer, understands their beliefs, then they are more willing to listen and comply with him. Also, this helps out a lot when trying to understand symptoms or names of diseases that they call them.
This is the aspect of Farmer I truly look up too and I feel everyone should do in order to truly help the poor.
Step in their shoes. Only after that you will then know how to fix the shoes better then if someone told you what was wrong and what should be done.

Alex Jenkins said...

Hello my name is Alex and I'm an incoming chemical engineering and Chinese language double major. After reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" and your blog posts I have a couple points I would like to make.

One responsibility wealthier countries have towards poorer countries is education. We are not only wealthier financially, but educationally as well. This means it is our job to raise domestic awareness about other countries. Why? Because we are one of the few countries in the world that has the capability to do it. One example, this past March a viral video was released. It was called "Kony 2012", a message regarding the state of the broken African country Uganda. Through one simple video hundreds of millions of people became educated about the horrifying situation of the African nation. Many were so moved by what they learned that they acted. My contention is that we need to do this more. We don't need to create a viral hit on Youtube about every single poor country in the world, but raise awareness and educate those around us about those in the world less fortunate. If we can do this not everyone will be moved, but the important thing is SOME people will act. They will create change for the better. Our society is so interconnected that it is really quite an easy thing to do. All it takes in a couple of genuinely motivated people to get the ball rolling.

I would also like to point out that when people do act it is usually a modest charity. Maybe a donation of $1000 or less to a charity that aids hunger in Haiti or Zimbabwe, or they spend a month building a school in a village in El Salvador. But these are reserved actions. Which is totally fine, every little bit helps. But someone with proper funds, time or motivation can make a lasting impact for others. Someone like Paul Farmer.

Once in a generation does a man like Farmer come along. Someone so dedicated to healing people medically, socially, and financially. That is why it is imperative that when an individual like Farmer comes along we give them everything we can to help them, because they can do so much good in this world.

Of course we cannot all be Paul Farmers, but what we can do is model ourselves after him. One quote that really stood out to me was Jim Kim giving an explanation to Kidder of Paul's impact on the system of global care. " Paul is a model of what should be done. He is not a model for how it has to be done."(244) It is a message to us all. We do not all need to spend twenty years in Haiti. Answering 200 e-mails a day.But what we can do is become inspired. Because once that happens motivated people will arise and create positive change. Programs will develop, awareness will raise, and most importantly of all, welfare across the global scope will increase.

Jessica S. said...

Hi, my name is Jessica and I am coming in as an undecided major. After reading all of the comments above, I agree with a lot of what everyone else is saying. I agree that while wealthier nations should feel that they need to provide some sort of help towards the less fortunate nations that have less than the United States. But on the other hand, the US should not ignore its own domestic needs in the pursuit of helping poorer countries. In our own borders we have high poverty, hunger, and homeless rates which need help as well. Before reading, "Mountains Beyond Mountains," I had only been exposed to a small portion of the despair in third world countries. I had only known of what I saw on the news, which only explains what is going on there when a natural disaster has struck. I feel that the US and other wealthier countries only send help when natural disasters occur in those countires and feel justified that they are doing their part.

Paul Farmer is one of the most inspirational doctors I have ever heard about. The fact that he helped an entire country's health care problem while still in medical school truly shows his dedication to his beliefs. His generosity and persevernce towards his patients showcases his values. Instead of just sending money or visiting maybe once or twice, Farmer takes it into his own hands by creating health centers and completely dedicating his life to the cause; whether traveling a day away to see if a patient is taking their medicene or just taking a bottle of milk as payment.

I think as one of the world's most wealthiest nations, the United States should take on a larger responsibility when it comes to poorer countries. By sending clean water, food, and medicene we would be able to provide them with items that could help sustain them and make the people healthier. Sending teachers down as well would encourage children to go to school to learn and grow into well-educated citizens that could one day make a difference in their country. Doctors and medical staff could decrease fatal disease rates and provide medical help when needed instead of people dying because of a lack of supplies. Tracy Kidder's "Mountains Beyond Mountains," made me think about myself and our country as a whole and what we can do to improve the healthcare situation around the world and inspired me to be a better person.

Joe Rotondo said...

Hey my name is Joe Rotondo, I'm going in as a kinesiology major. My comment is somewhat irrelevant to the question but I believe that not just one person changed the world or nation. Dr. Farmer did something very inspirational but not on his own. He had the help from people like Jim Kim and Tom White and others. I firmly believe that money is the base for any operation and without White,Farmer would have been nothing. It's sad to say nowadays but it's true, we run on money.

Bintou Marong said...

Hello,

My name is Bintou. I am currently a sophomore in the College of Nursing and taking part in the Honors Colloquium here at URI.

In regards to wealth vs poor, there is a significant disconnect between people in the two extremes. We have those that are handed everything they need in life, and then we have those who can barely make it through. I don’t believe that people need to be suffering because they were dealt a bad hand when there are those who can help them. Greed has taken over lives. You can see it not only in poor countries, but also in America. All you have to do is turn on your television. Another thing I want to mention is the notion some people have that they are somehow better than others because of their status or whatever it may be. It is sickening to see people stick their noses in the air because they think they’re too good to help others or to put in a hard days work. There needs to be a way to bridge the gap between the two extremes and to realize that we are living in a country that provides so much for its citizens. And to realize that one person is not any more worthier than another being to get a basic human right such as healthcare.

Wealthier countries have the means to provide a bit of aid to poorer countries. The problem is not with resources but with personal gain. There are too many egos in the world that get in the way of helping those in need. Along with ego’s comes politics. If a country like America lends a helping to a country like Haiti, it will be reflected as the government not wanting to take care of its citizens. Instead of giving a helping hand to its citizens, it’s taking care of people that aren’t even in the country. It’s a wonderful thing that there are those in not only the medical field but various other fields wanting to lend some aid to developing countries—to give them something their government lacks but which we take for granted. I highly respect that because there are too many people that are selfish and are only out to prosper for monetary sentiments. We don’t see people like Dr. Paul Farmer too often—I wish we did.

The only way to help those in need would be to do what Dr Paul Farmer did. Going through government, as previously stated by the others, would not be in any way beneficial to the citizens of the country in need. There are various organizations that claim to help if people donate to them, but those are also skeptical. Being in the country itself and having the first-hand experience is the only way to go. I know personally, I’d like to go back to my country (Gambia) and help my own people after I complete my degree in Nursing. I’d like to contribute to the hospitals there through not only working but donating in order to improve the quality of care our patient’s receive. I admire what Dr Paul Farmer did and I truly wish that there were others that would be as selfless as he was in his profession.

Kaitlyn said...

Hi I'm Kaitlyn and I"m coming in as a nursing major. I believe that we as individuals have a huge responsibility to help those in poor countries. However, this shouldn't be seen as a burden. Individuals in poor countries deserve all the opportunities and more that we as wealthy nations have, and sometimes take for granted. I think it's important that individuals experience first hand the hardships that those in poor nations have to face on a daily basis. On page 40 Farmer states, "But they blow their noses into dresses because they don't have tissues, wipe their asses with leaves, and have to apologize to their children for not having enough to eat." I don't think that many of us could imagine not having a meal on the table, or even not having toilet paper. I remember there once was a show on TV; where snooty, uptight, and privileged young adults were sent away from their homes to live in a less fortunate country. These young adults had to live the way that the locals lived, they saw and even experienced the hardships of the those in the poor nations. These young adults came back home more humble and with a stronger moral responsibility. I'm not saying that individuals in wealthier nations are all uptight and spoiled, I just believe that we as individuals turn our backs on those who really need our help. We send money and supplies down to poor countries, and then believe that the country will be fixed. However, many times the supplies don't even reach those who truly need it, the country goes right back to where it started. Wealthy nations not only have the power, but also the wealth to truly make a difference in the lives of the individuals living in poor nations. We should help the poor countries so that eventually they can lead themselves, without relying on other nations for support. Anyone can send money, it takes a truly dedicated individual to go above and beyond that. We have to show that we truly care about making a difference in a person's life; Paul Farmer doesn't just take care of people and walk away, he promises them a long lasting life and provides countless opportunities for them to succeed. We can all learn a lesson from Paul Farmer.

Bridgett said...

Hi, my name is Bridgett and I'm an incoming Mechanical Engineering and German double major. After reading all of the posts above I agree with most of what everyone is saying, but I would like to comment on a few things. I fully agree that it is the responsibility of wealthy nations to help those that are not as fortunate and still developing. But as I read through the posts above, I noticed one things. The United States is not the only wealthy nation in the world, so why is the responsibility being placed on this nation? If developing and poor nations are to get the help that they need all nations, not just the United States, need to help.
But in order to help these nations to sustain by themselves is through education. If the nations with wealth cradle the underdeveloped nations they won't grow and will continue to really on other nations. That is why countries that are already developed should pass on their knowledge, get the poor nation on their feet and then leave.

Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace said...

Hello, my name is Grace Mortrude, as indicated, and I'm a pharmacy major! I really enjoyed reading this book and talking about it's themes with a friend of mine who went on a mission trip to help a poor area in Guatemala. We discussed how we would like to use our degrees from college, and our own advantages to help those in need in third world countries. We also talked about the injustice of those who use their excess amounts of money for ridiculous grandiose things. This book sparked a lot of ideas while I was reading and forced me to evaluate how I live, and how our society functions.

In a perfect world, everyone would only use the amount of money necessary to live, and give the rest to a good cause. However we do not live in a perfect world, and most people who have money, worked hard for that money. I believe these people have the right, justly so, to do whatever they please with their money. I think the problem is what people WANT to do with their money. In our society today displays of wealth are usually shown through ostentatious purchases of unnecessary luxuries. If we could somehow change the way that displays of wealth were represented then I think the world could be a better place. Then, The people who are the most successful would be recognized as such, through how many people and situations they helped. Instead of seeing a doctor with a nice car and knowing they make a lot of money, or were deemed successful, we would recognize successful people as those who had contributed the most to the greater good.

The human psyche is strange. Although I would like to say, it should be mandated that rich people give their money to the poor, it wouldn't work that way. People would feel they were being robbed of the money they worked hard to make. The only way to achieve the maximum amount of funds and help would to be through making these sacrifices "popular" in society. Instead of fame being recognized as the materialistic vapidness that exists today such as the Kardashians, or Paris Hilton a few years ago, our generation needs to recognize the people who are truly making the world a better place like Farmer, and his colleagues.

There is hope, and I believe that more people are recognizing those who help people more often, and people with money are doing more to help the world than before. Popular celebrities are making grand efforts to help those in need, and books like Mountains Beyond Mountains are becoming more popular. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of people who commented that they had read, or wanted to read Mountains Beyond Mountains while I was reading it. This book made me realize that I would like to spend some time in a third world country helping people like farmer did. It also made me realize that I don't need fancy things in life, and I can use the money I make in a more impactful and helpful way.

Marc Adams said...

Hi, my name is Marc Adams and I'm an incoming Kinesiology major. I agree with what everyone is saying, but there are some ideas that I really liked. For example, Joe Rotondo made a good point stating that Dr. Farmer obviously could not have achieved what he did on his own. It was important for him to find people who were willing to get together as a group and help poorer countries. I feel that the wealthier countries don't have to help countries that are in need of doctors, food, or a newer, less corrupt government but rather they choose to help. We all have a responsibility for each other, whether we are African American, Caucasian, Asian or any other ethnicity. Race is not a factor when it comes to helping the people. The best way to act on a situation like Dr. Farmer experienced is do exactly what he did, but I feel it should be done as a universal project rather than a private project.

Christa said...

Hi:

My name is Christa and I am an incoming Chemical Engineering student. From an ethical standpoint, even if an individual does not have the money to personally donate funds to countries such as Haiti, all of us, who are more fortunate, can certainly donate some of our time, energies, and knowledge to those who can benefit from our assistance. In many instances, Farmer did this. From a social responsibility point of view, large organizations should feel obligated to help. Pharmaceutical companies should manufacturer drugs and provide them with only a small marginal mark-up, to countries who cannot afford to pay the exhorbitant prices that the drug companies charge. That is indeed what social responsibility is, helping those countries who do not have the economic wherewithal that the U.S. and other more fortunate nations have. The book opened my eyes!

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Gabby and I am undecided. I feel as though our summer reading book Mountains Beyond Mountains is an outstanding choice that focuses on the reality in desperate need countries. As a whole, the United States needs to become more engaged in order to persue happiness in other countries who can benefit from it. We do not realize how easy we have it. Haiti is suffering without proper health care, food, water, and shelter. Wealthier countries do not have to provide or support funding, but should choose to help make this world a better place. Actions do speek louder than words, so it is about time something gets accomplished.

Sarah Chin said...

Hi! My name is Sarah and I'm a pharmacy major. I think that this book provides a bright light into a brilliant man's work. It's stories like his that make us think about our own lives and what we could be doing better or how great we have it here in America. We have a world of opportunities open to us and Dr. Farmer demonstrates many of the open doors available. He is an extraordinary man who's life is dedicated to making a difference in other people's lives. I think that it is very important that the upperclasses lend a hand in assisting those less fortunate or struggling. I'm not saying that every one of us has to go out and build a clinic in Cange but just taking a few minutes to make a donation to foundations and causes who's missions are to benefit others can help. His story also makes you realize that they are people out there who have generosity flowing through their blood stream and will bend over backwards to help others. Farmer's actions are on a large scale, but his action's show how selfless and giving he is. He'd risk almost everything to his name for others and that is the mark of an inspiring person who we can all learn from.

Cameron Parent said...

Hey everyone. My name is Cameron and I am an engineering student. When reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I was amazed by the amount of time and effort that Dr. Farmer invested to the sick people of Haiti and other poor countries. He dedicated his life to these people who don't have the basic privileges that we have. This book really made me feel lucky to have the rights to healthcare and to even have a house to live in. It is very sad to know that human beings are dying in third world countries because of diseases that we have gotten rid of here, and I think that we can all take a lesson from Dr. Farmer. That being said, I know that not everyone can sacrifice their lives to help out the dying like Paul did in the book. And I think that his project is so massive that it needs more than just funding from a few people. To get rid of the worldwide diseases of Tuberculosis and AIDS, Governments would also need to step into the picture and donate money to help out. But wealthy nations around the world all have internal problems that won't be solved overnight and that will keep governments from giving countries like Haiti millions of dollars. So as citizens of wealthy nations, we should donate a small portion of our time, efforts, and money to these third world countries. Not everyone can go to Haiti like Dr. Farmer and build health clinics, but we can all donate food and money and more importantly, we all have a voice. We need to tell other people about the situations in Haiti and expose the problems that this book explains to the rest of the world. Then other people can share our views on the subject and hopefully take action. Because if a lot of people donate just a fraction of what Dr. Farmer and Partners in Health invested, we really can make a difference.

Sarah H said...

HI my name is Sarah and I'm an incoming nursing major. I agree with the posts above in that wealthier nations should feel a sense of responsibility to help those in poorer countries. Wealthier nations, like the US for example, have the resources and education to help out the rest of the world. Dr. Farmer illustrated this in the book Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. He dedicated his life to curing disease and helping people in countries such as Haiti, Cuba, and Peru. He also connected with his patients on a personal level by bringing them anything they asked for and listening to their stories. I think it's important that more individuals in wealthier nations act like Farmer and make some effort in helping those in less fortunate countries. Sending money and food is great but in order for these countries to one -day survive on their own they need education, health, and stability. I feel that wealthier nations should be responsible for doing things like sending teachers and doctors because educating poorer countries and actually teaching them how to stay healthy is more advantageous than money. The hope is for these poorer countries to have a stable economy and prosper independently. The best way I think to do this is to continue sending necessary supplies but more importantly to send educators so they can learn and have the opportunity to become more independent.

Victoria Fulfer said...

Hi my name is Victoria and I am an Animal Science/Pre-vet major, but for the longest time it was my dream to become a doctor, a surgeon really, and this book reminded me of all of those dreams of saving the world and now I am trying to decide if maybe I want to go back to becoming a doctor. Anyway, I loved this book and found it to be incredibly inspirational. Here were my thoughts regarding the questions: (my original post was too long so I had to split it)

Victoria Fulfer said...

"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world" (Kidder 294). Paul Farmer embodies the morality, kindness of heart, and perserverance to do what is right that one could only hope all people could one day possess. In today's world, people in wealthier nations tend to forget about those in poorer nations until a disaster strikes. When footage flashes on every news channel of death and destruction after some natural disaster in a poor country, the wealthy suddenly remember that there are people in need out there, and they may go as far as to give money, but few go further, and in a few weeks it is forgotten once more. Giving money is not the best way to express or act on the sense of responsibility that individuals in wealthy nations have towards those in poor countries; it is not enough.

If all one can do is give money, then that is fine, but if one has the skills and resources to do more, then more needs to be done. Doctors in the U.S. make hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to give top notch care to U.S. citizens. Every doctor should make it his or her imperative to spend at least one year of their life giving medical care in a poor country. Even if he or she even does it just once, he or she should return with a greater appreciation for the medical carein their home country, and a higher sense of compassion for the poor. If this was done, a difference could be made.

Poor countries are not poor for some mysterious reason, and since the reasons are known that means that they can be fixed. Poor health care systems lead to widespread disease and low quality of life, lowering the socioeconomic status of those in the country. The U.S. fancies itself as the police force of the world, trying so hard to stop conflicts between governments and to spread democracy. Sometimes that is simply not the way to go about making the world a better place. Send 5,000 doctors instead of 10,000 soldiers and the people in that poor country will thank the United States more for it. Build hospitals and provide good health care instead of destroying the government and, in the process, homes and buildings, while waging war "trying to keep the peace" and that country will remember the United States in a good way instead of a bad one.

Victoria Fulfer said...

What is the use in being a superpower if that power isn't used to help those in need? Could the world's doctors and nurses and drug companies and other medical professionals not come together to begin a world-wide revolution to bring proper healthcare and sanitation and nutrition to the poor countries of this world? Paul Farmer worked for four months a year in Boston getting paid, and the rest of the year he worked for free in Haiti. One cannot hope to ask that of every doctor, but what if it were reversed? What if each doctor worked eight months in his home country, and four in a country in need? Imagine the difference that could be made. There are over 700,000 doctors and surgeons in the U.S. alone. If they staggered their shifts and worked for just 4 months in say 30 different countries of need, the U.S. could provide each of those 30 countries each with 1000 doctors providing improved healthcare for almost 8 years without a single doctor having to give up more than 4 months of his or her time. That means that a doctor could work in another country for 4 months just every 10 years and this process would continue to work. Eight years with 1000 extra doctors per country...that is amazing. And that is just with the doctors from the U.S. If all other countries pitched in, this could go on for decades and decades with a doctor only giving up 4 months of his or her time every ten or so years. The results would be staggering. Yes, it would be a sacrifice, and yes at times it could be dangerous, but what is 4 months when one is working towards creating a better world?

While reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I kept thinking about something: People become doctors so that they may heal patients. Paul Farmer took that further. Paul Farmer became a doctor so that he could heal the world.

If I change my mind and decide to become a doctor again, I will follow Paul Farmer's example and work to help those who do not have the means to help themselves. I will do it to help people in need, not for the money or the glory of being a doctor. I will be like Paul Farmer and help even when there is nobody there to see, and never give up even when it seems the world is stacked up against me. I will help heal the world.

Ingrid Felsl said...

Hi, I'm Ingrid and I'm an incoming Environmental Science major. :) I am only beginning to read "Mountains Beyond Mountains," and have noticed how much care Farmer puts into making sure his patients follow through with their medications. I wonder, if we put that much care into our welfare system, do you think it would work better? Maybe we could actually help those who truly need help, rather than hoping that those applying for aid really need it. Personally, I know many people who lie on forms and report earning thousands less a year to receive free aid from the government, and I don't think it's fair at all to those who actually need it and would use it wisely. What if we had a system that followed up more closely than it already does? Do you think that would improve anything?

Brett Powers said...

Hello, I'm also a Biomedical Engineer major and in response to Mara's thoughts I completely agree. One should find what they love to do whether it be math, history, or cooking and apply it to help others. We sometimes take our country and what it gives us for granted. We have the opportunity of a life time that not everyone has. Think about this, only 6.7% of the WORLD has a college education. Maybe that 6.7% and help the remainder 94.3% learn and create better opportunities for themselves. Dr. Paul Farmer did exactly that in creating up to 8 different hospitals in Haiti and most of the staff being Haitian. Great Book!

Peter Ep said...

Hi my name is Peter I'm currently undecided but will be taking a exploring engineering course to learn more about the history and basics of engineering. I believe the wealthy are obligated to help out those less fortunate globally. Where there is famine and sickness that corrupts unfortunate souls in these poor countries, a dime or so would help to bring happiness and hope to these people. Farmer is a clear symbol of someone who is rich and powerful stepping down to help those who don't have the luxury, education, food, and most importantly health care like him. Farmer is a powerful role model and demonstrates the responsibility the wealthy should act towards those less fortunate. Through my eyes the best way to contribute to helping those in less fortunate countries, is to contribute in any way from giving a dollar to actually volunteering to help them in person. Overall if a mass of contributors were to give aid to those like in Haiti, help will soon come almost in a speed of light. This book is a inspiration!!

Chelsea-Marie Martinez said...

Hello, I am Chelsea-Marie Martinez. I’m going to be majoring in the Nursing Field. From what I've read so far, it seems as though the wealthy countries have no responsibilities for the poor countries. Looking at what I've read throughout history and current events, it seems like that the wealthy countries only take responsibilities to get rid of those in power if the authority is misusing it. I agree with a statement in the book that the soldiers leave the area the same way they enter the place. The people in the countries continue to suffer. However, I’ve known that volunteers from all over the world come to form an organization and use their time to help the lives of others. I feel as though the Farmer is a representative figure of the volunteers. He is a great figure for volunteers. He educates himself to become a doctor and transition to a more advanced profession. He makes the change. I do recall the fact he experienced a scene where a patient could not afford medical treatments when he was a volunteer in a hospital. This motivated him to find methods to improve the lives of the poor under reasonable conditions. Money is the big challenge for everyone, especially for the poor. The doctor understands this challenge. He understands the life of the poor. As a health-care student, I believe everyone has the right to have health-care. I believe Paul Farmer is a great figure. Rather than using the money for himself and family, he uses it for the poor’s well-being and continues to find others to donate. His personality, from humorous to caring, is the main factor that makes the book so interesting for me to read.

Peter Ep said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan K said...

Hey I'm Ryan and I am majoring in business. The book in my view has it as wealthier countries do not try to help or have responsibilities to poor provinces/countries. In other words, they are just greedy. They want to keep all of the money to themselves instead of making a friend or ally. I feel that people in these wealthy countries should have responsibilities to help the people in these poor countries such as Haiti. I am not just talking about sending money to the country but legit going over to that country and just like Farmer did help the people. Make them feel better about themselves. Work at clinics,hospitals, schools etc. Yes of course, send money to help the poor's hunger as well. All in all, The wealthy countries and the people within these countries have a 100% responsibility to help countries in need.

Maryam Attarpour said...

After reading all the comments above I thought I should write one too! I've gotten to chapter 18 in the book and I think Mara's thought is absolutely correct. Dr. Paul Farmer helped so many people with his education and did what he was passionate about. If we all figure out what we want to do and apply what we have learned to doing some type of actual good in the world, then we can help people in countries like Haiti and Peru and so many other places where people live on a daily income of less than $1. Politics are the major factor in how we interact with other countries and aid or ignore them. Even if you don't want to devote your life to helping people in the same way Dr. Paul Farmer did, you can get involved in the politics of this country, because we are a major player in the world and who we elect and the policies we vote for effect so many people that we don't even think will.

Jordan Patterson said...

Hello, I am Jordan and I am majoring in Pharmacy. I believe that individuals who have been blessed with good fortune and wealth should always give back to those who are less fortunate. In most peoples lives they will always remember a time when someone did something extremely nice for them in exchange for nothing. Paul Farmer is one of those people who spent his life doing good deeds for people in exchange for meager pigs and chickens. Every person should remember how they felt after that one person did something nice to you and do the same for someone else. Farmer is a person that everyone should model his or her life after. Although one does not have to go into extremes as Farmer did, we can all learn some excellent lessons on the best way to express or act toward people and countries that are less fortunate. One lesson I learned from this book is to always think of others before you think of yourself. Another lesson is to not dwell too much on superficial topics because there are people in our same continent who are fighting and struggling to just live. In all, I believe that the best ways to express or act toward people who come from poorer areas is with a sense of deep heartfelt compassion.

siraj janoudi said...

Hello, I am Siraj Janoudi and my major is in Biological Sciences. I believe individuals in wealthy nations have many responsibilities when it comes to poor countries. The biggest and most important would be to at least be aware of the big catastrophes happening around the world; Everything from genocide to natural disasters. wealthy individuals are responsible for education and by that I mean to educate themselves first, then pursue a life of teaching those who are less fortunate. However, most of all, wealthy individuals are responsible for those who are oppressed with injustice around the world. Those people who are not even close to receiving the basic human right to live. Right this moment as I type my response, there are people in Syria, Burma, and in countries around Africa who are dying in large numbers for no reason what so ever. Going back to the idea of helping poor countries, I believe the best idea to follow when you really want to help out is to follow Mara's words of, "discovering where one's passion is may be the most important factor in taking responsibility". If every individual had compassion and humanity for those who are less fortunate, then they would use whatever passion they have to help out those who are needy. For example, my dream is to become a Doctor and any kind of doctor because I know whatever career I chose, I want to help out the needy. Moreover, Paul Farmer has inspired me to reach for my goals and to believe that there are still people out there who don't follow what politics have to say but rather follow their own heart when he said, "That's when I feel most alive, when I'm helping people," (Paul Farmer, 295).

Taylor said...

Hey, I'm Taylor and I'll be a Journalism major this upcoming year. As I'm reading this book, I've become aware of how much needs to be done to help those in poor countries. With this thought comes the idea that if it is in the power of those in wealthier nations to help others in lesser conditions, then they should by all means make an effort to help. In my opinion,if one can manage to maintain a luxurious lifestyle, then they can certainly manage to attempt to help those in greater need. However, I don't think that donating money to those nations is the solution to all their problems. There are several factors to consider including the nation's economy, government, educational system, etc. Like with many things in life, money can't fix everything. So, for those who are capable of helping, the best way for them to act on this responsibility would be to move people to action within their own nation and inspire them to help those in need. In other words, there should be a raised awareness of what's going on in these types of countries such as Haiti and what people can do to help. Farmer is a great example of someone with the capability to help because he's so emotionally tied with his work in Haiti. There's so much that can be said about what wealthier nations should do, but I guess the only obstacle standing in the way of this is for those nations to decide how to inspire their citizens aid others like Farmer does. Basically, leaders of wealtheir nations would have to find a way to kindle a passion such as Farmer's if they wish to help poor countries.

Brittany said...

Hi I'm Brittany and an incoming political science major. After beginning this book, everyone's previous posts are absolutely true. Passion is the beginning,. I think everyone should and does feel some responsibility to the poor. It doesn't matter how wealthy or not someone is. Those who are less fortunate need the care and aid of those who are capable of providing. Once someone becomes educated in the field they are passionate about they should find ways to steer their skills towards a greater good than just self interests. I think another factor though of the issue with helping the less fortunate is that first of all one must decipher who are the ones who need it. You cannot simply give money to a homeless man because he may have caused himself to be in the situation he is with drug abuse or something of that nature. I think children are the most needy of the less fortunate population because they are born into their situations. It is difficult for people to simply help the poor because throwing money to them won't help. Farmer's approach is the golden example, he built a hospital in the poorest nation in the world and used his knowledge and money to get the less fortunate people healthy

Shawn S said...

Hello, I'm Shawn and I'm majoring in Computer Engineering. After reading this book I realized how much we have. We take things for granted while other countries such as Haiti don't have the same advantages. There is medical help whenever we need it. Poor countries lose many lives due to the lack of medical help. I believe the wealthy should have a big responsibility. If you have the money why not help someone less fortunate. What else are you doing with your money. Instead of buying the latest things, send money to organizations to in sure the money is put into use instead of the government taking it. Send the money directly to the hospitals,charities and schools. Education and health are a big part and not every country is lucky like us. The approach Farmer takes is perfect. He puts himself in the shoes of the people he is helping. He actually puts a face to the poor. Gets to know them, talk to them and sometimes gives gift. This method is worth so much more because you can see the effect you make and see the smile on the faces you help.

Matthew Solomon said...

URI: Mountains Beyond Mountains
August 13, 2012



Hi my name is Matthew Solomon. I am an incoming freshman, and I am undecided.

Response:
Every person that is financially well off should be morally obligated to helping poorer nations. There are so many countries such as Haiti, Bolivia, and Congo that are not completely developed places, and they need our help. Third world countries they deal with problems such as malnutrition, famine, education, and many other problems. These countries do not have the right resources in order to help their own people. That is why it is so essential that people from wealthier nations help third world countries. People who have the ability to help the poor should make it their responsibility because they could prevent so many people from dying. People need to help poor people.
Dr. Paul Farmer is a very inspirational person because every single day he felt obligated to helping people. Famer felt obligated to the point where he lost sleep because he wanted to make sure he did whatever he could in order to help people. How can people go on with the their lives knowing that someone is dying some where else in the world? Poor people are human beings just like everyone else, and it should be our duty to help poor people. People who are able to help the poor do not need to help the poor to the extent of Farmer, but they do need to help the poor.
Every person that can help the poor should help to the poor, but they do not need to go as far as Farmer did. People can go about helping the poor by making a donation or physically going to that country and helping them. They could go as far as making small donations to United Nation organizations such as the World Food Program, UNICEF, the World Health Organizations, or any non-governmental organizations that aids the poor. The United Nations is a great way to help the poor. People who have the time and money could physically help poor by volunteering in organizations such as the Peace Corps. Volunteering in programs such as Peace Corp you can educate people in third world countries about health, agriculture, and the environment. All of these organizations are great organizations for helping the poor.
Helping the poor is crucial. If a person has the ability to the help the poor, they should make it their obligation to helping the poor. There are many countries that do not have the right resources. People do not need to donate all their time to helping the poor as farmer did, but they do need to help the poor. People can either make a small donation or they could go out and physically help the poor.

Matthew Winter said...

I do not think the purpose of the book was to guilt us into shooting money towards third world countries. Nor would I agree that we should feel obligated to make an appearance in the country. Certain parts of the story instill these thoughts into me.
Paul Farmer would write thank you letters to every individual who sent money to his organization. He wrote them not only because he's a nice person (he is the man though), but because the donor didn't have to do that. Yes, it is indeed a great thing to do-to fund an organization such as his. But as others have said, this will not guarantee a fix, but it will definitely make an important role in putting an end to these problems. A lot of people would jump on the chance to throw some money somewhere and extinguish their guilt, and feel like they've made a change. This isn't something people should get used to doing. It's too easy. Don't get me wrong, it is all absolutely going toward the right direction, but it shouldn't stop there.
Next is the case where I do not think I would be the last person to be against jumping on a plane and visiting one of these countries. Again, it would be a great thing to do, especially if you're going to practice medicine or to provide a well of water to a community. But to me, randomly visiting seems out of place.
It's great if you're up to doing the above, but more needs to be done. We are all approaching the age where we will be the ones running the world. I do not mean us as in URI, nor everyone our age in the US. I'm referring to everyone in our generation, from continent to continent, will be the ones making the decisions. A lot of us have admitted which major we're going into. Instead of only providing money to a larger organization, or taking the extravagant leap of physically entering the country to help; think of other ways you can help. Perhaps some fellow coworkers and I in computer engineering will be the ones to create a cheaper computer architecture. This will in turn make access to education tools in other countries easier. Or perhaps people entering the pharmaceutical and medical fields could find their own way of driving down drug costs. The futures that each of us dream about could easily have an amazing impact on third world countries. It all depends on what type of change each of us wants to make.

Taylor Vetrano said...

Hi, my name is Taylor Vetrano and I am majoring in nursing at URI. I had many reactions to this book. I thought it was very moving, and really opened my eyes too the medical situations outside of the United States. I think it is morally correct that the wealthy should help the poor, in any situation. However, I do believe that there are many causes that money could be used for right here in the United States. In the USA, there are many schools that do not even have school books, and towns without electricity. These situations can often be overlooked. Although it is nice to help other countries, the problems in our very own country should be solved first.

Taylor Vetrano said...

I think that Paul Farmer is a great man who is very unselfish. He gave up his life for others. He rarely saw his family, and he could never let something go unfinished. He never really settled for anything less than perfection and would do anything he could to save lives. I think more people should be like Farmer, and volunteer some of their time for others.

Catherine Fazioli said...

Hi, my name is Catherine, and I am an incoming pharmacy student. After reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains”, my view on this book and topic can be easily summarized in one small paragraph taken from the very beginning of the book: “I felt as though, in Farmer, I’d been offered another way of thinking about a place like Haiti. But his way would be hard to share, because it implied such an extreme definition of a term like ‘doing one’s best’”(8). Farmer was simply doing what he does best, that is using his knowledge and skills to help the people and country of Haiti. I believe that the wealthier countries that have the best should do their best to provide as much as they can for poorer countries like Haiti. Farmer’s passionate approach to doing his best to contribute to Haiti is the way I think it should be done. Not only did he provide money and medicine to the patients in Haiti, but he also learned the language, culture, and beliefs of the country. Also, by frequently visiting the country, Farmer acquired a true understanding of the people who needed his help. I feel as though we live in a world where people only do what’s convenient for them, and this is unacceptable. This book has opened my eyes and made me think and act differently about how and what wealthier countries choose to spend their money on. I am now aware of how much help these poorer countries need, and it is the wealthier countries’ responsibility to do just that. We can all learn a lesson from Paul Farmer: do your best to do what you can to put others before yourself.

Taylor Vetrano said...

All in all, I think that wealthier nations should help poorer ones. However, I do not think that donating large amounts of money should be seen as a proper solution. I think that this is seen as the easy thing to do. Something more meaningful and effective would be donating time, which is something that Farmer has thoroughly exhibited throughout "Mountains Beyond Mountains."

John Roque said...

Wealthy nations have a responsibility to aid the poor and desolate. A big problem with this statement however lies in the diction correlating with the wealthy group. A nation in today's society is, more often than not, fueled by its own interests, particularly those with potential towards increased capital and commerce. The residing citizens of said nations are thus given the burden to care for their downtrodden brethren.
The common donations of nominal sums are ever so prevalent in today's society. They relieve the sense of guilt resulting from a relatively gluttonous lifestyle once compared to the beneficiaries of the donations. It is rather only a momentary lapse of resolve that allows such spontaneous benefactors to continue to ignore the impoverished following the very action meant to fulfill some degree of improvement for the lives of the poor.
More people with similar goals as Dr. Farmer's are needed to actually get the ball moving. This however is unlikely and even acknowledged by Farmer; we don't need doppelgangers of Farmer but instead people need to lay aside their ephemeral concerns and avarice in order to devote time and energy towards the betterment of those, particularly in their very vicinity, that are worse off. It is difficult to imagine much progress to be made in exotic lands until the endemic poverty is greatly reduced and mitigated. Emphasis should be placed on the betterment of others not on an opportunity to be seized so as to improve one's image, career or record. Before progress can be made, people need to wholly change their resolve towards this matter; until this happens, the poor will continue to be poor and disease will continue to be rampant among them. We have the technology, we have the means, now we just need firm and widespread resolve to overcome such poverty as presented in Kidder's narrative.

Victoria Dougherty said...

Hi my name is Tori and I’m an incoming business major. I agree with the comments above expressing that people from wealthier nations should take responsibility for those in poorer nations. In some cases I feel that people of poverty filled countries, like Haiti, did not necessarily choose the life in which they live; they were simply born there. With that, I feel that people from more fortunate areas of the world, such as the United Sates, have responsibility in helping those nations. However, I do believe before a country takes on the responsibility of bettering a nation in need, they must perfect their own. There are many areas of the United States in which poverty is excessive, crime is at a high, and schools are lacking the necessary material to properly educate students. With this, I feel it is morally correct for a nation to donate money, and contribute to the troubled areas in which it holds before moving to another nation. Once the entire country is up to par with education and finances, I believe then it is time to take on the responsibility and help a poverty infested nation.

Aarron Hartley said...

Hi my Name is Aarron im an accounting major. i feel as though wealthier countries should help third world countries if and only if thae wealthy country has a stable economy and doesnt have an abundance of homelessness and large groups impoverished.the united states has focused on helping other countries but at some point it has to work on the domestic issues that it faces. the wealthy countries issues should outweigh helping the third world country.

Keegan Simons said...

Hi, my names Keegan, an incoming Industrial Engineer. I believe that, as mentioned in Mountains Beyond Mountains, God provides wealth, but does not divide it up. So it is our responsibility as human beings to help others of our kind so we can all live long and prosper lives. Not only helping by simply giving our money away, but physically helping much like what Dr. Farmer does in the story. Organizations like WHO and building houses for poor communities are good ways to get involved and provide for better living to the less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Missy Previte and I am an incoming Pharmacy major. After reading the book Mountains beyond Mountains, I believe that individuals in wealthier nations should have certain responsibilities regarding those in poorer countries. Those less fortunate may not have the same technology as the people who have more money. They may also be disadvantaged by their location so they do not have a sufficient food and water supply. Though I do believe that those countries who have more money should spread some of their wealth to the poor, I think that the biggest help would be to teach the less fortunate how to live on their own. There is a Chinese proverb that states: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Though providing support to poorer countries really helps them out, they are still dependent upon those with more money to keep donating and helping out. The best way to provide support would be to educate the less fortunate countries so they are able to be self-sustaining.

Kelsey Brown said...

One of the phrases that struck me while reading this book was the haitian saying that God provides the wealth but does not divide it up. It's up to us, and because wealth has been divided unequally, whether due to good fortune or hard work, it is up to those more fortunate to give back. However, if the help is to be truly felt by those who need it then people need to directly affect the poor, not by giving the rare guilty dollar to tv commercials or donating goods, but by going down there or working with charities directly in order to make an impact. For instance, with some charities the money donated might go towards helping the charity itself run, and not towards the intended recipient of the money. In order to make sure that a person's effort to even out the odds and poverty makes an actual impact, that person should work with that goal in mind. A person who is more fortunate should help those in need themselves and not expect someone else to do it for them. Only then can an impact be made. Assumptions about other people picking up the pieces and lifting up that little extra weight does little more than fuel the inefficient cycle of trying to help and no relief going to where it is actually needed. This book is a prime example of someone stepping up and devoting themselves to do their part.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Juli and I’m an incoming Chemistry and Forensic Chemistry major. After scanning through some of the comments above I agree with most of things that were said. As citizens of such a wealthy and prosperous nation it’s only right to give back to those that are less fortunate. There are countless opportunities in the United States. There are also opportunities to go abroad and do service projects. We should all take advantage of that. We’re so lucky to have the simplest in life that some people wouldn’t even dream of having. I come from a small town and it’s hard to believe that poverty like this does exist. It’s hard to imagine something you’ve never been exposed to before. But after reading this book I can’t get it out of my mind, how many people there are out there that are in need. Not just in Haiti, but other countries and the United States as well. It’s only right to help those people and give back. We don’t get to choose where we come from, the only thing we can control is our lifestyle and what we make of it. So, why not help those people in need? Everyone deserves to have a chance at a good life. The littlest things can go the longest way.

Kalee said...

Hello! My name is Kalee and I am an incoming kinesiology student. After reviewing the responses I noticed a lot of people are not against helping countries in a lower economic status. I agree with Juli above and I think people should take advantage of every opportunity to help those less fortunate. Wealthier nations have the responsibility of reaching out and helping people in poor countries. As Farmer said, “God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he’s not the one who’s supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge was laid upon us” (Kidder 79). It is our responsibility to share the wealth. The best way to act on this is to give a little of yourself and make small impacts that others can follow your lead and expand your ideas.

Matt said...

Hi im Matt and Im an incoming wildlife management and biology student. I agree that it is great to have people of wealthier nations trying to aid those in poor countries. However, I feel that their priority still has to be the poverty stricken people of their own nations. Sometimes people don't realize that even in the US, as well off as it is, has a large homeless/poverty stricken population. I dont have the exact numbers but in 2009 it was estimated that the homeless population in the US was somewhere around 1.5 million people that experience homelessness in a year. So i think our focus has to be those 1.5 million people in our own country before we can try helping other nations.

Erica A. said...

Hello, my name is Erica Allen and I am an incoming freshmen majoring in marine biology. While reading Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder, it hit home for me as I have spent summers in third world countries doing community service and research programs. There is a proverb that states, “Give a man a fish, you will eat for a day, teach him how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” People of wealthier nations should not directly give people of poorer countries money, but instead volunteers and money focused directly into educating the people of the developing nation. This education could teach them how to better develop themselves and their country. The basis of any countries development is education, whether is may be in medicine, business, commerce, engineering, or any other field. By developing the education in these fields, it will lead to more jobs, leading to more employment and income for the specific country to develop. The best way to go about this would be donations to NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) which would allow volunteer workers to come education and help out the specific countries need at a minimal cost. Giving money to charities of small businesses, such as the local fishermen, would help boost the local communities income.

In regard to what Mara believed, I too believe that where one’s passion is may be the most important factor in making a change. For instance, one would be able to give education and fiances to the appropriate businesses, so they could be involved in educating the people in an intelligent, focal manner.

Lily said...

Hi, my name is Lily and I'm an incoming Elementary Education major. It is very important for fortunate people such as ourselves who are living in a wealthy nation to lend our services to less fortunate countries. It's not enough to just send a large amount of money to an organization that may or may not be reliable because you never know if your money is going into the right hands. It is better if people from wealthier nations make an effort to visit places like Haiti and give first hand assistance to the people in need. This is similar to helping a homeless person on the streets. It's more beneficial to give them food, help, or shelter than it is to give them money. You may think the money is helping this person, but at the end of the day you don't know what they are using it for and if it truly bettered their situation.

Kayla said...

Hi, my name is Kayla and I am an incoming Pharmacy major. I agree with these other posts that it is our responsibility as a wealthy nation, and other developed nations, to aid underdeveloped countries. We have the resources to support countries like Haiti and we should be giving first hand assistance to them, like Lily said, so we know it is making a difference. I also think it is important to educate the general public about underdeveloped countries. People know these places are poor, but do they know how bad it really is? Paul Farmer is an exceptional individual who took his knowledge and wanted to cure all these people. If more people were passionate about supporting poor nations then maybe they could move in the forward direction.

Andrew said...

Hi my name is Andrew, and I am an incoming Animal Science major. I believe that it is important to help the poor in less fortunate countries. My old high school went on mission trips to Peru, a poor country like Haiti. Our school asked us to donate what ever we could to help this little town in Peru. Families donated over the counter medicine, toys, clothes, money, and bandaids. A group of students went to Peru to give them these donations, and helped build new homes for the community. The community was so grateful on what we donated that I came to realize that it does not take much to make these communities happy. These people have very little, but they appreciate what they have. Paul Farmer went beyond to help these people. and they appreciated everything he did for their community. If we help these poor nations create a job force, a health care system, and a successful government, then in the end it will boost our economy because we will not have to contribute as much to their society. and the funds and health care we give to them will be given to the less fortunate in our country. You have to watch out because you cannot let these poor nations rely on us too much because then their system will never become successful.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Chris O'Rourke, and I had a great experience reading this book this summer. At the end of june my family and I went on a safari through Tanzania, and Kenya. As i read the book and observed the poverty around me I couldn't help but think to myself how can I help these people, or how are they even living in these conditions. Around the end of my first week in Tanzania we visited a village of the Maasai people (an east African Tribe) and there was no electricity no heat only themselves there livestock and there dark mud huts. I thought that I would die if I lived there, but these people were all happy and proud. As we left the village we asked our tour guide who is a Tanzania native for more insight on the tribes situation, and he asked us our thought first. We all said that we feel like we should be helping them, and he responded by asking why because they're all happy and they're all proud. He told us that because of westernization much of ancient African culture is being forgotten and now laws are being made that Maasai tribes must go to schools and seek different professions all breaking there previous customs. Our guide gave me a much different perspective on the situation, because I saw that it would be extremely sad to see such a great culture disappear because western civilization thinks they are unhappy just because they don't have the benefits we do. With that being said it is also very sad to see people without modern medicine or the proper tools to allow them to live a long and prosperous life. I think as a wealthier country it is our duty to bring medical aid to poorer countries without harming the customs, and culture of these countries.

Nicole Perakis said...

Hi, my name is Nicole and I am going to be a public relations major. I also agree with the other posts stating that because we are a wealthier nation we should help less fortunate ones. I believe that if more people had the same mindset as Farmer the world would become a safer and more healthy place for less fortunate nations. If all our nation did was sit back and wait for others to help the struggling countries many people may battle with life threatening illnesses for ever and may die. What I found very enlightening was that even though the less fortunate countries knew that they were suffering they could not have been prouder to say that this was their homeland. Wealthier countries seem to always have more complaints because we are privileged and sometimes can be very self absorbed. If all of the wealthier countries came together and made more of an effort to improve the lives of less fortunate this could really open our eyes to see that we don't have it bad at all. Reading this book really made me think about how lucky my country is to have the medicines and facilities needed to cure some of the most brutal illnesses. It has made me realize that as a wealthy and strong nation we need to spread the good fortune to nations that would do anything for the facilities we are provided with.

Yoo Kyung Lee said...

Hello My name is Yoo Kyung. As an incoming Pharmacy student, I was greatly impacted by this book and Dr.Paul Farmer's life. About this topic, I would have to say that rich and wealthy countries should help the poorer countries. Human being do not get to choose where to be born, who their parents are,or what kind of social class they born into.There are enough wealth and resources for the 7 billion people around the world if everyone share their belongings. I am not saying it is possible for everyone to live in a"standard" way with enough food, enough clothes, place to stay and luxuries. However, some people and some nations hold world's majority of wealth. If these people donate to organizations, countries, and parts of the world that need extra help can help people who are starving, sick and in need. By donations and helpful hands, it can be possible that these people, who didn't choose to be born in Haiti or any other poor parts of world, can have some hope and some happiness in their lives. Donations and money can help to feed and support the people in need, but I also think it is crucial to have more people like Dr. Paul Farmer, who is willing to help with his own hands and feet in Haiti, Russia, and other parts of the world. Through great educations and encouragement, there will be more people willing to help these people with their abilities. Also, as for me, as a future pharmacist, I would like to become part of such amazing work as Dr. Paul Farmer and help these people to have hope and medical care.

Paige said...

Hi my name is Paige and I am an incoming Pharmacy student. In my poinion I do not believe the wealthy nations have a responsibility to help the poor nations unless the wealthy nations themselves are stable enough to help. Being a citizen of a wealthy nation i do not want this to sound selfish but why do we have a poor population if we are considered a wealthy nation? One our own country does not have a poor population I believe in helping other countries achieve that. Single wealthy families should help the poor but as a government we should be more concerned with our own countries well being. What Paul Farmer did is amazing and has earned well-deserved attention. This book will guide others to follow in his footsteps and use their knowledge to help the rest of the world. I fully belive in using your talents to help others I just have not bought into a country helping another when in reality that country is not on good terms.

megan wytenus said...

My names Megan, and I'm an incoming Animal Science & Technology major. I believe that being an American and living in the wealthy nation that we do, it is our responsibility to help aid the poor in other nations that don't have the benefits we do. Though, just throwing money towards a problem and hoping that there will be a fix is not the answer, especially when you don't know exactly where it is going to. I strongly believe that if you want to see a change, it's not all about the money. It's about the determination and motive to make a change. To make an impact in other nations, people should definitely follow the same path as Farmer. He didn't approach it by continuously sending money over and hoping they'd eventually find the light. He went to Haiti and worked personally with the people who needed him most. This gives an individual the satisfaction that what he is doing IS making a difference, and he can use his own knowledge to determine what else can be done to help create a positive change. After reading such an inspirational book, I can only hope that more people have read this book and realized that to make things right, one must find it in their heart to take matters into their own hands and fight until things get better.

Jeanine Dalessio said...

Hi! I'm Jeanine Dalessio and I'm an incoming Human Development and Family Studies major. After reading the comments above, I agree with what many of my classmates have said. People living in wealthier nations have the responsibility as humans to do their part in helping other individuals living on this planet. Whether that means donating, traveling overseas to help in person or just helping more people realize what's going on beyond our backyards.

If a man wins a billion dollars, what are the odds he would give it all to the poor? Not great if you see it as "survival of the fittest." Especially in today's economy. But what if the man was Paul Farmer? Well, then the odds would turn for sure. Farmer, even at times putting his life at risk, did everything he could to treat patients who needed him. We might not all be doctors, but we should all look out for each other the way he looks out for others.

As many said before me, awareness is key. Realizing we have so much more medical care available than a person growing up in a poorer country is the first thing to do. We wake up stressed about classes and tests, but they wake up hoping they'll live through the day. Giving money might not be the easiest thing to do, neither on a personal nor a government level. But wealthier nations have the unspoken responsibility to look out for people of the world in addition to their own.

If citizens of wealthier nations know what is going on in places like Haiti, they might feel more inclined to do something about it and get that message to government officials. Everyone deserves the same quality medical treatment as we are blessed to have. Life is so precious itself, and the fact that we can help save lives is overwhelming. I once heard the saying, "Each day is a gift and not a given a right." If we could walk in Farmer's footsteps, we too could give the gift of life both through donations to organizations that help these countries and by physically going there and showing these people that they are not alone in the world -- that they do matter.

Rob S. said...

My name's Rob and I'm an incoming engineer. After reading this book, it really hit me how fortunate we, as a country, are to have all these rescoures at the ready. I knew about how poor some countries were, but I really didn't have any clue as to how bad it was for them. This book helped me realize that we should aid these struggling countries and help them progress. We should send people to Haiti to know for sure that we are making an impact one way or the other. But as others on this blog suggested, we should worry about ourselves first. It is not really our responsibility to help them out, but we feel obligated to do so just because we have the necessary rescources they need. Not to sound selfish or anything but that is just the way I feel. Paul Farmer is the most saintly, if that is even a word, man I have ever read about. Barely getting any sleep due to his worry about those in need. If we had more people like Paul maybe these struggling countries wouldn't be as bad off as they are now. Anyone can make a difference.

Tiffany Kaelin said...

Hi, I'm Tiffany and I'm an incoming psych major! I agree with most people that wealthier nations such as our own should help aid other countries. However, I also feel in this econonmy that we must stabilize our own country before we could help others. One who is wealthy and has the knowledge and passion to aid another country should donate to charities and travel to underdeveloped countries. However, I do not feel our country as a whole should focus on aiding other countries while ours is struggling financially. People self-less and driven like Farmer are the ones that could make a huge difference and I have a lot of respect for people who choose to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.

Shaelyn Lake said...

Hello there, my name is Shaelyn and I am an incoming Psychology major. This book was really opened my eyes to the problems in this world and how everything is so easily influenced. As said before, the wealthy do have responsibilities towards the poor. However, many turn a their heads in the opposite direction when the poor become involved. The lines between the middle class and poor is slowly disappearing, one is either rich or poor nowadays. Yes the wealthy have money but throwing money at these poor nations is not going to help long term, it is only going to be a temporary solution. We see so many ads on the television on helping kids in Africa, to send money over. But most of that money is never seen by those families. Giving money to these countries is not our responsibility, but helping them grow into their own potential is. Education is so important because so many of these countries have potential just not the right education. If we educate them on how to use their resources, general medical needs and how to protect themselves there would be so much less issues. By providing them with the right medical devices and the correct education with it, many medical issues would be resolved. On the contrary, we cannot force our ways into their culture. We must study their culture, the way they live and find little ways to tweak it for a healthier existence. Lastly, there is the ignorance that so many have towards the poor countries. So many do not know anything about these countries and have no idea of how much they are suffering. By getting everyone educated and involved so much more would happen.

Sean Duffey said...

I believe that as people of a wealthier nation it is our responsibility to aid those in need. We as a people must reach out to those of a poorer nation. I believe Dr. Paul Farmer challenges all of us to stretch our limits as a group of people and truly give as much as we can so that we are doing as much as we can to help those who need it most

Andrea said...

Hi, my name is Andréa and I am an incoming Marine Biology major. Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder was a very insightful and inspiring book. It really opened my eyes to the bigger picture, the world as a whole. This book was a great read for me as an incoming freshman because it coincides with URI’s motto: “Think big. We do.” Paul Farmer has done so much for Haiti. I think it is amazing how one person can have such a big impact as he did. He has proven that helping a little bit each day can make a huge difference. I do think individuals of wealthier nations, like us in America, have a responsibility to poorer nations because we are so accustomed to our daily lifestyle and our own personal schedules that we don’t even think about the people suffering in the less fortunate parts of the world. First of all, individuals of wealthier countries need to have knowledge of the poorer countries’ situation. Knowledge is key to a thriving society and I think if people are thoroughly educated about the poorer countries’ situation, they can get more and more people involved. They also need to be proactive towards giving to the poorer countries. At the end of the book, Farmer is tending to patients with TB and says, “I’m glad we came, because now we know how grim it is and we can intervene aggressively” (Kidder 293). Wealthier individuals can also “intervene,” however, it does not have to be in a big way. Whether it’s a food drive or donating blood or getting involved with Habitat for Humanity, it will still make a difference. These little acts of kindness can go a long way. It is most important that individuals of the wealthier nations express compassion and understanding towards the poorer countries. The narrator describes why Farmer is so determined. He says, “if you say that seven hours is too long to walk for two families of patients, you’re saying that their lives matter less than some others’, and the idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.” (Kidder 294) This is the kind of attitude people need to have: no one’s life is less than another’s. It is Farmer’s attitude that inspires me so much because he can really connect with his patients. That, to me, makes all the difference in the world. Wealthier individuals need to practice selflessness. We need to treat people from poorer countries with respect and kindness and we must remember this: Haiti is located on an island in the world and the world is an island in space. We need to take care of our people.

Rachel R said...

Hello, my name is Rachel and I am an incoming pharmacy major. The common response upon reading this book would be one of feeling humbled (due to our lack of knowledge of the realities of those living in extreme poverty), feeling amazed, and definitely feeling inspired. However, our reaction should go beyond this and push us to take action, as Farmer highly encourages. There are an exponential number of ways in which wealthier nations can aid those living in poorer countries, but it is important to first be aware of a few facts: that the distribution of medical equipment in the world is unjust, that there is a clear relationship between poverty and disease, and that disease can be avoided.

The first crucial responsibility that we have as a wealthier nation, specifically, as the United States, is to simply not bring harm to poorer countries, as Dr. Farmer argues. Farmer believes that the U.S. “foster[ed] the coup” (5), destroyed Haitian lives by building the Péligre Dam, supported Haitian dictators, and created the brutal Haitian army. Instead of attempting to alleviate poverty on this land, the American government has done the opposite and it is imperative that this mistake not be repeated.

The many other responsibilities wealthier nations have are to strive to allow free treatment and medicine, schools, water sanitation systems, vaccinations, and “programs for women’s literacy and for the prevention of AIDS” (22) to occur in poorer countries. Wealthier countries should lobby for private donations and grants in order to support these types of projects. Further, those in wealthier countries should try to eliminate injustice by influencing the international health policy, as Farmer and Jim had done in order to make MDR and AIDS recognized as treatable diseases in poorer countries.

The best way to go about these various responsibilities is to adopt Farmer’s way of thinking and focus on the patient. He aims to regard each of his patients as his own family members, providing individual and personalized attention. One of Farmer’s patients tells him: “Just talking to you makes me feel better” and “When I was sick and no one would touch me, you used to sit on my bed with your hand on my head” (30). This is the type of attitude we should seek to have, whether we are making a small donation to charity or taking the initiative to chat with a helpless and lonely person down the street.

Mike said...

Hello my name is Mike Walker and I am entering URI as a BSPS major. I feel as though as a wealthier nation we should have a responsibility of helping out a less fortunate nation. I think that we should only led out a helping hand once we know that our people and country are in the proper state, meaning that everyone is taken care of and the country as a whole is doing well. But, people do have the argument that those in our country chose or did something in their life that made them become less fortunate so why should we help them? We should help them because everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance. Then again I could say the same about people in a third world country (Haiti) some people weren't born into that life but did something to remain there. Anyway, as an individual you should be able to do whatever you want with your money and help whoever you want but as a nation we should help them as long as our people our taken care of and supported first. We cant keep lending a hand to other countries and putting ourselves second to everyone cause that is how we got to the state we are in now.

Dave said...

Hello, I'm Dave. I'm going to be a pharmacy student in the fall. I think that as a wealthier nation, we should feel responsible to help out a less fortunate nations. So many people have such harder lives than they should simply because of corrupt governments and unjust military rule. I'm not saying our nation is perfect, but we are doing well in comparison and we should feel a sense of responsibility in not only providing help to many poverty-stricken nation, but also find a solution to it so that such poverty, disease, and homelessness shouldn't occur. What Dr Farmer has done is incredible and even though it isn't the easiest job in the world, it is still something that a lot more people should do. So the best way to express this sense of responsibility is to continue to try and help people who are less fortunate, not only physically with doctors and healthcare, but also from a political stand point. Unfortunately, there isn't one way to politically fix poverty because every nation has a different situation or problem to deal with like disease or food shortages, etc. However, if we were able to get politics involved in solving these problems, politicians, doctors, and even philanthropists could all work together to set up laws, provide healthcare, and fund infrastructure that is solely based on helping people in need. Now, I'm not sure if such a thing could/will be done, but it was be nice and I think that should be how our country tries to help other nations.

Alan said...

Hi, I'm Alan, an incoming engineering student. I believe that individuals of wealthier nations are obligated to not allow their financial interests to blind them to the realities of poorer nations' people. The lives of all people in wealthy nations are ruled by money, whether or not they realize it or desire it to be that way. Because of this, they often develop the (sometimes destructive) habit of making decisions based on potential financial gains. But this is a dangerous way to live. We need to be aware of the damage we can cause.

Alex said...

Hi, I’m Alex, a Film Media major from Rhode Island. Before reading this book, my response to this question would have been vague and I would have felt that individuals who help others in poor countries are some sort of heroes. They have this compassion for others that is unexplainable and truly admirable. Before this book, I admired people who had the passion to help others and thought that someone like me, a teenager from a small town in Rhode Island, did not have the ability to make a difference on a larger scale. This book has opened my eyes to the possibilities and the real life actions one can take to help others in countries who are barely surviving. It is heartbreaking what other people go through on a day to day basis and they have no control over their living conditions, their food, or their clothing. It is very easy, living here, to take all the things we have for granted. After reading this book, I realized it is possible to help others. It may be getting a bunch of friends together and having a carwash to raise money for a certain group of people in a poor area, or it may be writing a letter to a politician and trying to start a large campaign or program to inform a larger body of people. Whatever the first step is, it is with out a doubt possible to help others who are barely living. It is not fair that people have to endure the things they do and not have access to any of the things we do for instance, clean water, free healthcare, or any of the services that we often take for granted. I feel motivated to help people that are hanging on by a thread, just like those people in Cange. I now know it is possible to take actions to create a difference for people in areas such as Haiti.
In February, my sixteen year old brother will be traveling to India to build houses for a group of very poor people living in awful conditions. After reading this book I could understand even more why he was going to do this and I admire him so much. During high school, I never got involved in mission trips; I believed I couldn’t make a difference. I now know I can and I regret not being more involved in helping others. It is so easy to help others and the feeling afterwards is so rewarding. I plan to help others when possible and not take for granted that I have my own bed, clean water everyday, or plenty of food, for examples. This book was truly an experience in itself, I’m glad I got to follow Paul on all his adventures and learn that making a difference starts with realizing you want to help others, and it is possible.

Sarah Holt said...

Hi, I'm Sarah, an incoming nursing student. I believe it is our obligation as human beings to help one another, whether we are from rich countries or poor. Knowing that individuals in richer countries have more resources to contribute, they do have a greater responsibility in contributing to the rest of the world. Helping others in the world regardless of their national background will only help the world unite.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rhode Island, I'm Andrew an incoming Criminal Justice major. After reading this book it makes you feel very selfish when you think about how hard you "think" it is, and then you realize that the people of Haiti really had to live in hell. No matter who you are, if you live in a wealthier nation, you live a step up from people in a third world country. Each person should do their best to personally help a poorer nation. And no, writing a check does not count as personal help. agreeing with Ten's post, people should take time out of their own day and lives to help people in need. Even if that said help is making care packages to send over seas. That has a meaning behind it.

No, not all people can be like Farmer and actually go into Haiti and try to save every-last person, but every person can take time to try and help. Farmer is the type of person that only comes around so once and awhile. He was saintly. He dedicated his life to the cause and would not lose sight of his vision.

I just think that the people in wealthy countries need to personally help the people in poorer countries, The more people who dedicate personal time into the help, the faster and better a country like Haiti could become.

Brian Condon said...

Hey everybody! I would just like to start by introducing myself. My name is Brian Condon and I am an incoming freshman enrolled as undeclared. Previous to my acceptance at URI, I attended a Catholic high school. As part of the school’s curriculum students were required to complete a certain number of hours of community service per year and mission trips in order to graduate. Although it seemed to be meaningless homework to some, the majority of students embraced the opportunity to become more involved with the community. It was taught to us that philanthropic work was a civic responsibility for all; and to simply practice this responsibility in any way you could.

It is no secret that the United States is the pinnacle of the world’s wealth and prosperity. Written in our very Constitution and Bill of Rights are the duties of United States citizens and the rights we are granted. These duties include humanitarian efforts, which are more so implied by the rights given to us. Nevertheless, it is in the realm of civic responsibility a United States citizen has. These civic responsibilities to better the world should be practiced by every individual in a wealthy nation, not just subject to the United States.

When doing philanthropic work, I do not believe there is a “best” way to act upon it. In fact, I would even say that is an unfair question. The question is asking us to put a level of importance on volunteer work. Whether you are Tom White who selflessly donates millions of dollars to charities, or someone who volunteers at a soup kitchen once a week; the importance of their contributions do not differ. The simple act to go out of your way and change someone’s life, if even for a second, you are making the world a better place and that is what humanitarian efforts are all about.

Neil said...

Hi my name in Neil, I think that if people have enough money to live comfortable. Then they should help other people that need help, but they shouldn't be required to because then their freedom would be in jeopardy, and that is why many people come to the United States, to be free. People that are rich should feel responsible for in some way helping other people, but it shouldn't be a requirement.

Anonymous said...

My name is Anthony and I am an incoming freshman studying Civil Engineering. I think that wealthier nations are responsible for sharing the resources and programs that make them wealthy and successful, therefore poor countries can learn from them and improve their own governments and societies. I think that it is important for wealthy companies to educate poorer countries and institute new programs rather than to just give money to their governments. When wealthy countries do this, there is a better chance that the poorer countries will become self-sustaining, rather than dependent on help from the wealthy. I also think that it is important that wealthy countries gather background information to figure out the true problems of the people of poorer countries, such as Farmer did in the book when he went out and surveyed the residents. This is important because in the book Farmer speaks of the Peligre Dam that was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on peasant farmland and the United States viewed the construction of the dam as a gift to Haiti. However, the water build up from the dam forced peasants out of their houses and the majority of Haitians did not see the benefits of the dam’s electricity. The dam really only benefited U.S. backed businesses and a small percentage of wealthy Haitians. I think wealthy countries should help poorer countries towards self-sustainability and make sure everyone’s best interest is in mind when providing aid to poor countries.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Rachel, I'm going to be majoring in pharmacy. I procrastinated to read this novel, but after I began reading it this past week I could barely put it down! The efforts a group of people made around the world to treat these diseases was just incredible. I believe people who are wealthy, or those who live in affluent regions in the world should feel obligated to help out those less fortunate. People in these areas normally do not think about the rest of the world and how other human beings are suffering. We need to start caring about others and not so much about our own pleasures/luxuries. However, like in the novel, we should support Farmer's ideas, not necessarily spend all of our time going around to Haiti, Peru, Russia, and Boston while keeping up with a family in Paris; but we need to take strides to help those places with the resources we have that they drastically need. (Like clean, running water, and better living areas, and food that we on a daily basis take for granted.) They're humans too and deserve to live decent lives without constant risk of being exposed to diseases like TB and HIV/AIDS. We need to take responsibility and share the wealth with them!

Ryan said...

Hello my name is Ryan Lowrey and I am an incoming Mechanical Engineering Major. I think it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to teach people in poorer nations how to use their natural resources to improve their life and not to just send food and money. Sending food is a quick fix to the problem but if we send someone that can teach farming and proper hygiene than we will be able to feed them for a life time as well as get rid of disease. The best way to act is to send young willing individuals (such as students) to these countries to help set up housing and show them how to make a better living for themselves. I know this answer has been used a lot but I feel that sending students would be beneficial to both the people that need help as well as an eye opening experience to the students. We could send students that have a water filtration device using the materials local to those communities and then go there and teach them how to use it. This will give a community water for life and reduce the amount of sicknesses caused by malnutrition.

Thomas Garabedian said...

Hi. I'm Thomas and I'm majoring in engineering. Many of us in wealthier nations take our lives for granted and don't often consider how great of a life we have. There are people all around us that are suffering, which we could help. Of course, we can always send food, water, supplies, and money to impoverished nations, but what good is this really going to do. Once it runs out, it's gone. Wealthier nations could help out more by sending people to help set up water filtration, help effieciently constuct houses, and help with better health services. These people would act like teachers to the residents of poorer nations. Although wealtier nations cannot just change other nations for the better in the short term, long term programs set up and carried our over the course of many years could be extrememly beneficial.

Nora Nuzzolo said...

Hi! My name is Nora and i'm an incoming nursing major. After reading through the above comments I do agree that it is important for wealthier communities to be charitable to those in need but i also think that it is important to take action. Sending resources and money is obviously helpful but it's not the final solution. The best thing that could be given to countries in poverty is knowledge. By sending teachers and students we can share our knowledge of hygiene, medicine, building, and developing. Skills like these would enable citizens to be self sufficient and promote learning and teaching throughout the community. Money and resources are important but knowledge is key.

Katie Delaney said...

Hi, my name is Katie Delaney and I am an incoming Secondary Education major, but intend to switch to a Sociology major. I think that wealthier nations' number one priority should be to aid the less fortunate within its own country before assisting other countries. However, I do believe that wealthier nations have a moral obligation to help other countries that are in dire need of financial help. In reality, money is power. In Haiti and Peru, the government officials were extremely wealthy which, as a result, gave them all the power. This led to corruption in the governments, which then immensely affected health care. Farmer, a struggling student himself at the time, realized that it was one of his moral responsibilities to help these nations. He managed to make a profound difference in these countries, and should be looked at as a leader. He left me wondering - if Farmer, just one single man, could manage to help save thousands of lives, then what could an entire nation do together?

Joe said...

Hi, my name is Joe and I’m an incoming pharmacy major.
Like Tom White realized, individuals with a wealth of something–money, intelligence, whatever it may be–have a moral obligation to help the less fortunate. One of the first steps to doing that is to stop believing in the idea of “unavoidable losses”. Many people involved in the creation of the WHO’s TB protocol believed that treating MDR cases in impoverished nations was unfeasible, at least on a large scale. As a result, they didn’t explore the problem enough to discover the solutions that Partners in Health did, like reducing the cost of the expensive second-line drugs, and people died. A lot of us might look at a situation like the one in Haiti and think to ourselves that there’s nothing that we can do when, in reality, we have the ability to make a genuine difference. I’m not saying that we all have to be Paul Farmers, but we owe it to the world to do a little bit more than we think possible

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Olivia an incoming nursing major.
My thoughts are similar to many others on this blog. I believe it is important for wealthier nations to help less fortunate nations in any way they can but helping should not be giving the people every resource they will ever need, it should be teaching them how to be self- sustainable. If a wealthier nation only kept providing resources for the poorer nation when and if they ever stopped, they would be dependent on the wealthier nation and would not know how to be self- sufficient. Instead of providing resources, provide knowledge. Dr.Farmer did just this. Not only did he provide the people in Haiti with clinics and medicine. He gave them knowledge to continue staffing the medical clinics in his absence. He made sure that he trained Haitian doctors in his methods in curing tuberculosis among other illnesses. Farmer refused to leave the clinics to be run by American doctors he wanted the Haitians to be able to help their own people.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm Morgan and I will be majoring in Biology. I agree with most of the above responses. Wealthier nations do have the obligation of helping those who are in need. Individuals can make a huge difference as well by simply donating money to the appropriate organizations or by traveling to a poorer nation and volunteering. Despite our nation's current economic troubles, it is imperative that we continue to help countries that are even less fortunate. After doing some research, I was surprised to discover that the United States gives out billions of dollars every year in foreign aid to developing countries and nations that are politically unstable or impacted by war. This is definitely a good start, but citizens must help out too. There is still a long way to go. People like Paul Farmer are rare; few can or want to dedicate their entire lives to the less fortunate. However, everyone has the ability to help out in some small way.

Nicole said...

Hi, my name is Nicole and I am an incoming Biology major... I believe that every human being has a responsibility toward another human being whether it is mentally, financially or spiritually. We always have to help each other to stand up in times of adversity ... Concerning the book, wealthier nations can help out, not by sending money but by financing medical funds so doctors without borders can travel to those countries and help out with vaccinations and hospitals, wealthier countries can also finance the building of clinics or hospitals . That is one the best ways to act on the responsibility they have towards poorer countries, instead of sending money because nowadays nobody can trust anyone with money so it is best to just finance funds and send doctors, it is mostly what poor countries lack off .

Samantha Tickey said...

Hello my name is Samantha Tickey, and I am an incoming anthropology major. I especially connected with Dr. Paul Farmer in his interests of medicine and anthropology, medicine being my second major choice and of course anthropology my main focus. This book not only introduced me to that new prospect of medical anthropology, but showed me just what responsibility this major and education in general give people. Once you know about things like this going on in the world, you feel the need to become involved and help out yourself. You cannot sit idly by anyone; the veil of ignorance is lifted. This case is strengthened even further once you pursue a major such as mine where the mission is to understand culture. There will be no more ignorance and only possibilities it opens up to understanding and helping others. This book made me realize what little myself, and most people are doing by mailing away small monetary donations monthly to charities, and the likes, when people like Farmer dedicate their entire lives to it. While everyone clearly cannot or will not do that I do think that if everyone even donated one full year of service, even in fundraising efforts or just spreading the message, to organizations such as that, the world would become a much more equalized, better place to live for all. When it comes to the rich, I do believe that they SHOULD contribute more monetarily being more able to than the majority of Americans, but when it comes to actual service EVERYONE is equally responsible.

Ben Nachtigal said...

My name is Ben Nachtigal and I am an incoming undecided student. At first, while reading through Mountains Beyond Mountains, I believed that Dr. Paul Farmer was a medical machine who could in fact cure the world and who was capable of it too. But as I read father into the book, I could see that the way Paul wanted to aid the poor was not the most positive way at all. I believe that he acted in an unhealthy way for himself and for his colleges. Paul did what was right in the sense that he needed to cure as much of Haiti’s poor and diseased as he could, but it was foolish for him to do it by himself, with him as the only ‘’miracle doctor’’ there. “Paul is a model of what should be done. He’s not a model for how it has to be done.” (Jim Kim Page 244) I agree with Jim’s statement. Paul spoke of never stopping until Haiti was rid of tuberculosis and aids. He seemed to not be able to cope with the fact that there will always be people who cannot access treatment and who must live in a poor nation stricken with disease. When Farmer is confessing about his lack of sleep he states that he can’t bear to think that there will always be people not receiving treatment. “I can’t sleep. There’s always somebody not getting treatment. I can’t stand that.” (Paul Farmer Page 24) But the truth of the matter is there will always be people not receiving treatment, and that’s just something that cannot be changed permanently.

Why should Farmer, Americans, or any individuals from wealthier nations feel that they have responsibilities towards poor countries? Do we have any obligation to support them? By law, no we do not. But I believe we have a moral obligation. I believe that all men are created equal no matter what country they may live in, and no matter what income they have. Since all men are created equal, all men should have an equal opportunity to be healthy just like I, and most other people in this wealthy nation have. Everyone in Haiti and every other developing poor nation should have as much access to health as someone in a developed wealthy nation has.

The best possible way to act on this sense of responsibility is not to become a doctor and stop at nothing to cure every last patient in developing countries. Throughout Mountains Beyond Mountains, I could see that there was a necessity for money to continue Farmer’s practice of medicine. There would often be talk of grants bringing millions of dollars to be spent of medical tools and vaccines to stop the spread and cure patients of diseases such as tuberculosis and aids. The best way to make every country to have equal health and medicine is to donate money to doctors and programs that assist with poor country health. Not only money out of our own pockets, but also money from corporations and other medical programs. In a sense we need to share the wealth. There is an unbalanced spread of money in the world. Just like the Haitian proverb – “Bondye konn bay men li pakonn separe” God gives, but does not share. God gave this world a lot of money but it is up to us to spread the money appropriately. We need to take some money out of the wealthier nation of the world and invest it in medicine and health for poor nations. We do have the opportunity to balance money appropriately, and that is the best way to express our responsibility to make every man in every country equal.

Hayley Fieldman said...

Hi, my name is Hayley Fieldman and I am undeclared. A huge problem in poor countries and a main issue in Farmer’s line of research in Mountains Beyond Mountains was poverty. Poverty in poor countries is due to the lack of education among its citizens creating a shortage in jobs and less than adequate living conditions. Volunteers in wealthier countries willing to teach should provide each generation in struggling countries with a basic education. From there students have the opportunity to further their education in areas of medicine, government, agriculture etc. With career fields open to those educated enough to advance as doctors or politicians citizens, for example, in Haiti and Peru would be able to establish a self sustaining country and maintain it by passing on their knowledge to the younger generations. Really it all comes down to one quote “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Self-sustainable is so important for these struggling countries.

One peasant woman in the book was quoted when she asked herself the question of how the spread of AIDS could be stopped in women; she answered rhetorically saying, “Give them jobs”. Education in these countries could bring an end to the rapid transmission of tuberculosis and the AIDS virus. Thus, improving not only a country’s sustainability but also its healthcare. With people receiving jobs and getting off the streets they have the ability to educate the next generation of all new doctors, nurses, politicians etc. At the same time they would be able to attain better living conditions for themselves decreasing the spread of disease.

Farmer used his knowledge of medicine and made feats to combat poverty by improving healthcare. He affected not just Haiti but expanded his cause internationally. Like Ben Nachtigal said, no nation has a lawful obligation to take responsibility for poorer nations, but instead a moral obligation. It takes one teacher to realize the potential in establishing education in poor countries. One person willing to volunteer in a country where people are willing to learn can affect the lives of so many for generations to come.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Justin and I am an incoming Marketing major. I agree that wealthier people and wealthier nations should help nations in need and their people. I don't believe countries should have to help other countries out but if you’re a country in a better economic situation than others it would be nice to help those in need. This would help keep good relations with other countries as well as keep a positive outlook on the country as a whole. I also think that if wealthier people can help out those countries and people in need, even a little bit it would be beneficial to the world. I don't think either of these should be mandatory but I do think it would be a good way in improving the world and uniting together.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Chris and I am an incoming Geo-sciences major. After reading about Paul Farmer in his novel, I began to think and reflect on what else our country, the United States, is doing to help countries like Haiti. I have come to the conclusion that we are not doing enough to help the afflicted people. Granted, money and funding can be a pretty challenging feat to exceed at when our economy is suffering, but even if we send a little more aid to Haiti it would help. It is our responsibility as a much wealthier country to help those who are in need. In this case, "those people" would mean the Haitians, along with some other countries in strife. As a part of one of the greatest nations on earth, I would like to see more work being done. Paul Farmer sets the best example when it comes to helping those less fortunate than most of us. I remember in the novel that he said to not be just like him, but to help in anyway you can. Now, when it comes to individual responsibility I have a slight problem. I do not really trust some of the organizations that supposedly give your donations to other proceeds. If I could trust government officials (which no one really can) I would happily donate some money to help out other countries in need. Unfortunately, everyone is different, so donating even a little amount would still help. Another factor that would definitely help these other countries would be to raise the rest of the world's awareness of the problems. This of course would take a very big effort, but in the long run, it would most likely help. I would like to see the world help out those less fortunate, but so few are actually putting the effort in.

Amy Hamilton said...

Hi my name is Amy, a Physical Therapy major from Rhode Island. Before reading this book, I had the knowledge from a small scale prospective the sufferings that other countries went through on a day to day basis. I knew that people living in these poverty stricken countries had no control whatsoever on the physical, mental and financial conditions, but not to the scale that Farmer has expressed in his book. Living where I do, it is easy to overlook these conditions, and not know how to contribute because I am not living it every day. After reading this book though I realized that it does not take much to help countries like Cange. For example, getting some old clothes together to send to a poor country, or even a bake sale to raise money. As a human being, I feel that it is my responsibility to help other human beings even if it is on a small scale because every contribution helps.
It is inspiring to me to see others like Farmer dedicate their lives to helping others get by when they themselves can not. This is not to say that every one of us has to dedicate our lives traveling from one poverty stricken country to another like Farmer, but to take a little time to donate clothes, money, or even medical supplies to those countries. For example, recently during the Little League World Series, a group of boys from Curacao came to compete alongside the other teams from across the world. The difference between the team from Curacao and the other teams was that Curacao came to the States with no family and one small bag with a couple items in it. Seeing this, parents from other teams began gathering clothes, money and other various supplies to send to Curacao. After reading this book, it makes me realize why the parents wanted to send supplies over with the team from Curacao due to the conditions that they have to endure daily. This book has opened my eyes to the conditions of others living in poor countries, and has made me realize that I should not take what I have for granted.

Amber said...

Hi, my name is Amber and I am an incoming nursing major. I was extremely inspired by Farmer and the passion and selflessness he displayed throughout the novel. Although I do not believe that everyone has to go out with the kind of commitment and sacrifice that Farmer portrayed and take such extreme measures to change the world, I do believe that the people of the world should take even just a moment to recognize the poverty and disease that truly racks the planet. Farmer was in the front lines of battle against TB, AIDS, uneven distribution of medicine, and many other issues. His raw passion make it perfectly acceptable to, when he was sick himself, carry on and continue to treat his patients instead of himself. However, not everyone need put their life on the line to make a difference. It only takes a small amount of recognition and knowledge to work to change the world as Farmer is doing with his own two hands.

This novel has opened my eyes to the hardship and poverty around the world and even in our own country. It has made me aware that it is not acceptable to pretend that it doesn't exist just because we are not directly affected by it. Far too many Americans are caught up in their own rat races to stop and take time to think of those who suffer everyday, even in our own nation. Just because Hurricane Katrina was years ago does not mean that there are still those suffering from its aftermath. Just because Haiti may be a foreign place that does not cross our daily minds does not mean that such a place full of poverty does not exist. Just because we may not be affected directly by TB or HIV does not mean that others are, and that they need our help. I believe that it is our responsibility to take even the smallest amount of our time to reflect on those who are suffering around the world. Although we may not be able to go directly to Haiti or other places of poverty as Farmer has and change the world with our own two hands, we can certainly afford the make the smallest amount of donations to organizations developed by the passionate people who are on the front lines of conflict.

Mathew Ferraiolo said...

My name is Mathew Ferraiolo and I will be majoring in electrical engineering.
To answer the first question, I think wealthier nations have the responsibility of taking care of poor nations. Not in all ways, just things such as government aid, medical aid, and financial aid, if the wealthier nation has the ability to do so. The money we lend though to countries in need should go to smaller organizations that will guarantee the money will be put to good use. If you hand the Haitian government millions of dollars, there’s no guarantee they will use it for its true purpose. Paul Farmer received money and grants from just a few people and organizations. With this money, he changed the world. Imagine what could be done if the entire country or if other countries too pitched in to help the poor?
The best way to act on this responsibility is the way Paul Farmer did it. Individual people or organizations need to set up programs in the poor countries. Then all the money and grants can be fed into these programs and better help the poor. Like I said before, giving money straight to the governments isn’t the best idea. No one will know what that money will be used for. Smaller organizations like the PIH in the book is the best way to act on all wealthier nation’s responsibilities.

Albin Werwaiss said...

Hi my name is Albin I’m a Marine Biology major. I believe that wealthier nations have the responsibility to help poorer countries in times of crisis. I would describe a crisis as any event that sets the country back to a point where a quick recovery is almost impossible. I think that Paul Farmer went above and beyond with his work in Haiti, Cuba and Russia. I don’t believe that it is the job of the wealthier nation to financially support poorer nations, I believe it is a responsibility of wealthier people both foreign and domestic of the poor country to create or support groups such as Partners in Health, just like Tom White. There is a large divide between the upper and lower class, for a wealthier person not to recognize this and want to help the poorer people makes one sick. Nations such as the US should create more programs like doctors with out boarders maybe make a mandatory year of residency in a poor third world country, much like Cuba which has exported many Doctors to help other third world countries.

Christine Le said...

Hi my name is Christine Le and I will be a Pharmaceutical Science major this coming fall. Wealthier nations should have some responsibilities towards those less fortunate in the third world countries but only to a certain extent. It is important that wealthier nations assist the poor countries but they should do so with caution. Poor countries may begin to expect and demand aid and the wealthier nations may begin to neglect domestic issues. However, this does not mean that wealthier nations should not aid in every way they can. This foreign aid can come in forms: money, food, medicine, etc. It is not only morally correct to assist poor countries but also important for foreign relations. The best way to act on this sense of responsibility is to install sources of clean water and send food. It seems that many of the diseases that have overwhelmed poor countries originate from malnutrition and infested waters. If wealthier nations are able to attack the issues at its stem then it is possible that it could reduce disease.

Molly said...

Hello my name is Molly and I am an incoming Marketing major. Reading this book opened my eyes to a variety of global issues such as poverty and disease control. We are so fortunate in America to have amazing healthcare and services at our finger tips, however many places in this world are not so fortunate. Countries like Haiti struggle every day with immense poverty and disease. Reading this novel has given me a deeper appreciation and understanding for the struggles that millions face throughout the world. Many people, including my family, donate to organizations and charities to help out throughout our country and the world. However, after reading this book, I think that the most beneficial way of helping out is by spreading the word. Just as I now have a deeper appreciation for these global issues, I feel that people around the world would benefit from a more in-depth understanding of these global concerns. Reading books like "Mountains Beyond Mountains," and doing additional research into the issues that the book presents will help create an international appreciation and support force for issues such as poverty and illnesses in third world countries. Yes donating money to charity is helpful, but spreading the word is even more beneficial. Most people, including myself before I read this book, are blind to theses issues. Now after gaining more knowledge on the issues at hand, have a deep concern and appreciation for the devastating happenings in other countries. Just as Paul Farmer does throughout the book, spreading the word and information about these topics is one of the most productive way of helping to find a solution to these global issues.

Abhijit Gudivada said...

“The only real nation is humanity.” What Paul Farmer did, and still does to this day, is nothing short of fascinating and inspiring. I think that the biggest problem of today’s world is ignorance to the sheer reality of the conditions of life. It is not an ignorance that comes from ignoring the truth, but instead an ignorance from the simple inability to know the full truth. When Farmer first went to Haiti, he was struck with horror at the conditions that people were living in, that is, until he visited Cange, which was much worse. The real problem is that people simply do not realize how bad situations are. Unfortunately, the media likes to focus on local celebrities instead of the real and terrible problems that are in this world.
Regardless, as members of a first world nation like the United States, we are obligated to do anything we can to help those who have been placed in unfair situations. This could be anything from donating money or food to raising more awareness of these worldwide situations. If more people were to find out the truth, the full situation and not just “Haiti is being hampered by bad conditions”, people would do more to help. As Farmer understood, “people can not care, erase, not remember” (219).
It is time people stopped worrying about money or “what can we get in return” and started realizing how every human is the same, regardless of location or status. Paul Farmer was able to do this and instead of worrying about anything else, he worried about his patients and how he could help them. Not every person can do what Paul Farmer did, but what we can do is to start thinking like him. The big idea here is that we are all humans and, in the end, all that matters is each other. Wealthier nations and the people in those nations need to help other nations like Haiti because they have the power to do so. They actually have the power to make a difference, as PIH proved, whether that be in terms of money, food, or medical treatment. It is our duty as human beings to help others who cannot help themselves. Richness or money does not matter because human beings are human beings whether or not they live in a rich country or can pay for their own treatment. Everybody is the same so everybody deserves equal treatment; this is the big moral we all need to accept and understand.

Kathryn Dufresne said...

My name is Kathryn and I am an incoming Nursing major. While I never in my life thought I would quote Spiderman: "With great power comes great responsibility". Despite all of the US's slipping statistics and rankings on the global stage, we still have great international power. With such advanced medical knowledge I think that we do have the responsibility to share that with the world. But we cannot directly interfere with individual countries to such an extent that they resort to depending solely on our money and efforts. We need to look after our own country too, and foreign countries need to be as self sustaining as possible in order to advance. Plus we are not a reliable donor considering our economic circumstances; how much can we afford to help, and for how long? Poor and suffering countries need to be able to support themselves in order to effectively shift into the economically challenging 21st century. By spreading our knowledge and training foreign countries we can influence better medical care and slowly improve the often abysmal standard of living. Just throwing money at countries does not help the devastating problem that is the rapid growth of inequality in social classes worldwide. While I think it is very important for members of the health profession to work globally to gain perspective and personally try to make as much a difference as possible on a small scale, in the end the bigger picture and problems are always bureaucratic and policy based. Problems which do not have easy or cheap solutions, especially with the often corrupt governmental roadblocks stopping progress everywhere.

Mitchel L said...

Hi, my name is Mitchel and I will be studying chemical engineering. The responsibilities of a wealthier nation to a poorer nation is to support the health of there people by means other than monetary donations. money given t the government of the poor country is used to make sure that the country stays the way it is more often then not. The better donation should be something like a water purifier or free medical help for the poor because most of the poorer countries have no clean drinking water or die of simple diseases that can be treated easily. Other ways of helping these country would to send groups of people to perform acts of charity like building houses, helping out farmers, etc.

Meagan said...

My name is Meagan, and I am a Pharmacy major. I think wealthier members of society have a moral obligation to give back to the community in some sort of way, and I think the best way to give back is to give to people who need it the most; populations of 3rd world countries without the means or ability to improve their situation without help. In terms of health and medicine, I think one of the most important lessons is that just sending money to the third world is not enough. While obviously money can solve a lot of the problems of impoverished medical systems, education and training to the population is just as crucial. For example, when fighting TB in Peru, PIH's main problem was that the doctors were not trained to recognize drug-resistant strands of TB, and so they just continued with the DOTS program, only worsening their patients' conditions. Because of this, I think education may be the most important way to give to poorer nations, so that they can learn to better themselves and ultimately solve their own problems instead of infinitely remaining poor and depending on the wealth of other nations.

Alysa Mullen said...

My name is Alysa Mullen and I am a Aquaculture major. I believe that wealthier nations have the responsibility of providing the less fortunate countries with things they may need. Like a big brother taking care of a little brother. Because they have more than they need they should be giving back. It isn't about just donating money as Farmer showed through out this novel. Education is a key component. Education was important when treating TB in Peru because the doctors there did not know how to properly treat multiple resistance TB based on what they were taught. With Farmer's help he was able to educate them more properly so people could be cured.

jaclyn said...

Hi I am Jaclyn, and I am an incoming Marketing major student. While reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I come to the conclusion that it is not that wealthier nations have to help poor countries like Haiti, but in fact we should want to help poor countries because it is the humane way of acting. I believe that there are two ways people in wealthy nations think regarding poor countries. One, they are not a part of our country, they are not our problem. Two, they are humans just like us, so how can I help? The first statement stems from lack of education regarding poor countries. It is easy to say no to a cause if you do not hear stories or experience them hands on. Saying that, the first step we need to take in helping poor countries is educating ourselves as well as our society on what is truly happening in these poor countries. We need to find a way to make what is not happening in our back yards more real. We can start by making it mandatory for teens around the world to learn about what is happening in poor countries. Students need to meet people who have experienced places like Rwanda, Darfur and, as we have read, Haiti. Like many, it was easy for me to ignore the reality taking place in these poor countries. I was fortunate enough to have met a doctor who helped out in Darfur and Rwanda. After seeing his pictures, which he snuck into America, he opened my eyes to the reality of the poor places around me just like Dr. Farmer did in the novel. They allowed me to visualize and feel emotions toward these helpless people. If our society meets the volunteers who go to the poor countries and hear their experiences, there will be an increase of donations as well as people flying to third world countries and volunteering.

Lauren said...

Hi, my name is Lauren and I’m an incoming nursing major. While reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I could not help but feel moved and inspired by Dr. Farmer. It was amazing to see how one man could change the lives of so many. Although Dr. Farmer could have had all the money he wanted, he acted selflessly and gave his money and time to people who needed it the most.
I feel as if people in wealthier nations should feel obligated to help those who are less fortunate, especially if they have the resources to help. At the very least, citizens of wealthier countries should be aware of what is going on in other countries. It’s true that people like Farmer are hard to find and not everyone is expected to act as heroic as he did. However, when such a valiant person like Dr. Farmer is trying to help those in need, people in wealthier nations should support the individual in any way possible, whether that means donating money or medicine.

Kelsea Adams said...

Hello everyone! After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I felt moved by the efforts of Doctor Paul Farmer. He is an excellent advocate for helping poorer nations and should be seen as one of our Heros. I absolutely feel that it is our responsibility as a wealthier nation to help the poor because it is a basic human principle. The famous quote "Do unto others, as you would like done onto you" is the prime example. Foremost, we must actually experience their everyday life and troubles and not just research the information. By doing so, the poorer nations will feel we are helping at a more personal level as does Doctor Paul Farmer. This will ensure trust in the people and will help us better understand their positions and need for help! Secondly, we must inform our own nation's people what we are doing to help others, in efforts to gain their help! Personally, I will be double majoring in Marine Biology and education in the fall, and as of right now I would love to help save our waters and educate our younger generations on how important they are! We all have our special niches in life, and we must use them to our advantage to make the world a better place!

Jason said...

Hi I'm Jason and I'm an incoming Environmental Science major. People in wealthier countries should definitely aid others suffering in poorer countries. Developed/wealthy countries should help out the less fortunate countries because it is a good deed to help others in need. Individuals in these wealthier countries should help by donating money to charities to help others in need. Paul Farmer is a great man who really wants to help others that are less fortunate. He traveled to places like Haiti, Peru, and Russia to aid people that were suffering from horrible diseases, such as TB and HIV. Farmer went out of his way to help hundreds of people become healthy again by providing adequate healthcare to people who were suffering. Everyone in wealthier nations should be educated on developing countries and what they go through each day. Teaching people about the hardships of others who are poor will be beneficial because they will want to help the poor. But, like others have mentioned, we can not give the needy too much because then they will be totally dependent on us. Poorer nations need to learn how to support themselves better. We should provide education to places like Haiti about how to take better care of yourself so the people there will learn new ways of living to help them be more healthy. Now I know some people don't have enough resources to prosper, but if we teach them better ways of living then it will help the poor. The USA has been known in the past to help others in need, and we should keep that reputation because it makes the world a better place if we know more people are living adequately. But, we have to make sure all of our problems in the USA are solved before we give money to others. There are still a lot of homeless people in America that we should help out as well. Once our problems are solved, we should teach people in the USA how unfortunate others are, and we should continue to help developing nations.

Babacar said...

Hi my name is Babacar and i am an incoming biology/pre-med student and this book was a very good read. I feel that Dr. Farmer has shown that we should do what's right and we should not stray away from helping other's so i feel that it is greatly justified that individuals in wealthier nations should help the poor. As seen in the book Dr. Farmers facility was outdated and he had little to no money from time to time but he found a way to make things happen. He cured people from many disease that people in wealthier nations hardly ever get due to the vaccinations given at birth and later down the road. I feel that we do not realize what's going on in other countries and how they do not have the resources necessary to combat these diseases and that the world should be more aware and more helpful of others. More people in wealthier nations need to band together and help poorer nations like Haiti the country that Dr. Farmer worked in. It's very rewarding to help others as doctor Farmer stated even if you do not have anything at all the prospect of just giving a little to save someone's life is very rewarding in itself. People in wealthier nations should be less selfish and more open to the idea of making the world better and richer and i feel that Dr. Farmer's mission was to do just this to make the world a better place and he has become one of my inspirations and fuels to becoming a doctor it makes it all the more worth while now.

Carly Amurao said...

Hello All! My name is Carly, I am an incoming Communicative Disorders major student. Reading about Dr. Paul Farmer and his life, struggles and all, has been amazingly eye opening. I believe that I am a fairly open minded person. I aspire to help others that need it, yet to devote your life to a cause so complicated, and large as he has; that is something I believe everyone can find inspiring. I've known people who've gone to haiti, even just for a week, to help rebuild homes cause by the past natural disasters there; so I had some idea of poverty. Yet the descriptions in this novel well exceeded what I imagined them to be. As much as I enjoyed reading and learning about the culture, voodooism, the impoverished towns, I also found this new found information heart-wrenching. I'll be honest, it made me uncomfortable. It was hard to read the first few chapters because all I could think is: "why aren't I doing anything?"

Following this question, I realize that for most people, ignorance is why the PROPER aid is given to these countries. In my opinion, I feel medical aid and actual food are the best answers for aiding other countries. I know the United States has plenty of issues to deal with, but that doesn't mean we can't keep aiding countries in Africa, or Haiti. One of my favorite ideas from the novel is this idea that no matter what country you are from, what wealth you were brought up in, we are all human beings, and everyone has the basic right for health care, education, and a people run government.

I feel the best way anyone in a wealthier country, if they're not able or willing to give money, is to educate people who ARE willing or able. So many people are in the dark to the truly cruel and indescribable situations countries put their people in. Whether it is the culture or not, if a person's human rights are being conflicted, it is the duty of anyone who can help to help. Donate to foundations (although proper research should be done first to know where the proceeds are going), go on a mission trip (for those who are ambitious of course), or even volunteering with the red cross can give you great opportunities. The biggest thing to understand about having opportunity, is that we're so FORTUNATE to have it, and there is so much we can do WITH it.

Anthony Cicalese said...

My name is Anthony Cicalese and I am a Kinesiology Major. Reading about the life and work of Doctor Paul Farmer was very interesting and inspiring. I believe that wealthier nations should not turn their backs on under-developed countries, such as Haiti. The people in these poor nations are the same as us, just without the privileges and opportunities that are available to us each and every day. Wealthier nations have a surplus of a lot of goods that are desperately needed in third world countries. If we don’t need them, why waste them? I support the way Dr. Farmer approached each situation he faced as well. Instead of giving the less fortunate money, we should aid them in other fields such as education and a stable government. That way, they can get on their feet and become a stable, wealthy nation themselves in the future. As a superpower in the world, the United States needs to set an example for the rest of the world to follow. As John Winthrop said when he arrived to this land, “We are to be a city on top of the hill.” Winthrop tells his people that this land is unique, and all other nations will look up to them because they are perfect.

Mandie said...

Hey, my name is Mandie, I'm a pharmacy major. This is my take on the book: Everyone, wealthy or not, should contribute to society in one way or another. This means that people who are wealthier definitely have an obligation to help those of lower class. That being said, their contributions don't necessarily need to be financial, but could also be work of Farmer's nature. Continuing on this pattern, people of say middle to lower class, can contribute to less wealthy countries by simply using their talents and knowledge to help out. Paul Farmer demonstrated this extremely well. The amount of time that Farmer helped people of less wealthy nations was quite excessive and it amounted to being his full time job. This does not necessarily need to be everyone's contribution, but some sort of contribution nonetheless is needed by everyone to keep moving forward in helping poor countries. Not only do money contributions help tremendously, especially in the world of medicine, but spreading knowledge to these countries is crucial to get them on their feet. Not only do you need healthy people, but you need educated people to run the country and keep the country on it's feet. To educate people of poor nations, a strong government and school system need to be in place. People in wealthier nations obviously know this strategy works because without it, they would not be where they are today. Since they are able to help in some way, their contributions are all the more necessary and become a responsibility. Unfortunately, people go about their daily lives, and until it hits them square in the face, many don't realize the world is not such a beautiful place in some spots. Farmer and his team were shocked at what they saw, but they stepped up to the plate and took action. Farmer's lead should influence others in nations like our own to help in poor nations that need our help. Whether it be money, a mission trip, clothes donations, whatever is available to give, it simply needs to be given. Every little bit helps. This book was horrifying to read when such graphic cases came up, but we must face reality and know that people in those nations need our help!

Ashley Li said...

My name is Ashley and I’m a pharmacy major.
Honestly, statistics don’t work very well on me. Even when I hear shocking and horrible ones, such as the 925 million hungry people in the world, 6,000 children per day who become orphans in Africa alone, and 38,493 children who die every day, I feel sad for a moment, and then I try to hear and look at more pleasant things. I think the most crucial responsibility we have towards people in poorer countries is to remember that they are not numbers; numbers can get dull and old. They are people who have undeniable rights and worth and dignity, and we, with money and comfortable lives, are in no way more valuable than them. This is much more easier said than done, but when humbly remind ourselves this, then we can act responsibly and seek to bring about equal opportunities for them, whether that means access to education, jobs, clean water, sustainable food sources…etc.

Mandie said...

Hey! I’m Mandie and I am an incoming Pharmacy major. After reading this book, I was both saddened with the stories that were told about people in poor countries, but at the same time, motivated and inspired by what Paul Farmer has done. Wealthier nations have established themselves with strong governments, schools and orderly rules and regulations that allow for the flow of the country. Poor nations lack some part of this equation, which has led most of them to their current state which requires help. This help must come from wealthier nations in the form of contributions and education. As wealthier nations, we must first contribute with our money in ways that will help people become healthy. Simply put, we need people to be healthy enough to run the country before we go about trying to help them economically. Money contributions need to be handled in a way that the money is being used for medical purposes and steps in the right direction to getting the country on it’s feet. Wealthier nations should feel a sense of responsibility to contribute, whether it be knowledge or money, because they should feel it is the right thing to do. People in wealthier nations can sit there and know they live the way they do because their country’s systems are all in check. Wealthier people should want to contribute and help these nations. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize what some parts of the world live like, until it hits them in the face. Whether it be money, clothes donations, education or a mission trip, every little bit helps to bring this world to a better place. Everyone should feel the need to help out in anyway they can. Farmer accomplished this by sharing his love of medicine with people of poor nations. The book shows that one person can start out alone, and then have many others jump aboard, teaming together, to make this world a healthier, safer place.

Jenna said...

hi my name is Jenna. I am an incoming biological science major. I believe that wealthier nations have the responsibility to care and do whatever they can to help out the less fortunate countries. Wealthier countries have the advantage and should help out the countries that are in need. Farmer approached the situation and helped out the poor by actually going to the country and helping whoever needed it. He didn't care if he hadn't eaten in hours or slept. He was determined to help the poor countries until everyone was cured. This is an example of expressing the responsibility. He could have stayed at home and helped his people in his own country but he decided to help out the people who needed it the most. I think that it is the wealthier nations responsibility to help out the people that they can. However, it is impossible to help every person out there they needs it. But the small steps that Farmer takes is an example of how other people should help out.

Jenna said...

hi my name is Jenna. I am an incoming biological science major. I believe that wealthier nations have the responsibility to care and do whatever they can to help out the less fortunate countries. Wealthier countries have the advantage and should help out the countries that are in need. Farmer approached the situation and helped out the poor by actually going to the country and helping whoever needed it. He didn't care if he hadn't eaten in hours or slept. He was determined to help the poor countries until everyone was cured. This is an example of expressing the responsibility. He could have stayed at home and helped his people in his own country but he decided to help out the people who needed it the most. I think that it is the wealthier nations responsibility to help out the people that they can. However, it is impossible to help every person out there they needs it. But the small steps that Farmer takes is an example of how other people should help out.

Alyssa said...

Hi my name is Alyssa and I am an incoming animal science major. I think wealthier nations should want and need to help the poor. If they have the extra money to do so they should. The wealthier nations need to keep up with their own essentials but once they have that they should be looking to help someone else that is less fortunate. Giving up your stuff that is not essential to help others is a good way to help but they need more then just that; they need wealthier nations to come and help them. Not like in the book where it destroyed everything and made it worse but just help to make things clean and rebuild. By the end of the book I was amazing by the amount of things Farmer had accomplished and he didn't do everything by himself but he started it and met a bunch of people who really helped him do what he had wanted. He didn't completely cure and fix everything but he started a great thing that will only keep getting better. I believe it is very important for every one no matter how much money you have to have clean water, food, a roof over your head, and medicine. I found the book very interesting and I never would of thought that one person could start all that.

Nickel man said...

Hi, I'm Nickolai and I'm an incoming Pharmacy student. I believe that since individuals have the resources and technology to give aid to poorer countries, they should do exactly that. We should help as many people as we possibly can, but we must also not forget the poor and sick in our own country first. As long as the sick at home are being tended to, I think it is perfectly reasonable to reach out and help everybody else. Giving a valuable cure to hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti would not seem right if many people at home were infected with the same disease. However, I'm not saying that Dr. Farmer in "Mountains Beyond Mountains" was just wasting valuable research which could have been applied in the USA. Farmer had the right idea. He found a problem unique to its location, for example TB and AIDS in a russian prison or Haiti, so he didn't have to think that he was just absent-mindedly overlooking some horrible disease in the USA and treating it in some foreign country. The best way to act on the responsibility felt by the people that want to help is to become directly involved as soon as possible, before the thought decides to fade within your mind, before you start to come up with many excuses to not become directly involved. Farmer's actions went along way and this shows his passion and how he would like everybody else to act upon everything they are passionate about.

Anne said...

Hi, I am Anne and am a kinesiology major. "Mountains Beyond Mountains" has inspired me to want to help and succeed like Paul Farmer, even if it starts with me being a physical therapist, I hope to travel and help where it is needed most. If I myself had the money to help and travel like Dr. Farmer, than I would do it in a heartbeat. I believe that if someone has more than enough money, they should donate or find a way to help people who need it more than they do. Like in the book, some of the people only needed water and a safe shelter, or food, etc, in order to feel better. It is the little things in life that count and make a difference.
One of the biggest things that stuck to me while reading was the quote, "God gives but doesn't share". Basically, God puts everything out there for one to achieve, reach, feel, etc, but it is up to them to get it because he does not distribute it evenly. Unfortunately, depending where and what one is born into, plays a huge factor on the life they will live. It is up to those who realize this and are capable of changing that to help them achieve and reach better things because sometimes all you need is a little help. Just like Paul Farmer, he went to Haiti and made a difference to many people who needed it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Kim and I am an incoming Biomedical Engineering major. I think what Paul Farmer did is amazing, and not many people can do what he did. It takes a lot of passion and determination, as well as skill to do what he did. He could have just worked in the United States and tried to find a cure for a disease we have not found a cure for, as well as making a high salary. He chose to help people who needed it most, helping every person he could. He had created a charity specifically for helping the poor people, trying to raise money to do more for them and became involved in international problems and helped out a lot more people rather than just helping people in one country, Haiti. People said he should spend less time on Haiti specifically, and spend more time on the world’s problems, but he still liked working at Zamni Lasante in Cange and helping the patients one by one, developing personal relationships with them. He kept going back whenever he could, and would spend half a day visiting a couple of his patients at their homes. He truly loved what he did, and did everything he could to help the people in Haiti, and later helped people in Peru and Russia as well.
As for individuals wanting to help his cause, volunteering would make a difference, but if people don’t have the skills to work at a place like Zamni Lasante and help the patients one on one like Paul Farmer and his employees did, they could donate instead, and still help them.
Charities with commercials on television will tell you with a small monthly price, you could make a difference to an individual, which is true. If enough people donate a little amount of money, it could add up to a lot. Farmer had one large donor, Tom White, which helped his project move forward more quickly in the beginning. It would have taken him a lot longer to get started if it weren’t for his generosity.
At one of Paul Farmer’s meetings it seemed like the only reason why so many people in the world are sick is because they do not have the money to treat all of them, so they won’t even try to treat any of them. They look at it as how many people they can treat with the money given, and treating regular TB patients would cure more people than the MDR-TB patients. Farmer looked at it as helping the people that were the neediest, but still treatable.
I think that wealthier nations should try to help poorer nations as best they can. It is unfair that a third world country is suffering from diseases people rarely get in the United States. He saw this, and made a difference in so many people’s lives, had it not been for him, they would never even have had a chance.

Steven said...

Hi, my name is Steven and I am an incoming Computer Science/Film major student. I think that individuals in wealthier nations such as the United States should give their help and services to people in poorer countries such as Haiti. The things Farmer did, such as push for vaccines and medicine that help prevent TB, are things that not everybody can accomplish, but they should have the attitude of helping people who are less fortunate than themselves. Unfortunately it is an attitude which not many people have. Another thing we should do is teach them how to help their people. Farmer does a lot of work to keep people well, but he is not native of the countries he helps in. What we should do is have people like Farmer educate these people so that they can have some doctors of their own that can do the same work as him. One other thing that we need to do as a government is make sure that if we give countries money for aid, the money goes to the right places. In poorer nations, money received from wealthier countries intended to go to supplying food or providing housing, may go to the government or army to spend on their own needs. These are some of the things we can do to help countries in worse situations in us, because after all, “We’re all human beings.”

Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Erin and I am an incoming Nursing major. What the book meant to me was that it's not good to be naive to what is going on around in the world. We should learn about the different places around the world that are in poverty and help them as a nation Dr. Farmer's work showed me that you should be passionate about your job and that you should always be aware about what is going on around the world. I liked his approach to helping the poor and how he genuinely cared about the patients instead of just being someone who was just doing their job. His kindness and personal interest to the people's lives in Haiti showed me that we should not be close minded to others and we should not be so selfish. If you have an lavish lifestyle you should take the time to help out other poorer nations who can not afford to care for themselves. Everyone should be selfless at times in their lives and learn to care for others. I also liked the methods of Dr. Farmer. I liked that fact that he wanted to employ Haitian workers and that he wanted to show them how to care for themselves instead of relying on others.

Nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nate said...

I'm Nate, an incoming film media major. While I believe, there are bonds between families and friends, and ties between citizen and country, each individual has no forced responsibility to his fellow man. Society and religion have thrust the notion of helping those less fortunate upon us, but that's not natural, survival of the fittest is natural. Helping others gives the vast majority of people a sense of pride and accomplishment, and knowing that he or she has made a difference. It is the conscious of each man and women that allows human beings as a species to thrive. Farmer is one such individual from a wealthier nation that has enjoyed and made a large difference in poor communities worldwide.
The most direct way to help less fortunate countries would be by joining the peace core or a program designed to help poorer places. Donating to well known and effective charities is also an excellent way to aid others.

Faith Ratshin said...

Hello, my name is Faith, and I'm an incoming pharmacy major. Mountains Beyond Mountains was inspiring. Dr. Farmer, along with some of his team members, had acted with responsibility and compassion for man, which is something that is often ignored. As observed in the book, Haiti suffers from poverty, malnutrition, an oppressive government, disease, and other problems. This is not the only part of the world that's suffering. Wealthier nations should provide aid to destitute nations, and not just monetarily, though that is also of importance. Wealthy nations have a plethora of resources, such as medicines, food, and knowledge. It should be the responsiblity of an individual to give what they can, whether it be one's own time or resources. Though it would be magnificent if everyone able could act as Dr. Farmer has, it is not realistic. Instead, it is hopeful that everyone at least tries to better the world. This could be something as small as spreading awareness of the terrors of suffering or volunteering in a helpful organization one is passionate about. Education is key to battling problems, and the more education there is, the better the chance of advancing the situation. Education, however, is not the only element needed; actual effort, participation, and dedication are also necessities. Dr. Farmer "was after transformation"(44). With these components, transformation can be achieved. Like the title says, there are mountains beyond moutains, but it is up to the individual to continue on, no matter how many obstacles or how difficult the path may be.

Kirsten Santimays said...

Hi, my name is Kirsten and I am an incoming Textile Merchandising & Design major. I think that Dr. Paul Farmer’s quest to eradicate diseases in poor countries is a great example for how people in wealthy nations can use their resources to help those less fortunate. I think the best way is to reach out through organizations, like the ones Dr. Farmer was networking with, to find out the best opportunities to help. At first, I think that the problems in poorer countries can seem very daunting and overwhelming for one person to solve. However, when you are born into a developed nation, you have resources and opportunities that allow you to make a difference. For instance, Dr. Farmer attended schools like Duke and Harvard, where he was able to receive an education and form his talents. That in itself is a gift that should be shared to help people, and it should be shared with those who do not have access to the same technology and education. Hearing about Dr. Farmer working to cure diseases that no longer exist in America highlighted for me how a single person can work effectively, using their strengths and talents, through an established organization to make a difference.

Jaclyn Friedman said...

As an incoming Marine Biology student, I completely agree with Mara. For example, my main passion in life is the ocean, as silly as that may sound. So, by deciding to major in marine biology and minor in sustainability, I will be able to become even more involved with the things I love and I will be able to take more of a responsibility for the what is happening with regard to them because I will be properly educated to care for those issues. So, by having such a strong passion for a certain thing I feel more obligated to take responsibility and act to help the things that I love.
One reason that I have so much respect for Paul Farmer is because he knew what he loved, and that would be nursing people back to health and solving medical mysteries, and he went after what he loves in areas that needed it the most. Not once did he take the easy way out of anything. He was so dedicated to his work and that is so incredible. The responsibility that Dr. Farmer felt was very great and he did not let anything get in his way. I admire that so much and wish to become somewhat like Dr. Farmer with respect to a passion of my own.
-Jaclyn Friedman

Brenno Ribeiro said...

Hi my name is Brenno Ribeiro and I am an incoming Mechanical Engineering and German major. I definitely believe that individuals in wealthier nations should have an obligation to help others in less fortunate countries. But I think that sending money to these poor countries is not enough because like Ten said, the money would probably not go the people of these countries. The money would most likely go to governments and be taken by corrupt officials. In my opinion the best way to help the people of these countries would be to donate money to honest organizations that are dedicated in helping the people of these nations or preferably helping them directly like Farmer did.
A single person can make a big difference and help many in poor nations, but like Marc Adams said these projects should be done with international collaboration and not by a single person. The best way to act on these responsibilities would definitely be to donate money to organizations and for some individuals to do exactly as Farmer did and take matters into their own hands.

Kristin Bertsch said...

I believe that individuals in wealthier nations do not have a responsibility to help those whom require help in poor countries. In fact, I don’t believe that wealthy people have a responsibility to help those poorer than them in their own country. I do not say this because I am a mean person, but because it isn’t anybody’s responsibility to help another person, but rather a generous and selfless choice that we all should morally make. An individual, who is able to supply aid, donate energy, or contribute time, should make it a priority to help those in need, particularly those in very poverished countries. A person in a wealthier country does not have a responsibility to help someone in another country, but someone who makes it a responsibility to sacrifice a part of their life towards helping others, even in a different country, is a rare and considerate human being. One of these rare people is Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who sacrificed everything in his life to help those in very poor areas of the world. Dr. Farmer donated money, time, energy, medicine, education, and family to cure thousands of people in deprived parts of the world that were dying of various diseases such as MDR (Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis), Tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS. However, just because Dr. Paul Farmer donated such a vast amount of his life towards the improvement of these countries, doesn’t mean it is other individual’s responsibilities to also contribute as much as Dr. Farmer had. Dr. Paul Farmer’s contributions were beyond generous, but there are still other ways people can act out their own moral responsibilities, if they so desire, to help others in need. The best ways to act on their sense of responsibility is to start contributing in whatever way they feel will be not only a relief to a country in need, but also give them a secure feeling that their sacrifice was worth it. This is critical because this powerful feeling cannot not only inspire a continued donation from that individual, but also spark a need to help others in that individual’s friends or family. Whether it is donating money to a charity that gives to underprivileged countries, speaking out to audiences about the importance of relief in poor countries from those who can afford to help, or even going directly to a poor country to physically volunteer your time and energy to help make a difference, there are many ways to express this sense of responsibility that we all should feel, but it is up to us to actually start acting out these different methods of aid.

R. Reynolds 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. Then again, the way that the 1st world countries have been running themselves lately I doubt that even they will be able operate effectively in the near future...

- R. Reynolds

Alison said...

Hi my name is Alison. I think the book shined a lot of light on issues that are present in the world today that we are still trying to solve. I think that its very important for people in wealthier nations to do everything they can in order to help people in poorer countries improve their quality of life. Instead of just providing them with food and money, we need to give them the tools, knowledge and skill to get them out of poverty. This way, they gain a sense of pride and accomplishment and are given a taste of independence and freedom, all things that will lead them to a better life for themselves and the next generation. We need more determined people like Farmer, who are willing and devoted to making a difference.

Alexis Abilheira said...

Hi, my name is Alexis A. and I am a Kinesiology major. I agree with what most people have to say about the fact that America is one of the wealthiest countries and it should be one of our top priorities to help out other poorer nations, including Haiti. However, it is difficult to take care of other countries when our country has economical problems of its own. Although giving money is a major factor in helping the less fortunate, there is more that needs to be done; we must take action to help them. The book "Mountains Beyond Mountains" is a good example of what should be done. Throughout the book Farmer does more than give the people of Haiti food, water, and medicine, he gets involved with them on a more personal level. Farmer devotes his life to helping the people of Haiti fight off diseases and spends a major part of his life living in the country. He gets to know the people through their culture and becomes one of them, without criticizing their way of life. It is obvious that Farmer's determination had a great impact on Haiti and should be a role model for the society of our country.

Ryan said...

Hello, my name is Ryan and i am an incoming engineering major.
Like many others have said, wealthy nations such as the United States do have some responsibility to aid poorer nations. However, what I think is important to keep in mind is that there are many people here in the United States who struggle to survive day to day. In addition to the poverty problem we have in America, we also have very expensive prescriptions and medical service fees, much of what Farmer encountered were people who could not get treatment due to the fact that they could not afford it, this is in issue for many people right here in the US. So although I think think that it great to assist poorer nations I also think it is important that we don't forget about the people who struggling in wealthy nations.

Alessandra said...

Hi, my name is Alessandra and I'm an incoming PharmD student. When I first started reading, a thought crossed my mind that this book was just about some man and his journey but it truly stands for so much more. Everyday in my life I don't always realize how fortunate I am. From my health to a supportive family and simply the bed I am able to sleep in every night under a roof, I may take for granted these things. Of course I've heard the condition of places like Haiti where disease and infection is a common case and surrounds everyone but I didn't understand the effect as much as I do now. Through Kidder, I was able to get a glimpse of what Farmer saw through his lens. The way we all look through a lens differs due to the individuality of every person. When Farmer sat upon a hill overlooking Do Kay, he saw two different outlooks, some positive about the progress he made along with others and some negative such as the failure and death. It is all how you look at life and being able to allow the positive progress inspire you to continue change for the better.

Individuals everywhere should come together and establish a sense of community, working together to form a bond of comfort and support. People in wealthier nations can deliver and provide help to those that are less fortunate in a variety of different acts. The first step though is to spread the word. Through all the media and social networking that is a major part of some peoples' lives, any news could be spread at the click of a button. What needs to happen though and the most important part is to listen and act on what should be done. Unfortunately or fortunately, money has a bearing on a lot of aspects of one's life but nothing should be all about that. Taking the time to understand one's culture, society, politics, tradition, etc. is one way to gain a connection with people in other countries. Donating, whether it is money, blood, clothing, food, or time and talents, is an effort to help those who are in need. Foundations where fundraising occurs and actually being allowed to meet the person you're helping can have such a powerful and inspiring impact on both parties. Something as simple as kits with medicine, band aids, and first-aid material can be sent to other countries to provide aid. By simply offering and sharing your knowledge, you can provide education to those who may not have been lucky enough to receive it. Just as Farmer was a "compass" with one leg swinging the globe and the other planted in Haiti, we can be the same, for a compass can spin around in all directions (people reaching out and visiting or donating to other countries), and still touch every place before you end up back home.

Lauren Cohen said...

Hi, my name is Lauren and I'm a nursing major. The book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, really changed my view on things. I realized how lucky I am for the things I have. I think that wealthier nations such as the United States do have some responsibility to help poor countries. I think if we have the ability to help others we should do whatever we can. After reading the book I started noticing how fortunate we all are here and how people just waste their money and take things for granted. I saw a two year old boy who could hardly know how to talk or walk using an iPad. If his parents and many others in my town have the money to buy their small children items they don't need or can hardly use then they should help out and donate some money to those who hardly have food. While I think we should help poor countries I also think our first priority is helping our own. One part of the book really surprised me. When the book talked about the part that people in new york city were struggling almost as bad as people in Haiti, I questioned why we aren't making any effort to help them and why our main focus is other countries when people are living in poverty practically in our backyard. In my opinion wealthier countries should do what they can to help who ever they can no matter where they are.

The best way to act on this sense of responsibility is donating. If each person donates just a small amount of money then we could help a lot of people. We need to make sure they have the supplies they need for good medical care and food. We shouldn't be trying to fix other countries just help them make sure they have what they need to keep everyone healthy.

Lindsey said...

Hi my name is Lindsey and I'm an incoming nursing student. In my opinion, I believe that individuals in wealthier nations have the responsibility to help those in need who live in poor countries. I think that if a person is able to donate or help others who are not capable of helping or providing for themselves of their families, then whoever is fortunate enough to be able to survive on their own and donate money or supplies to others, should. Donating or helping people in poor countries not only improves their way of living but will also make you feel proud and pride in yourself for doing such a good deed. From reading this book, I found that the most important way to express or act on these responsibilities is that someone can donate their time to a poor country. Yes, donating money will help the country too but actually being there, in the poor country is a totally different experience.
On another note this book really made me realize how fortunate I am to live the way I do. I am able to live everyday knowing I have clean water to drink, I will have clean clothes on my back, and warm food to eat. Reading about the lifestyles in Haiti made me feel sad for those who have to live that way. But it also made me angry at the wealthy people in this nation. From personal experience, at the day care I worked at during the spring for kids k-6, every kid who attended either had an ipod, cell phone, or some sort of electronic. Also, they would gloat about the laptops or ipads that they had at home. Parents should stop spending their money on things that their kids probably barely know how to use and help others who don't even have the bare essentials of life. Not only are their people living in poverty in poor countries, but also in the United States. With that said, I believe that those of you who are fortunate enough to get by and still have money left over, should think about it and really consider donating it to either those who live in poverty in the United States or in other poor countries around the world. The feeling you get from donating will triumph over any feeling you get from playing some video game or electronic.


Nate said...

Hi, my name is Nate, and I am an incoming Criminal Justice major. I think that individuals definitely do have, not only a responsibility to help needier countries, but they have an obligation to do so. I believe that it is not simple conscience or good will which demands this obligation, but that Jesus Christ, the Lord of all creation requests our devoted service to needier nations. I think that it is imperative to take on this responsibility because Jesus has commanded us to serve, for even He, a King, came down the earth "not to be served but to serve." God says that we, in our abundance of resources, should supply the resources needed by others to provide for their basic needs. I believe that Farmer has a passion and devotion to the poor that I, as a believer in Christ will never be able to match by myself. This kind of care and love comes only from God alone. I believe that it is extremely important for people to donate money to groups that help the unfortunate, however, I also believe that it is equally important to join in the service and meet the need face to face. I, for one, see myself extremely lacking in my desire to serve and give up my comfortable life to help other as Farmer is doing. This novel has helped me realize that I really do need to step out of my comfort zone and to get uncomfortable for those in need. I feel that everyone is aware of the issue of extreme poverty in places like Haiti, but not everyone is fully embracing that fact, especially as Americans. Constantly, we Americans think only of ourselves and how we can make more money to buy cooler things and achieve our own American dream. We should undeniably focus more on how we can improve other people's lives so that they can at least form up a dream of success in their own minds. Most people in Haiti could care less how much money they make or how much stuff they have, as long as they have what they need to provide for their families first and then themselves. Sacrifice is one of the most difficult choices that and American can make with integrity, but it is a necessary step which will open one's eyes to the reality of the world around them and will inspire them to take care of the people whom God loves.

Matthew 25 verses 34-36 says:
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'"

Although the author doesn't say so, is seems like Farmer lived his life according to these couple of verses. He eagerly took care of the poor, desolate, and needy as if he were taking care of his own children.

Cristina said...

Hi I'm Cristina and I'm and incoming undecided student. After reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" I've realized how little wealthy countries are trying to help poorer countries. We all live in one world and there is no way that we can just ignore the needs of another country. Some people believe that just giving money to poorer countries will make everything better, but that's just not the case. The government takes most of that money and uses it for other selfish needs instead of caring for the needs of the people. I like the way that Dr. Farmer approached the situation. He went straight to the people and did all he could to help. He even went so far as to try and convince others to help him in his pursuit. Farmer also doesn't help people for selfish reasons, but for the joy that it brings him when he helps someone in need. People like Farmer are the reason that awareness for all these diseases have increased.

Daniella said...

Hi my name is Daniella, and I am an incoming nursing student...first I must say I was shocked and surprised when reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains." I had always known Haiti was a poorer nation, but I had never really realized what being a poor nation meant, and this book allowed me to see what I had been missing. With that said, I have to completely agree with both Marissa and Catie, who posted before me, regarding that, yes, wealthier nations have a definite responsibility to helping poorer ones and the best way to help them is for wealthier nations to stop being ignorant. In my experience, once I read this book, and understood the difficulties of living in a poor country, I was inspired to take action to help and am currently looking into different ways to do so (because more needs to be done then just sending money). A little goes a long way, and maybe if there was more media attention to poorer nations and how people are helping in different ways, I believe people will get inspired to help too, even if it's something small, like donating clothes, or volunteering somewhere. I know it is easier said than down, but it all comes down to people learning and understanding what is going on in the world and reaching out to help.

Daniella said...

Hi my name is Daniella, and I am an incoming nursing student...first I must say I was shocked and surprised when reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains." I had always known Haiti was a poorer nation, but I had never really realized what being a poor nation meant, and this book allowed me to see what I had been missing. With that said, I have to completely agree with both Marissa and Catie, who posted before me, regarding that, yes, wealthier nations have a definite responsibility to helping poorer ones and the best way to help them is for wealthier nations to stop being ignorant. In my experience, once I read this book, and understood the difficulties of living in a poor country, I was inspired to take action to help and am currently looking into different ways to do so (because more needs to be done then just sending money). A little goes a long way, and maybe if there was more media attention to poorer nations and how people are helping in different ways, I believe people will get inspired to help too, even if it's something small, like donating clothes, or volunteering somewhere. I know it is easier said than down, but it all comes down to people learning and understanding what is going on in the world and reaching out to help.

Daniella said...

Hi my name is Daniella, and I am an incoming nursing student...first I must say I was shocked and surprised when reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains." I had always known Haiti was a poorer nation, but I had never really realized what being a poor nation meant, and this book allowed me to see what I had been missing. With that said, I have to completely agree with both Marissa and Catie, who posted before me, regarding that, yes, wealthier nations have a definite responsibility to helping poorer ones and the best way to help them is for wealthier nations to stop being ignorant. In my experience, once I read this book, and understood the difficulties of living in a poor country, I was inspired to take action to help and am currently looking into different ways to do so (because more needs to be done then just sending money). A little goes a long way, and maybe if there was more media attention to poorer nations and how people are helping in different ways, I believe people will get inspired to help too, even if it's something small, like donating clothes, or volunteering somewhere. I know it is easier said than down, but it all comes down to people learning and understanding what is going on in the world and reaching out to help.

Daniella said...

Hi my name is Daniella, and I am an incoming nursing student...first I must say I was shocked and surprised when reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains." I had always known Haiti was a poorer nation, but I had never really realized what being a poor nation meant, and this book allowed me to see what I had been missing. With that said, I have to completely agree with both Marissa and Catie, who posted before me, regarding that, yes, wealthier nations have a definite responsibility to helping poorer ones and the best way to help them is for wealthier nations to stop being ignorant. In my experience, once I read this book, and understood the difficulties of living in a poor country, I was inspired to take action to help and am currently looking into different ways to do so (because more needs to be done then just sending money). A little goes a long way, and maybe if there was more media attention to poorer nations and how people are helping in different ways, I believe people will get inspired to help too, even if it's something small, like donating clothes, or volunteering somewhere. I know it is easier said than down, but it all comes down to people learning and understanding what is going on in the world and reaching out to help.

Daniella said...

Hi my name is Daniella, and I am an incoming nursing student...first I must say I was shocked and surprised when reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains." I had always known Haiti was a poorer nation, but I had never really realized what being a poor nation meant, and this book allowed me to see what I had been missing. With that said, I have to completely agree with both Marissa and Catie, who posted before me, regarding that, yes, wealthier nations have a definite responsibility to helping poorer ones and the best way to help them is for wealthier nations to stop being ignorant. In my experience, once I read this book, and understood the difficulties of living in a poor country, I was inspired to take action to help and am currently looking into different ways to do so (because more needs to be done then just sending money). A little goes a long way, and maybe if there was more media attention to poorer nations and how people are helping in different ways, I believe people will get inspired to help too, even if it's something small, like donating clothes, or volunteering somewhere. I know it is easier said than down, but it all comes down to people learning and understanding what is going on in the world and reaching out to help.

Anonymous said...

The book “Mountains Beyond Mountains” makes you stop…and think…What have a taken for granted today. People around the world are living with no electricity, no water, no food, horrendous diseases, and little or no infrastructure, while others live lives of luxury where it is considered a day-ruiner if the battery of their phone dies or if their sandwich is made incorrectly in line at the deli. This novel describes the development of the organization Partners in Health from a small group of friends and volunteers to many paid staffers. However, the goal of the organization has remained the same thanks to the work of Paul Farmer and the other founders, “[Doing] whatever it takes to bring quality medical care to the world’s poor.” When people around the world are dying from diseases, which there are cures, and their families are suffering watching them perish, a simple shot can change everything. After reading this book I feel more motivated than ever to continue pursuing my career of a doctor and giving all I can to people in need.

Amanda said...

My name is Amanda and I am an incoming Biology and Spanish major. Reading “Mountains Beyond Mountains” by Tracy Kidder has introduced me to a new image of Haiti as well as the other countries mentioned throughout the book. Knowing the many of these countries were much poorer than others, I had expected that conditions there would be far from an acceptable standard, but I never imagined how that would affect their health care system. Growing up in the United States, I think many of us take advantage of how lucky we really are. Most of us have never experienced diseases like those described in Tracy Kidder’s book due to the fact that we are privileged enough to have excellent medical services provided to us. Reading what these people had to go through made me realize that wealthier nations should take some responsibility for poorer nations, we would never want to go through what any of them have experienced and should take action towards helping them so that they don’t have to.

Dr. Farmer is truly an inspiration. He helped people in these countries simply because he was trying to make the world a better place, and he gained the support and help of others along the way. If more people had the same motivation and good intentions as Dr. Farmer, then things like this could be happening all around the world. Even when Dr. Farmer had some type of struggle to overcome, he always managed to get his way, especially when it came to getting more funding for his organization. Personally, I believe that if there were more people like Dr. Farmer and more people who were willing to support him then acts like this could be happening in multiple countries and we could be improving the quality of life for millions.

Lauren said...

Hi My name is Lauren and I am an Education and Math major. By reading Mountains beyond Mountains I now am capable to formulate an opinion based on fact concerning the current poverty situation that is seemingly an epidemic throughout the world. Frankly, The United States is a very wealthy country in comparison to places such as Haiti and therefore the U.S. should do there part in helping the less fortunate. However, we all need to keep in mind that although as a country the United States is well off not every citizen is. Although it is very important for the U.S to help other countries it is even more important to help the inside before we go out. With that being said, not all people in the United States are struggling either and I feel as though if someone has the ability to donate or contribute anything at all that should be a personal responsibility. Ideally there should be a system in which money, food, or goods donated can be divided between the needy within the United States and also the needy in other countries.

One thing that specifically stuck out to me while reading the book however was the unique character that Farmer had. It made me question how things in the world would be different if there were more people like that; People who are dedicated to helping others no matter what the situation or if there is a threat to their life while doing so. Farmer is a great man and an inspiration to us all. He made me realize how fortunate I really am with my life and helped convey how terrifying the lives of others in different situations can really be.

James said...

Hello,
After finishing the book, i feel that people of wealthier nations do have a responsibility to help the less fortunate. I believe that the responsibility wealthier nations have, is to support their fellow man, I believe that is a responsibility everyone one has to one another. The way I look at it is through the lens of a citizen in a less wealthy country, and how grateful I would be for the help that I received. One way to help out is, of course, by donating money, but I do not think that that is all one should do. Like Farmer in the book, I think that there must be more personal interaction.
Farmer is the epitome of a person fulfilling his responsibility to help the poor. Most people, probably are not able to get on the personal level that Farmer was able to with the people in Haiti, most people do not even pay Haiti a slight of mind. To fulfill one's responsibility one must have an understanding of what is truly going on and really become attached with the cause, and then contribute to it in their own way. Personally, after reading the book, i feel that I have not done enough to help those less fortunate in the world. It has made me start to think what I can do.

Andy C said...

Hi, my name is Andy and I’m an incoming pharmacy major. After finishing the book, I was both appreciative for what I have in my life compared to those in poorer nations and also frustrated in the sense that Dr. Farmer couldn’t really help Haiti, Peru, etc. on a wide scale without having the necessary funds to do so. As determined as Farmer and his friends were, without the help of investors like Tom White, he might not have been able to help Haiti as much as he would have liked. The work of Farmer, Kim, and PIH is something to be commended as they act without a shred of selfishness and are always willing to give aid to those that need it. Not only are they giving back life to those who were thought to be complete goners because they didn’t have the medication, sanitation, or resources to fight various infections, but they are helping nations politically, economically, and socially.

I believe that wealthier nations do not have a responsibility to help those less fortunate, but rather, they should attempt to see and understand the problems that poorer nations have, and by doing so, maybe donate or get involved on a grander scale. Personally, I feel like money could be spent more wisely billionaires didn’t spend so much on expensive luxuries and spend more money to help the community or other nations, but in the end, it’s their money and they have the free will to choose what they would like to spend it on. I’m not saying that we should all be Paul Farmer’s and selfishly dedicate our lives of the less fortunate, but it would be nice if we could help those that need it in one way or another. I think that we should be more informed about success stories like Farmers as it may spark the minds of the other individuals to pursue acts of generosity. If I didn’t read this book, I know I would have never heard about Paul Farmer or his amazing acts of kindness Haiti. What good is cleverness without the act of kindness? What is the point of making medicine that many are in need of if the prices are astronomical? Although wealthy nations don’t have the responsibility of helping out poorer nations, it’s often better if they do because we’re all on this world together, we experience emotions, and we are capable of helping those that need that extra helping hand without thinking about the consequences.

Julie Tang said...

Hello, my name is Julie T. Tang, and I'll be an incoming Nursing student.

I feel as though it isn't really wealthier nation's responsibilty to help poor countries, it just seems too tall of an order to do so. But I do think that the more fortunate people should do what they can to help others. To me, it just seems like the bigger problem is so many people may know and say they want to help yet end up doing nothing, its a lot of talk and no action. Doing little things can really go a long way.

Beind a child of Cambodian decent, I was able to relate struggles in "Mountains Beyond Mountains" that are in Haiti to the ones in Cambodia. (Some problems in Cambodia may not be to the extent of Haiti's but some of the struggles I've heard of are similar.) Cambodia is also still a third world country with lot of problems such as low education rates, homeless, economics, and so on. With all of the stories I've heard about how difficult it was for my family to survive there and the stories of hardship I continue to hear I truly feel for people in people countries.

The saying "a little goes a long way" applys to this conversation because doing something as simple as donating old cothes or old items you do not use anymore does make a difference. My mother would always talk about when she was younger and how she would only have two outfits to wear for the entire year and if she was lucky she would be able to get a third one. Even though my family does not have a large income we still try to contribute to helping others in Cambodia. My family and I send care packages and donate many clothes, medical supplies, etc. to our family members, monks, and the friends of the family who still live there. Even though they are people we know or are acquaintances they are still people who are living in poor conditions and people who could use all the help they can get.

"Mountains Beyond Mountains" was able to push my desire to help others even more. I do not think I could ever make a great of a change as joinoainrg Dr. Farmer has but his story has inspired me to actually want to go to third world countries and physically help them.

With the resources that are available to us in this day and age its easy to look up information; if you truly want to help you would go out and find a way to do so. There are many ways people can actually get involved they can look into organizations/ programs, donate money or supplies, and so on. One of the easiest ways to probably get involved is to just tell people, even that can make a difference even if it small one.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Carolyn and I am a communicative disorders major. Throughout the duration of this book, I was genuinely apprehensive about the living conditions that people are forced to suffer with daily in Haiti. I felt compelled to try to make a difference in any way I could, which in theory, sounds pretty simple. Being raised in a country that the majority would classify as well off, I feel as though it should be our duty to assist weaker nations who are struggling for essential resources. However, it is incredibly challenging to help other countries prosper while many U.S. citizens are suffering with their own financial difficulties. Granted, once we find a guaranteed method of handling economic issues, we would then have the responsibility to facilitate improvement around the world. One way in which we could achieve this would be to make sure every country has basic necessities, such as food and clean water. After this is obtained, we can only strive for greater things.

Brenden said...

Hello and my name is Brenden. I am an incoming French IEP student studying Computer Engineering. In regards to the question, “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 find myself pulled in many directions. Though in the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are responsibilities, but they must be kept under control. While some students have found that donating resources and supplies is better than donating money, I must disagree. For example, I would like to reference the clothing drives for those in Africa. Drives, such as these, completely demolish the market for such products in the recipient country. This method of support does more harm than good. Instead, the best method for wealthier nations is to use stimulus packages, calculated so that they may work best with the country. Still, the wealthier nation must maintain an image of welcome and support to these nations no matter how little the can help. Wealthier nations become superpowers, and these superpowers are expected to help. They must maintain this image whilst keeping themselves supported. It then turns into a balancing act for the internal and external diplomacy and actions of the nation. Dr. Farmer’s mission was of good conscious and he had the best intentions but it just cannot be acted in a large scale; the scale needed for the world. In a more ideal situation, people such as Dr. Farmer would be in larger groups sent to countries in need as a part of a support movement backed by the government of the wealthier nation. It allows for good men to do good and both nations to profit.

Brendan said...

Hi my name is Brendan, I am an incoming Pharmaceutical sciences major. I believe that individuals from wealthier nations should not just send money and feel that they do not have to worry about the issue anymore. I feel that wealthier nations should come together and form a organization similar to Farmer's. I liked the idea that he actually spent time with the people of the poorer countries and made it his job to help cure them. The best way to act on this sense of responsibility that one or more of the wealthier nations should create the organization similar to Farmer's and then setup a donation fund to pay for things such as paying for flights, medicines and etc. They should also use some of this money to build clinics that can be used to cure but also inform the patient on how to stay healthy.

Katherine said...

I believe that individuals in wealthier countries should always be aware of the poverty and suffering in wealthier countries. People should not feel like they have a financial obligation to help less fortunate people, but more of a moral obligation to make the world aware of these important issues. I feel that if everyone made an effort to create a worldwide awareness, these problems could be more easily solved.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea that developing one's passion is the most important aspect in social responsibility. There are so many different routes of humanitarian work, and so many different causes to donate to, that it is easy to feel lost in a wave of volunteer causes. Although Paul Farmer has done amazing things with Partners in Health, his passion was medicine. In no way is another cause such as education or governmental improvement more important than social work in the medical field. I myself was only motivated to volunteer after I had found a cause that I was truly passionate about- helping people who are in devastating situations, people who are about to die or have received life-altering news, like the fact that they have cancer.

Anonymous said...

FYI, comment left by Shayla Minteer. Cannot seem to post with my name and not anonymous...

Anonymous said...
I love the idea that developing one's passion is the most important aspect in social responsibility. There are so many different routes of humanitarian work, and so many different causes to donate to, that it is easy to feel lost in a wave of volunteer causes. Although Paul Farmer has done amazing things with Partners in Health, his passion was medicine. In no way is another cause such as education or governmental improvement more important than social work in the medical field. I myself was only motivated to volunteer after I had found a cause that I was truly passionate about- helping people who are in devastating situations, people who are about to die or have received life-altering news, like the fact that they have cancer.

vandenky said...

Hi, my name is Kyle and I am in incoming Mechanical Engineering major. I believe that people who live in wealthier Countries should make a effort to help people in poorer countries. If people are financially secure and can afford to give money to poorer communities then they have no reason to not help. The first thing that these people should look at though is their own country. The reason is that every country has some people in it that could use some help financially. Once our nation is secured financially then they should start giving money to poorer countries, and improving the world in any way that they can. The best ways to helping these people is by providing proper housing, food, and an education. Once these areas have been improved in each individual’s lifestyle the country will hopefully become sustainable.

vandenky said...

Hi, my name is Kyle and I am in incoming Mechanical Engineering major. I believe that people who live in wealthier Countries should make a effort to help people in poorer countries. If people are financially secure and can afford to give money to poorer communities then they have no reason to not help. The first thing that these people should look at though is their own country. The reason is that every country has some people in it that could use some help financially. Once our nation is secured financially then they should start giving money to poorer countries, and improving the world in any way that they can. The best ways to helping these people is by providing proper housing, food, and an education. Once these areas have been improved in each individual’s lifestyle the country will hopefully become sustainable.

Anonymous said...

I dont believe people in wealthier nations have any "Responsibility" for people that live in poor countries, however, i believe its right to share the wealth. With that said, the "Responsibility" we have to people not as wealthy as us is to give them a life worth living... that means food, water, clothes, and a place to call home. Doctor farmer had it right... he gave these people a life worth living and then some. i believe the only way to act on this issue is on a personal level. even though these people are not as wealthy as us doesn't mean they don't have emotions. people would much rather receive help from somebody that they knows actually cares. if you dont have a passion for it, then you shouldnt be doing it. for example, not only did he give Joe a place to call home... he gave him something that he knew would make him even happier then he already was, a six pack of beer.

Hannah said...

Hi my name is Hannah and I’m an incoming communicative disorder student. I do believe that it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to help less fortunate nations. While I was reading this book I was shocked by the way the people in less fortunate countries live and I’m embarrassed to say that I was completely blindsided by it. Wealthier nations should be responsible enough to make changes in the world and help the less fortunate nations not be sent into poverty like it is in Haiti. The Doctors in “Mountains Beyond Mountains” display one way to help the less fortunate nations in the world but there are also different ways to do so. Each nation can offer their charitable services to make the world as a whole a better place. Not only is it the responsibility of the wealthier nations to help the less fortunate but, it is the responsibility of the individuals in each of these wealthier nations. After reading this book, I am encouraged and motivated to join organizations that take trips to foreign places in need to help this world turn into a better, fortunate place.

Molly Robbins said...

Hi my name is Molly and I am a fashion merchandising major. I believe that is it important for wealthier nations to help poor countries. As a person who has been on humanitarian trips I have realized how beneficial it can be for the countries in need. People need to put into perspective that it is important to help others and put yourself in their position. I feel that it is the responsibility of wealthier countries to help out poor countries and it is definitely something that everyone should consider. If a wealthier nation has the ability to help country in need why would they not? Humanitarian trips are extremely great ways for wealthier nations to help out other countries in need. Many people always say that it would be a better idea to send the money over to the countries instead of actually traveling there. I personally do not think this is true. Based on experience I have realized that humanitarian trips are beneficial to both the people in need and the people providing the help. To help someone and see the impact that you have caused on their life is possibly one of the greatest feelings a person can ever experience. If anyone is ever contemplating going on a trip to a third world country I would highly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm Holly Noonan. I found this book to be very enlightening and made me appreciate my life. I do not think it is an individuals responsibility to help poorer countries but I believe it is wealthier nations as a whole responsibility. More can be accomplished by more people then by only a few individuals. People from emerging countries need help from wealthier countries. The problems people from emerging countries face are above their heads. Wealthy countries can attain more resources and should help those who need it. I think the best way to help out those countries would be to go to them. The help would be on a more personal level and more change would be achieved.

Christiane Harrington said...

Hi my name is Chrissy and I am a Communications major. I believe that the only way underdeveloped countries will evolve and become well developed is if other countries assist the nation that is in need of help. I believe that it is everyone's responsibility to assist an underdeveloped country and not just the wealthier individuals. It is more beneficial if wealthier individuals help poor countries, however it is especially important to know that anyone can assist a poor nation whether they are wealthy or not. Everyone has the opportunity to travel to underdeveloped countries to help people who are in need, whether it's joining an organization that builds houses for families or whether it's donating money to orphanages in these poor countries. It all depends on the person that chooses to address the issues that these poor countries suffer through.

When wealthier nations do help underdeveloped countries, I believe that one of their responsibilities is accepting that if anything unfortunate happens to the country in need such as a natural disaster, then the efforts that the wealthier country have made can be lost.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Ryan and I am an incoming pharmacy major. I believe that wealthier nations should act responsibly by helping people in poor countries, and that the best way to do that would be to make donations towards the cause. Donations could come in the form of money, supplies, or time, and every little bit could help these people live more comfortably. Anyone can help, and morally, it is the right thing to do. I feel it is also important to use some of the time being volunteered to teach them to become self-sufficient, because resources are not always unlimited, and developing a dependence on those helping them could be just as bad as the situation they’re already in. With that said, we cannot forget that there are poor people living in wealthy countries who also are in need of help. In my opinion, we should help our own first and then help others, but regardless of who is going to benefit from the service, all that matters is that a good deed is being done.

Samantha said...

Hi, I'm Sam. I am an incoming International Business major. I do strongly believe that wealthier individuals should reach out and help poorer countries. Farmer did an incredible thing with his life. He was only one man but changed the lives of many. If more people put in the amount of effort that Farmer did to help others, this world could be a much healthier place. I believe that if more people truly understood and saw the terrible conditions that other individuals live through, people would more willingly reach out and help. As a nation, I think we should be starting organizations to raise money and begin to educate poorer countries on health care. Farmer is a great example of how it is possible to cure individuals in poorer countries. Mountains beyond Mountains gives hope to its readers that if everyone just gave a little, and helped support one another, it could go a long way.

Devin Finnegan 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?”

Hi my name is Devin I am a freshmen studying Kinesiology. In my opinion it is a wealthier countries obligation to help other countries that are in need. Although we need to help our country, I believe that some of our efforts should be focused on less fortunate countries. I believe the best way to help poorer countries is not necessarily through giving money, but through organizations and volunteering to go to the countries in need. I believe that people can help by physically being there instead of sending money. By being there, volunteers can teach people new medical practices and help to educate the people in the country. I believe this is more beneficial than just sending care packages or money because the people are learning how to help their own country and in the long run they will not have to rely on wealthier countries.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Sarah and I am majoring in communication disorders. I believe that while the poorer countries are unable to evolve because of the lack of education, money, etc., the wealthier countries must step in and provide their best efforts to benefit others who are less fortunate. Throughout the book, Dr. Paul Farmer displays ideal-like behaviors; demonstrating that there are numerous ways to assist a poorer country. He is referred to as an angel for a reason, because he has made significant changes in individual’s lives. He truly dedicated his life to helping out those in need within the poor countries because of the level of care he shared for those people. While doing so, he gained respect, and was praised almost on an every day basis. This individual established through his actions that taking responsibility for a poorer country is attainable as long as full commitment is applied.

Tony said...

Hi my name is Tony, and I am majoring in Computer Science. The responsibilities that wealthier nations is to help the less fortunate by donating their money. Some use this to display their wealth and power while getting good publicity out of the poorer nation's misfortune. Paul Farmer wasn't born into wealth yet he still helps the people in Haiti. Some people give aid out because of pity or guilt. There shouldn't be an obligation to feel any sense of responsibility. Most individuals are not the direct cause of another countries problems. The people have to be educated to help prevent diseases and to take care for themselves and their people. The best way to act would be to help them become self-sufficient so that they don't have to rely on other people's help.

Ansley Stuart said...

Hi, my name is Ansley, and I'm an incoming Political Science major. It's always difficult to tell a hard working individual to give up their hard earned money away on the drop of a hat, and before reading Mountains Beyond Mountains, I wouldn't imagine asking anyone to do so. The thought of the majority Dr. Paul Farmer's struggles to cure many being gone through a little more funding is an incredible thought to think. He took so much time, and so much energy to devote to the people in Haiti, and the least people could do is devote a small amount of their own money. I still, however, believe that it is the hard worker's choice, and the government can not force them to do so. It is an instinct to help those less fortunate, so there should be no force behind it. It should be out of the goodness of one's heart. The idea that this completely changes lives makes my heart swell. Before reading this book I would say "don't sacrifice more of yourself than you can afford," but after reading it and seeing Farmer donate so much of his time, even when he wasn't able to do so, I see that it really was worth it.

stephanie said...

Hi, my name is Stephanie and I am an undecided major and a freshman. I think that in America specifically that there is a lot of people that work extremely hard for their money. Some people are born into wealth but the wealth had to start somewhere. In my opinion, I believe that our government should not intervene unless a natural disaster occurs, like an earthquake or tsunami. I think that individual groups like red cross and partners in health should get donations from people to help out. There are many people that volunteer to help out with countries in need, without pay and I think they will continue to do that for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Daniele, I am a Kinesiology freshman major, after reading some of the previous post I would agree with only a few. I believe that it is within human nature to feel compassion for poorer nations and to want to help. It is a nice thought for individuals from wealthier nations to help those that are less fortunate but I also think that our country needs to focus on bettering our own problems before we can properly be able to help others. The United States has many communities of poor people in our own country and once our individuals are provided for, then we can move on to help poorer. Many people say that we need to send money or give as much as we can but money will not even solve the problem. Money is only short term and the majority of it will not even get to those who truly need it. As soon as we are able to fully provide for our impoverished citizens we should not be lending a hand to anyone.

Jessica said...

Hi my name is Jessica Zimmer, and I’m a Kinesiology major student. "Mountains Beyond Mountains" inspired me because although Farmer had nothing as a child, all his life he worked toward aiding the less fortunate in Haiti. Farmer was an inspiration to the people of Haiti because he could relate to them on a personal level. In Haiti, the people strongly believed that the reason they would develop an illness was because of sorcery. Being that most of the people in Haiti are uneducated, I think that the most effective way to relate to the citizens of a third world country is to spread awareness. Most of the wealthier countries tend to ignore what’s happening outside their own nations, such as poverty. However, it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to help the less fortunate nations. Money should not be the deciding factor between the life or death of a person in Haiti. Also, wealthier nations should not just suggest and promote ideas, but they should take action as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Nicole and I am an incoming Computer Science Major. I agree with Danielle. It is important to help other countries with their problems and their poorness, but the United States has many poor communities and we should help our own poor communities before we decide to help others. Although I can see why a doctor like Paul Farmer was so interested with helping Haiti because of the fact these people weren’t just poor they were dying from diseases like TB and MDR when the United States doesn’t suffer as much from these diseases.

Jacob Marrocco said...

I found this book to be phenomenal, as it told the story of Farmer in succinct chapters that were quick and followed each other in a concise manner; much like the beats of a heart. However, the story highlighted the moral dilemma that is viewed throughout the world: do developed, wealthier nations have an obligation to aid poor and underdeveloped countries. I believe that this story has answered this age-old question, and done so efficiently.
Dr. Paul Farmer was an average doctor that resided in Boston, Massachusetts; although upon seeing the decrepit medical state of Haiti, the man went into action to save a growing number of Haitians from falling victim to tuberculosis. His arrival in Haiti was a watershed moment for the country: Farmer introduced medicines previously unknown to the Haitian people that eradicated most cases of tuberculosis. As the story progresses, more diseases such as multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) emerge, but Farmer attacks these illnesses with the same fervor he had at the start of his journey.
Farmer was a regular individual who was inspired to improve the destitute state in which he saw Haiti, and eventually Peru, Russia, and the numerous other countries that Paul affected. However, it was acting on this belief that made Farmer a sort of messiah in these countries. I believe that each person in developed countries should utilize their talents to help those we are less fortunate. For example, I want to be a journalist. At first, I thought that a writer could do very little to change the world, but after reading this story, Kidder and Farmer taught me that I can help anyone with my talents. As long as the drive and passion exists, anyone can help the poor. However, as Jim Kim would often express, "if Paul is the model, we're f***ed." People should not aspire to be Paul Farmer, but should have the drive to help others in a similar manner.
The best way to act on this moral obligation is to aid other, underdeveloped countries in whichever way possible. As a journalist, I intend on reporting about the issues occurring around the world, and helping as much as possible. If a natural disaster were to occur in a nation like Honduras, I would write a detailed report asking for others to extend their relief efforts, and offer my own to the country. The greatest way in which to act on this sense of moral responsibility is to aid poor and decrepit areas as much as possible; but to also remain within the limitations of your field. A journalist would help in one way; a doctor, like Farmer, in another; and an engineer in their own unique way. In essence, everyone has a moral duty to help hurting regions of the world; but it is the job path one chooses that affects the manner in which they do so.

Brian Chan said...

Hi my name I Brian chan and I am a chemistry major. My take on the book was that Paul cared for a less wealthier nation than his own to make them feel like they are cared about. I think that we as a wealthier nation do have an obligation to less wealthier nations because we are all equal. This can cause friendships and international trades between nations. It kind of reminds me of the saying you scratch my back I will scratch yours. Think about it how will other countries look at us if we don't even try to help them.

Jessica said...

Hi my name is Jessica Zimmer, and I’m a Kinesiology major student. “Mountains Beyond Mountains” inspired me because although Farmer had nothing as a child, all his life he worked toward aiding the less fortunate in Haiti. Farmer was an inspiration to the people of Haiti because he could relate to them on a personal level. In Haiti, the people strongly believed that the reason they would develop an illness was because of sorcery. Being that most of the people in Haiti are uneducated, I think that the most effective way to relate to the citizens of a third world country is to spread awareness. Most of the wealthier countries tend to ignore what’s happening outside their own nations, such as poverty. However, it is the responsibility of wealthier nations to help the less fortunate nations. Money should not be the deciding factor between the life or death of a person in Haiti. Also, wealthier nations should not just suggest and promote ideas, but they should take action as soon as possible.

Laura cursi said...

Hi my name is Laura Cursi and I’m a kinesiology major, I believe that all individuals in wealthier nations should have a responsibility towards people in poor countries. Like the saying goes "you don't know what you really have till it's gone". After reading Mountains Beyond Mountains I found it interesting on pg. 7-8 it states "does it really matter who's in power? They’re still gunna have the rich and the poor and no one in between. I don't know what we hope to accomplish. But, I guess it's best not even try and figure it out." To me that is the worst thing to say and believe that there’s really is nothing that we can do. So many people can help so much and it makes all the world to the poor. In the past two years I've recently have gone on two mission trips with my church and I have to say at the end of each trip not only are all the people we helped grateful they also want to always repay us somehow. My last trip I went on impacted me the most the old woman we had to help was the sweetest lady I ever met she opened her home up to us and everything. Even though this lady had nothing she was still willing to help us in anyway and was always happy and grateful for what we did for her. In the book it states on page 34 "Haitians, he said, are a fastidious people. But they blow their noses into dresses because they don't have tissues, wipe their asses with leaves, and have to apologize to their children for not having enough to eat." To me all wealthier people need to think more about others and what they don’t have instead of wanting more of what they want. Even if you don’t think something small will help it does and they will appreciate anything you give them. I think the best way to go about this is to get involved and go out just like Farmer did he went to Haiti and saw what was there, people need to go out and see what’s around them and realize that not everything Is easy and in some parts of the world can get pretty gruesome when it comes to poor places and what others have and don’t have.

Meagan said...

Hi I'm Meagan. I really feel that the anwser to the question can be found just in how Farmer lived his life. I feel that it is really important to lead by example and work to get the imformation about the people you are helping out into the world. You can sacrifice your whole life helping people, but just think how many more you can help once people really understand what is happening. It is also really important to not be afraid to stand up for what you are doing and don't be afraid to take people to task for not doing more. How many times in our lives have we seen suffering and just reasoned away why we could do nothing at the time. And how many times over our lives has that been repeated. I hope that everyone who read this book can take some inspiration from this amazing man and his life's work.

Elena said...

HI my names Elena and I'm a freshman with the major of marine biology. I feel as though individuals in wealthier nations should help the poor in some way or another. There are poor countries who do not have the technology we have, but if the wealthier countries help the poor countries using technology they have, they may be able to develop helpful resources so they are not as poor. Just like in Tracey Kidders "Mountains Beyond Mountains" Farmer tried to help everyone he could, there are people living in wealthy countries who try and help everyone they can but not enough of them. Also, after reading all of these comments, I can agree to most of them. I believe the best way to act on this responsibility is to carry out all plans to help poor countries, not just come up with ideas and not carry out those ideas. If everyone who lived in wealthy countries tried and actually did help the poor countries, we would not have the poor countries we have today. Helping poor countries all over the world will help the countries become united and create less wars around the world.

SHANE RAMOS said...

My name is Shane Ramos, I am a Biomedical Engineering major. I found Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains quite interesting. Growing up, I have always been taught to help out those less fortunate. It is part of the human nature. It is inhumaine to watch other human beings suffer. As being a citizen of a wealthier country, I feel an obligation to any others.

Jamie P said...


Although we have our own domestic problems that need to be addressed, it is important for people of wealthier nations to invest an effort to make the world an overall more sustainable place to live. They should take into consideration those in less fortunate countries in regards to health, living conditions, and education. Coming from a Cuban family, I know firsthand the type of struggles that people endure in that humble country, unable to properly cry for help. Wealthier countries such as The United States are blessed with the resources that allow most people to live a healthy prosperous lifestyle. We should take parts of our knowledge and resources-when we ourselves are stable-and share them to the less fortunate in order to make international relationships, show action upon our responsibilities, and let others experience some of the fortunes we do.
The best way to act on this sense of responsibility is to contribute what you can. People may think that the problems cannot be solved without substantial amounts of donated time, money, and efforts. However, if everyone would simply contribute what they would like or could, it could add up to make an enormous difference. First, we need to educate ourselves. Knowledge will allow us to discover unaided but devastating problems that no one may have realized, understand what the problem is, and how to approach aid the most efficient and effective way. We could pass this knowledge on to the local people so they have an understanding on how to better promote health for themselves and their families. We could also pass on this knowledge to other wealthier citizens in our own country and support ideas that others may have never known about. In addition, I feel that it is important to learn from Farmer and make the effort more personal. The more personal the help gets, the more people will be inspired, dedicated, and understanding. To visit and provide hands on help is even more rewarding than simply sending donations because seeing the faces of whom you helped light up will show the impact you’ve made on an individual’s life or maybe even a community.

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.

Anonymous said...

Hi my name is Jaymie,
I feel people as individuals have no responsibility to provide for poorer countries , but the wealthier country as a whole has a responsibility to the poorer country. Individuals may help with the problem, but in my opinion its not their responsibility. Individuals can help by donating.

Grace said...

Hey, my name is Grace Banks and I am a kinesiology major. In my opinion I feel that individuals in wealthier nations have a right and obligation towards helping individuals in poorer countries. They should feel the need to help and volunteer based on the fact that they have a better, more fulfilled lives than people living in poorer conditions. The best way to act on this sense of responsibility is to volunteer, join charity groups, travel to these poorer countries or donate time, energy or money into the aid of these poor individuals. In my experience, students at my high school raised money to travel to Ghana and Guatemala to build, donate clothes and lend a hand to people less fortunate than them. In this situation, I think this is a great way to get involved and give back to the people and individuals in poorer nations.

Ryan said...

Hi My name is Ryan, after Listening to Mr.Kidder's presentation I learned a lot about Haiti and the constant battle Haitian people have to survive. Doctor Paul farmer is truly an amazing man, he has practically given his life to help the Haitian people. Most people from the America would think he was crazy to spend his life as a volunteer and giving all of his money to the hospital when he could have lived a wealthy lifestyle in America. Doctor Paul farmer is a great example of an individual from a wealthier nation who feels responsible to help poorer countries. But not everyone feels the same way, if we all felt responsible to help poorer countries and we all did something similar to Doctor Paul, we would also be a poor country because we would have to give them a lot of our money and resources. We should all feel a little bit responsible though because most of us live comfortably and not in danger everyday. To act on this feeling of responsibility we could all donate a little money to charity that helps poorer countries. Even if it is only a couple dollars, every little bit counts and helps.

Zachary Smith said...

Hi my name is Zachary Smith. I believe that no one individual from a wealthy nation has the responsibility to help a poor nation directly. However I believe that individuals should do what they can, if capable, to help indirectly with small charitable donations. I feel that the wealthy nations government has a responsibility to help poor countries in need. Unless of course the wealthy nation has its own struggles that need attending. The best way for a wealthy government to fulfill their responsibilities towards the poor nations, in my opinion, is through more than just donations but with hands on help like that of Dr. Paul Farmer. It would not be enough if the government just sends money. They should be involved and send well informed people, like Dr. Farmer, to help treat and also educate those of the poor nations. If the poor nations are taught how to deal with certain things like sickness and the need for medical attention, then they can better help themselves in the futre.

Davi Prak said...

Hello my name is Davi and I am an incoming nursing major. I believe that the people in a wealthier nation should always feel a need to help the poor. The responsibility to help each other should go both ways. Some people believe that the wealthy have a lot more resources than poorer countries but there are a lot of resources that are exclusive to them only. The wealthy are mostly taking from the poor and not giving back. It should be instilled in others' minds to help those in need especially those who are wealthy. They have the money and resources to help others so why not actually help others? I believe it is the responsibility of the wealthy to help the poor with everyday necessities. The best way to express this sense of responsibility is by letting the citizens of that country know that there is a support system for them and that there are wealthier countries that are aware that they need help. Providing for poorer nations will not only help that country but it will also help the world as a whole. Today, wealthier nations mostly take from poorer ones without giving something back to the poorer nations. In order to not only create a sustainable lifestyle and better relationships with other countries, we should also be open to helping and giving. It isn't fair that the wealthy is living well while the poor is struggling. Helping a poorer nation will create a precedent for other nations and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Senara Mata said...

Hi, my name is Senara and I'm a Communication Disorders major. I think that those who reside in wealthier nations have an obligation and responsibility towards aiding those in less fortunate countries. Some have so much money than they know what to do with, that it could be better applied to countries who are in dire need of it. For example, Haiti is still recovering from the earthquake 2 years ago. We've raised millions of funds and helped rebuild some of the damage but they're still in poverty and filth. Not only those who are wealthy but those in middle class take our wealth for granted. These people are trying to survive each and every day. It's not money that will help these people entirely but that there needs to be greater attention provided towards the problem. Dr. Farmer takes time out of his life to travel around the world and assist those in need of help. Haiti only existed amongst the worlds problem for a short period of time and then it vanished from the headlines. People have forgotten and we go day by day taking what we have for granted. Those in wealthier countries need to become of aware of the problem at hand and not just send money but visit these poor countries and observe for themselves what needs to be fixed.

Brittney said...

Hey, my name is Brittney and I am a Forensic Chemistry major.
Tracy KIdder's Mountains Beyond Mountians was not only a very inspirational novel, but also a very educational one. Not many people know of what is going on in Haiti and how horrendous their living conditions are. Just from reading through Kiddder's journey, one would almost feel obligated to go out and be proactive towards the efforts; however, although we are seen as a wealthy nation to many others, we too have our weak spots. There are many area's that we need to focus on improving before we use up all of our time and money on others. Though it may sound selfish, if we advance through our own issues and become more prosperous than we are now, we may be able to make a bigger impact on helping Haiti down the road.
I do believe that as a wealthy nation, one should do what they possibly can for the betterment of poorer nations such as Haiti. All in due time, we will become steady enough where we can make that big break and work efficiently towards building safer, healthier conditions for Haitians.

alex veitch said...

Hello, my name is Alex and I am an incoming Business major student. It is anyone's responsibility to aid the less fortunate countries by any means. Sending money is the main inclination to solve the problems of hunger and despair but I think that spreading word over the media is the most effective way to attain the attention of our peers and even other nations. Farmers' approach is definitely the most respectful and commendable solution in regards to dealing with these problems. If more countries have a better, firsthand understanding of what was happening in the other less fortunate countries, then more people would want to see what they can do to help. Farmers took the problem into his own hands and was perceived as a saint. He must have had no feeling better than turning his patients' misery and despair into elation and relief. Farmers insinuates that even one person has the power to change the world and help the less fortunate.

Anonymous said...

Hi, my name is Amanda and my major is undeclared. I believe that people in wealthier nations should do anything and everything that they can to help those in poor countries. Rather than just starting funds to be collected and distributed in an attempt to help those less fortunate, it would be better to encourage each other to help the less fortunate in person. Not only should we bring clean water to them, we should also send over docters, dentists, and other healthcare workers to help the sick and dying recover. While personally going and helping the poor is the best solution, monetary funds will still be beneficial and it would be best to keep them active. Overall, the best way to help those in need would be to utilize our healthcare workers to help the sick recover as well as collect donations as another method toward finding a solution to these global issues.

DYLAN CONTI said...

Yo, my name is Dylan. I believe that every wealthy nation must have the responsibility and decency to acknowledge the horror, ugly, and sadness that follows poverty. It’s hard to sit in a pretentious café on a macbook happily realizing the struggle people with no money and in third world countries deal with daily. The pain of a person the same age as you living under those conditions really makes you take a seat and think of the LUXURY we ever so take for granted. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this, I know for a fact I am which irritates me even more. I heard of an online picture of a person from a third world country surprised to hear that people in America urinate and defecate in clean water. Clean water, which to this boy in it would be a luxury. Homelessness is a problem in America too, im sure no to a degree of severity as Haiti but the reason there are homeless people is because they are ignored by the rest of the world. Money for a manicure could feed a man for a day, but the person buying the manicure isn’t thinking of suffering people from a lack of shelter and food. Why would she? If she would have that decency to think of this man’s suffering for ten minutes she would abhor the idea of getting a manicure in his face of weak from malnutrition. Third world countries are somewhere else making it that much easier to not think about them, they have no relevance to our everyday structured lives. Mediate on the suffering of the dying and actions to prevent will naturally occur.

Sarah said...

Hello my name is Sarah and I believe that living in a wealthier nation more people should be trying to help other countries that don't have such a privileged life like we do. I think that the government should give money to an organization that would send people to countries to help rebuild their communities and provide long lasting solutions for countries that are unable to provide things for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey my name is Alicia and I believe that wealthier nations are responsible for helping people in poorer nations. At the end of the day we are all humans and to let someone suffer and live in horrible conditions just because they are from a different country is just wrong. Usually in poorer nations all the money brought in if any is kept by the ruler or dictator of the nation and not put to good use in making healthier communities and facilities. So I think it is the responsibility of the wealthier countries to make sure that the needs of the poor are met and that the supplies an materials sent into the country by other countries gets into the right hands. Obviously every country has its fair share of poor people but after reading "mountains beyond mountains" I realized that what one countries definition of poor is could be another countries definition of rich. Wealthier nations need to work together to help eliminate the poverty from every nation starting with some of the areas with the worst conditions. Overall I thought the book was really moving and Farmer is an awesome example of how one person really can make a difference.

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