Friday, January 15, 2010
Several years ago a friend and former student gave me a copy of Mountains Beyond Mountains, the book that had been her freshman summer read at Duke Univeristy. The next spring, the town of Concord, Massachusetts, where I lived and taught, chose the book as its community read. From the first page of Tracy Kidder's magnificent account of Paul Farmer, the iconoclastic physician who helped establish Partners in Health, and the people of Haiti's Central Plateau, I was riveted. Paul Farmer's mission - to establish a preferential healthcare option for the poor - and his innovative tactics - including training local healthcare workers to help deliver medical aid to the members of their communities - have revolutionized healthcare in Haiti's Central Plateau and in Partners in Health's other sites around the world. Since reading Mountains Beyond Mountains and hearing Dr. Farmer speak, Husband and I have supported Partners in Health. We now see them uniquely positioned to offer some aid to the millions of Haitians affected by Tuesday's earthquake.
Early this morning I received an e-mail from the incomparable Kelly Diels encouraging me to join her Help Haiti Blog Challenge. Although I feel paralyzed in the face of the devastation that rocked Haiti this week, I am honored to join the millions of members of the global community who have shown the people of Haiti the magnificent upside of humanity by opening my heart, my mouth, and my wallet to support relief efforts there.
So - For each person who leaves a comment on this post between now and Monday, 8:00 a.m. EST, I will follow the lead of Aidan and Lindsey in donating two dollars to Partners in Health. I will also send a copy of Mountains Beyond Mountains to one lucky commenter, chosen at random. Be sure to check back on Monday to see how much money the Motherese community raised over the weekend and to see who the lucky winner is. In the meantime, please join me in remembering the men, women, and children of Haiti.
How do you respond to tragedy - both existentially and practically?