So, what are better subjects for a first serious post ever than Paul Farmer and humanitarian aid? Nothing, at this moment, nothing nothing nothing. To say that I am inspired by this man and his work would be an understatement. I can create a mile long list of things and people who inspire me, but only a few of them have inspired me to move, to take action and to give me the strength to overcome everything from frantic self doubt, existentialist musings, general confusion about life to a bad headache. Paul Farmer and what he represents is on that shorter list of inspiration, mostly because he is more than pretty words and pretty ideals: he is the real deal, and, if I may say so, a real hero, an old fashioned champion of the poor and downtrodden. The fact that I am actually putting words on this blog is a testament to the power of the strength he recently inspired.
Of course I am being indulgent and ridiculous idealizing him to that level, I fully recognize this. But I don’t exaggerate when I say I am utterly moved by his genuine selflessness. In fact, I am moved to guilt and shame to find myself so far away from my own ideal of a good person, and to find that the ideal itself had become corrupted by over-information, over thinking and an alarming trend towards apathy. Paul Farmer, when I saw him speak at USC on 10/18/2011, stood there and became an example of the ideal I once denounced as naïve. When I realized this, I felt like I finally woke up from a coma I’ve been knocked into beginning of my sophomore year, courtesy of my childish, ill-mannered self indulgent doubts. I feel fresh again.
Now enough of self pity and into this new light, yeah? Paul Farmer! Who is he? If you, my imaginary audience, don’t know, then consider yourself lucky to be reading this right now. He is a physician, Ivy-league certified, and anything but arrogant. He’s worked in Haiti for numerous decades, helping build health infrastructure in rural Haiti and administering free health care to the poverty-stricken people. But why is he so amazing? There are people around the world who have done and are doing something similar, right? Well, they’re amazing too. I said Paul Farmer is amazing, not completely unique. For example, Dr. Cynthia Maung created a free clinic on the Thai-Burma border, headed the Backpack Health Worker team, and which are the major, if not only, sources of medical care for migrant workers, IDPs and the poor Burmese in that area. I will write a post lavishing my praises and affections on that amazing woman later. I also must mention all the people who have helped Paul Farmer along the way, and those are still helping him, deserve the same praise! Unfortunately I do not know them by name, but I give my gratitude and thanks through him.
Anyways, back on topic: Paul Farmer is amazing. Not being unique does not make him any less amazing. In fact, that train of thought is completely erroneous. In this kind of work, being unique is nothing. It is sincerity that is the most important trait. From what I’ve read about Paul Farmer, from what I’ve heard from his mouth and read from his writing, his sincerity isn’t only genuine, it is deep and that depth has made him so very kind, giving and selfless. (Agh, I feel like I’m repeating the same words over and over. I need a thesaurus and expand my vocabulary). I’ve always been sincere about my desire to help other people, but it had never been deep enough. Because of that it was subjected to doubt and intellectualizing, until it became unrecognizable, bitter, and then was buried under the pressures of being a college student (which is nothing compared to real life pressures, really).
Currently, I am working through <span style=”font-style:italic;”>Mountains Beyond Mountains</span>, by Pulitzer-winning author Tracy Kidder. It’s made me cry and think, a lot. About things that count. Not intellectual, philosophical musings, but about real things. Once I am done with the book, I will “review” it, though my opinion of it is probably already made clear, along with a longer analysis on the achievement and impact of Paul Farmer. You know, real information instead of my poorly written praises. Haha.
This is a celebratory first post of my new-found energy!
Cheers and with love,