Quotes from Mountains beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder

-  ‘He had graduated from Harvard Medical School and also had a Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard. He worked in Boston four months of the year, living in a church rectory in a poor neighborhood. The rest of the year he worked without pay in Haiti , mainly doctoring peasants who had lost their land to a hydroelectric dam.’
- ‘What struck me that evening was how happy he seemed with his life… At one point, speaking about medicine, he said, ‘I don’t know why everybody isn’t excited about it.’ ’
- ‘Of all the infections that can come crowding into a person with HIV disease, TB was the most common worldwide. The disease was rare in Boston , indeed throughout the United States , except in the kinds of places where Joe lived – in homeless shelters and jails and on the streets and under bridges.’
- ‘                                                        JOE
                                    OUT                                  IN
                                    cold                                   warm
                                their drugs                           our drugs
                               ½ gal. vodka                      6 pack Bud                  ’
- Farmer’s hospital ‘had built schools and houses and communal sanitation and water systems.’
- ‘He begins telling her that not that sorcery doesn’t exist but that he knows sorcery wasn’t involved in this instance.’
- ‘Farmer liked to tell his Harvard students that to be a good clinician you must never let a patient know that you have problems too, or that you’re in a hurry. ‘And the rewards are so great for just those simple things!’  ’
- ‘He holds a huge stack of medical studies on his lap. After a time, he puts them aside. ‘I’m not into this, guys.’ He takes me on a survey of his grounds.’
- ‘He wasn’t shy at all. He seemed able to talk to anyone, but was clearly most interested in talking to peasants – who were, he explained, the vast majority of Haitians, even in the urban slums.’
- ‘I’m going to build my own fucking hospital. And there’ll be no more [charging for medicine] there, thank you.’
- ‘There was still a place to look for God, and that was in the suffering of the poor. You want to talk crucifixion? I’ll show you crucifixion.’
- ‘As a rule, it meant that one should use only the simplest technologies required to do a job.’
- ‘Clean water and health care and school and food and tin roofs and cement floors, all of these things should constitute a set of basics that people must have as birthrights.’
- ‘Some academic types would say to Jim and Paul, ‘Why do you call your patients poor people? They don’t call themselves poor people.’ Jim would reply: ‘Okay, how about soon-dead people?’  ’
- ‘The poor don’t want you to dress like them. They want you to dress in a suit and go get them food and water.’
- ‘People read the Gospel as if it pertained to another place and time, but the struggles described there are in the here and now.’ Jean-Bertrand Artiste
- ‘Remember, serving the poor in Carabayllo is more important that soothing your own ego. It’s called eating shit for the poor.’
- ‘Most would need not just drugs and careful monitoring but encouragement and food and new roofs and water pipes.’
- ‘The only time that I hear talk of shrinking resources among people like us, among academics, is when we talk about things that have to do with poor people.’ Jim Kim
- ‘[Kim] went to the University of Iowa and felt liberated until he was told that Ivy League schools were better.’
- ‘According to a study by the WHO, Cuba had the world’s most equitably distributed medicine.’
- ‘The peasants’ vocabulary didn’t even contain a word for illicit drugs, which virtually no one there could afford anyway.’
- ‘A woman in Cange said to me: ‘You want to stop HIV in women? Give them jobs.’ ’
- on AIDS quarantine: ‘He had interviewed some of the Haitians quarantined on Guantanamo, and from them heard stories of wretched treatment at the hands of the U.S. Military – of food with maggots in it, of compulsory blood tests and compulsory injections of the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera – its effects can last up to eighteen months – of beatings when they protested. One didn’t have to take the Haitians’ word for all of this. In 1993 an American federal judge had described the quarantine in harsh terms and ended it, ruling it unconstitutional.’
- HIV/AIDS in Cuba : 2669/11,000,000 people as of the year 2000 (compulsory testing)
- ‘In his mind, he was fighting all poverty, all the time.’
- ‘Of all the world’s errors, he seemed to feel, the most fundamental was the ‘erasing’ of people, the ‘hiding away’ of suffering.’
- ‘One can never work overtime for the poor.’
- ‘The agent had asked Serena the perfunctory question, ‘Did you bring anything back from Haiti ?’ Then the agent had added, ‘Not that you’d get anything there anyhow, except disease.’ ’
- ‘He plans to hike to their homestead… ‘Some people would say this is a scattershot approach. We would answer, ‘Not at all. It’s through journeys to the sick that we identify needs and problems.’ ’
- ‘…the often unacknowledged uneasiness that some of the fortunate feel about their place in the world, the thing he once told he designed his life to avoid.’
- ‘ ‘Are half of Voodoo ceremonies attempts to drive away illness?’ ‘Three-quarters,’ says Ti Jean. ‘Isn’t it amazing,’ Farmer says to me, ‘that this simple fact has eluded all the many commentaries on Voodoo?’   ’
- ‘Jim Kim had often said that the world’s response to AIDS and TB would define the moral standing of his generation.’

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