Nov 16

Reading Reflection 13: O for the P

By Thursday at 1:30….

“What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved.” (p. 244) How do you think this quote represents (or doesn’t) the mood at PIH?  How does it apply (or not) to your life?


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  1. Alejandro Barraza

    The quote, “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved,” represents an optimistic mood at PIH. In order to understand this quote clearly, the reader must know what led up to this conclusion made by Kidder. In the PIH office there was a sign taped to the wall stating “If Paul is the model, we’re golden,” however golden was written on a piece of tape and under that piece of tape was the word “facked.” So, what was actually written was: “I Paul is the model, we’re facked.” Jim Kim made this sign to capture the attention of all the young PIH-ers that wanted to emulate Farmer, and warn them that if they were trying to emulate Farmer they were going to fail and that they are trying to accomplish the wrong goal.

    First, trying to emulate Farmer would be nearly impossible to many people. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World portrays Farmer as a doctor maniacally trying to heal the world with no regard for his health or needs. Farmer’s body pays a heavy toll with the massive amount of traveling on airplanes, unhealthy sleeping patterns, and hours of walking. Walking may sound healthy, but it is not healthy to go on long walks when your body is giving out. Farmer also sacrifices time that could be spent with his family, money, and essentially everything for his cause. Personally, I hope someday to feel about my job the way Farmer feels about his job, but I hope to put family and loved over my work. I am not stating that Farmer cares more about his job than his family, but it truly seems that Farmer is always working and has no time for himself or his loved ones.

    Kim declared that mimicking Farmer would be the wrong goal because of one simple reason. If PIH-ers were trying to mimic Farmer that would mean that their focus would be on improving themselves, and not improving the lives of others. In Kim’s point of view, if a PIH-er was attempting to become as influential as Farmer they would fail miserably. Even though, Farmer’s life should not be used as a “manual,” Kidder states that his life should illustrate that “intractable problems could be solved.” In other words, PIH-ers should see Farmer as a symbol of hope that problems that may seem impossible can be solved.

    This quote represents an optimistic mood at PIH because of two reasons. First, none of the PIH-ers are expected to become the next Paul Farmers of the world. These PIH-ers are expected to become determined individuals that want to make their own type of difference in the world. This individualistic attitude gives the PIH-ers confidence to accomplish their goals, which leads to an optimistic in the office. The second method this quote illustrates an optimistic mood is because it makes Farmer a symbol. As stated before, Farmer becomes a symbol of hope that makes this PIH-ers relentless in their goals. Through out the novel, Farmer is always thinking about how to fix Haiti problems. When Farmer was at Cuba, he states that Cuba would of done better job in Haiti then himself. However, the difference between Farmer and other doctors is that he keeps trying to heal Haiti because he understands that healing Haiti is a tangible and tough task. And when these PIH-ers, fellow doctors, and other individuals see Farmer’s determination they become motivated and optimistic about their own goals and aspirations.

    This quote applies to me because I have currently been feeling the urge to make a difference in our community, mainly due to our Civic and Community Engagement class. Many speakers have been coming to our class telling that we can make a difference, and this has caused me to feel like I need to mimic them. For instance, after the lawyer from the Legal Aid Society came, I automatically though I would perfect for that job. However, this quote shows me that it is foolish for me to try to mimic the lawyer, I should use him as an example of somebody that cares about his community. Although, it is right for me to think how I could help people through law, I should instead be trying to focus on what part of law I like the most. I should attempt to find an issue that I care about deeply, then try to help people through that issue.

  2. Rachel Berman

    It is interesting when people of great service become icons for encouragement to serve. These people themselves are not concerned with honor or recognition, yet a lot of energy is put in their direction to acknowledge their work. I agree that these models should be used for inspiration, but ought not to be mimicked. For me personally, balance is a huge priority in my life, so a life like Paul Farmer’s would not be ideal. Yet, I can read about his accomplishments and goals and admire him and be inspired by him to do more and be more of service. His ability and passion to go beyond what is thought possible in the kind of care we can offer is not something you can find in everyone. This makes him a valuable tool and at PIH they realize this, and realize that they do not want to be known for creating future Paul Farmers but do want to continue his vision. Like Alejando I would love to find a balance that helps me integrate my service work with caring for myself and family.

  3. Nicole Fulbright

    Honestly, I don’t believe that there is a quote that could more perfectly sum of the motivations of Partners in Health. Part of what makes PIH such an amazing and admirable venture is that they do what some people would consider miracle work. They are an inspiration in that they go beyond what others could imagine possible. For example, when extraditing tuberculosis in Peru, many doctors in the clinical community said that the project they were taking on was too great and they were wasting their efforts. Despite being doubted by their peers, PIH did not pay attention to what others said and carried on with their mission. Eventually people took notice that what they were doing actually had credibility and thus, was absolutely not a waste of time. Another component of this quote is saying that PIH-ers should try to emulate the exact actions of Farmer, but instead should take away the conceptual ideas that Farmer is urging them to use in their future medical adventures. This includes doing what they feel is right- for them and most importantly their patients, and having the ability to stay true to their morals and ideas, despite the doubts of others. Only by doing this can they go out into the world and make a difference, similarly to how what Farmer did, but in their own right.
    I think that this quote is actually a great thing to live by. Perhaps not exactly about PIH, but just about taking the ideas and actions of people you admire and spin that into your own right of passage. Its great that we can find inspiration in other people and make that into a life of giving back. As young adults, we hear inspirational all throughout our lives, mostly that we can do whatever we set our minds to. However cliche this sounds, this quote is actually telling us just that. In our lives, we have seen things that were thought to be nearly impossible. Seeing people accomplish just amazing feats inspires us to make our own dreams of impossible goals and turn that into our realities.

  4. Karina Venegas

    What was meant by this quote is that the PIH-ers should not feel like they should be like Farmer; instead, they should see Farmer as an inspiration of what to do and not of how to do it. Just because they are working with a person like Farmer who has helped countless of persons and has dedicated many years of his life for a cause he believes in doesn’t mean they have to do the same thing. This quote is encouraging the PIH-ers to make a difference as well but to the degree in which they can or want.

    I admire Farmer for what he has done and it inspires me to do something similar, such as travel to a third world country and help improve the health of the poor. Realistically though I know I probably wouldn’t be able to that so instead of trying to do what Farmer did I should just admire what he did and try to learn from it so I can apply it in a smaller scale, but nonetheless in a very meaningful way. Perhaps I will never be able to help as many people as Farmer, but if I’m doing something that I really believe in and it’s making a difference at least in someone’s life then that would make me happy and satisfied with what I’ve done.

  5. Anthony La

    In essence this quote serves to show the PIH-ers that Paul Farmer is a model of what should be done. But that he’s not a model for how it has to be done. Jim warns the many young PIH-ers who imagined that the right thing to do was to imitate Farmer. He wanted people to be inspired by the doctor but the goal was to improve the lives of others, not oneself.

    For me personally no matter how much I value somebody’s beliefs and morals I would never want to be just like them. Sure i would love to have the compassion and courage of Mother Theresa or the will of Nelson Mandela, but i would never say that I want to be the next Ghandi. It just doesn’t work like that. I’d study all the virtues and the impacts that past leaders have made in their eras and be inspired to do the same, but in my own way. It’s like when your a kid who loves basketball you wanted to one day be just like Mike. But as you get older you grow out of this phase of wanting to be someone else and instead become your own self.

    I think that if the many young PIH-ers want to imitate Farmer then instead of trying to be just like him they can promote all the beliefs that he stood for and do the best they can to help others, but in their own way. I think this would in turn bestow greater satisfaction to them knowing that they were able to help others in their own light and not through someone else.

  6. Natasha Zubair

    It is almost impossible to imagine that there are many people in this world that live their lives exactly the way Paul Farmer lives his. Jim even says that Paul is an example of what needs to be done-not necessarily how it should be done. Each individual is different in his/her own way and so they do things differently. If the same results are produced: (helping the community at large through selfless acts of kindness and donating to local charities) then each person can carry out the same results in their own means and at their own pace. The quote basically means that not everyone has to be a Paul Farmer or imitate his work ethic in order to make a difference in the world- as long as people look out for others and seek new ways to improve the lifestyles of the less fortunate, they would be contributing a great deal to the society they’re in. The mood of everyone at PIH should reflect just this: that Paul is an inspiration and definitely a good role model. However, no one should or could become exactly like him.

    I feel like in my own life, I do as much as I can to help those around me whether it be organizing a canned food drive or even smiling at someone who seems to have had a rough day. I like setting realistic goals and then meeting them too. I know that though I may not do a lot at all or often, whatever I do do is from the heart and from the purest of intentions.

  7. Elim Loi

    I think the quote represents the mood at PIH because everyone is encouraged to see Paul as a good example of working hard and solving problems. It is not about doing exactly what he did and following it when doing things in their own lives. It is good for them to think like this instead of imitating Paul exactly because it would miss out on the main point of service and doing things to help others. The motives and heart Paul has for the things he does should be followed, but not necessarily the actions he takes due to the motives. People can express their care for others in different kinds of service and action or use their leadership skills to contribute in unique ways to solve different issues. No one can just imitate everything someone else does just because they think he or she is great.
    This is something that i have been realizing a lot more. When i used to really respect and look up to someone, i almost thought i wanted to be just like them and do everything they did because i thought those were the reasons that made them so great. However, i think if people have great intentions and capabilities, it will show through whatever they do. It is good to do what you actually want or like or are talented in because your strengths can effectively benefit others.

  8. Natalie Chau

    I think this is an excellent quote that represents the PIH-ers. Jim basically tells the PIH-ers that they should do what Paul Farmer is doing, however, they should not do it the way Farmer is doing. Basically, Paul Farmer is an example that demonstrates to the other PIH-ers of what should be done but not the way to do it. Every different person should have their own way of doing what Farmer is doing. The people at PIH should be helping the poor in their own unique way.
    This quote illustrates the idea that you should not try to be exactly like another person because that would be impossible; it’s impossible to be like Paul Farmer because he has very huge plans. Farmer does extraordinary things, however, the PIH-ers should never be like him because he lives way on one spectrum of life. He spends most of his life solely on helping others. I’m not saying this is a bad thing (because it definitely isn’t), but life should be more balanced and Farmer should have spent more time with his family and loved ones. This was one reason why Ophelia couldn’t stay with him because he had too many big plans and she didn’t want to get in the way of his dreams.
    Jim advises the other PIH-ers that they should not try to be like Farmer because they will probably fail at it. However, they should help in their own way. Farmer shows them that what they thought to be impossible can actually be achieved.
    I think this is a great quote to apply to my life because while I was reading this book, I felt like I wanted to do exactly what Farmer was doing: helping the poor in other countries and spending most of his life helping others. He puts the poor people before himself. But realistically, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it, because I first have to become a doctor. So instead I should be looking up to Paul Farmer as an inspiration and find other ways that I can help people that are more reasonable for me.

  9. Stephen Mendez

    As many people have stated, the quote “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved.” (p. 244) is a bittersweet statement which shows the hint of optimism present in a sad, depressing world. The statement is also trying to convey the message that people should not imitate Paul’s actions or become clones of him, but instead that they should take the reasoning and compassion behind his actions and apply it to their own lives. It is not your actions entirely but the reasoning behind them that’s important. The statements attempts to strike a balance in the way in which people go about trying to make a difference in the world. While it is true that you should strive to do good,it is also important to take yourself and those close to you in consideration when you do. To be selfless one must first be selfish is a quote that comes to mind. Paul helped others but he forgot about his own kin and that is a bit sad that he alienated those who truly loved him and wished they could see more of him.

  10. Jessica Yen

    The quote ““What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved,” is significant because it emphasizes how Farmer is not trying to be a role model to shape one’s life. Instead, Farmer is symbolic for hope and merely an example of what should and could be done by a single individual. Farmer is truly an outstanding humanitarian because he illustrates that he can change the world drastically for the better simply by never giving up. With such dedication and integrity, Partners in Health flourishes and exceeds what onlookers thought was impossible. For instance, the Global Fund, created by Farmer, raised fourteen billion dollars to help fight the world’s great diseases. Without Farmer’s intelligence and prudence, PIH could not have improved so many TB cases and saved lives. Another example of how Farmer represents commitment is when he helps send John, a boy suffering from nasopharyngeal carcinoma, to a Massachusetts General Hospital. Initially, many hospitals would not accept John’s case because it was very costly and John’s family did not have the money to afford it. However, after research and strenuous work in finding an accepting hospital, Farmer manages to send him out of the state to retrieve help. Although John did not survive, he was able to die in a more comfortable setting with his mother flown to his side. Lastly, Farmer shows love and compassion for his patience, two rare characteristics that many medical professionals possess. What makes his care unique is that he isn’t acting superficially kind to gain glory or admiration from onlookers. His dedication to his patients is genuine, which can be seen when PIH hikes for long hours just to visit one or two patients afflicted with TB.
    This quote applies to my life because I am constantly comparing myself to my role models instead of comparing myself to my own standards. Most of the time, I find myself trying to be competitive with others by comparing achievements or end goals. When I commit to these mistakes, I find myself becoming glory-centered instead of doing things genuinely from the heart. It’s not until I really reflect on my own works and the motives behind my actions that I realize that sometimes my altruistic behaviors are actually selfish. Unlike Farmer, my more human needs, such as a craving for praise from friends or family makes me lose sight of my true passion: community service. From Farmer, I learned that being an ideal role model isn’t what serving the community is about. I need to give up the image that I am seeking and work whole heartedly for the community.

  11. Leslie Mendoza

    There are different ways to address a particular problem, but the effectiveness of the proposed solution would be reflected by the strengths or weaknesses of the individual that’s putting it into action. Farmer is one of those few individuals whose greatness in his career is easily noticeable by anyone who recognizes his accomplishments of leading the change in the norm of public health. However, not everyone has the same strengths as Farmer just like not everyone holds his same “weakness” in being attached to his Haitian patients (rather than going back to America and get paid much more for his services).

    I think, it represents the mood of PIH in that it spreads the message to do what you can for the public based on what you can do now with what you have right now. Otherwise, it’s intimidating and overwhelming if they can’t live up to the accomplishments of Farmer. Instead, Farmer is the example that even things that may look impossible, can be reached if you continue to strive for it. Even if it’s a different path (As Jim’s path was).

    It’s a very important concept that one needs to keep in mind. Reflecting on it, I realize that sometimes, when I strive to reach my goal, I forget what it is to be “me.” How would “I” do this or how would “I” react to that -things like that may get lost in the moment when I strive to reach whatever standard I have placed before me. It’s silly, I know, when it even becomes a form of stubbornness while trying to address a particular problem in a particular way, the way that perhaps another person I respected had done so before me. But at the same time, it feels that if I didn’t go about it in their manner, I would not had completely experienced life. To only know how to do it “my” way, and not the “other” way, which would be the “right” way? It isn’t until I had experienced “both” ways, then but until then will I be able to say “this” is my way; through “my ” choice.

  12. Omeid Heidari

    The attitude in PHI is very qualified. On one hand they want to be like Paul and emulate his work, but on the other, they realize the limitations and sacrifices associated with Paul’s lifestyle and hesitate to follow in his exact footsteps. As PHI grew, it ran into more problems that would not be able to be solved with Paul’s mentality. While there are people who wish to dedicate their lives to the poor, the did, at the same time, want to ensure their own personal monetary safety. The quote is so important because it is not possible to live the life Paul did and it should not be something to be necessarily achieved by everyone. His life should be that manual, however, to achieve a goal worth achieving, and to solve the problems along the way. There is no doubt about the intelligence of Farmer, but his strategy in his own life hindered his personal health and well being. However, he continued to work towards a goal he believed in, a very honorable goal.

    I fell like I would be that medical student that Farmer write that stern email to about his work. I truly do want to serve the less fortunate in my life, but taking such risks and putting my personal well being as well as the well being of my family would be a tremendous sacrafice. I want to use farmer’s life as a goal to achieve but not something necessairly to attain. His work will be someone I will truly admire, but will never be able to make the same sacrafices as him. However, if everyone did think a little bit more like Paul and a little less about their own self interestes, self richeous crusaders, like Paul, would not be necessary in the world.

  13. Andre Navarro

    I feel like the mood at PIH was a little overwhelmed. Instead of looking at the “manual” they seem to be just looking at Farmer. What Farmer wanted was for them to take what he was doing and tweak it to their own preference. He didn’t want them to actually just copy what he was doing and become him; because that would be a very daunting task. I think the people at PIH just didn’t realize they didn’t need to become Farmer they just needed to have his mindset. Farmer had wrote an open letter to the PIH organization and within the letter, “he worried that PIH might be losing its way ‘morally.’ This because, among other things, some employees expected to be paid for working extra hours.” And Farmer’s response was that, “One can never work overtime for the poor. We’re only scrambling to make up for our deficiencies.”
    Farmer had been an incredibly hard working individual and went above and beyond for his patients (so far in this book); I’m sure all the people at PIH saw him in a very positive light and wanted to show their appreciation by emulating him. Jim says, “Paul is a model of what should be done. He’s not a model for how it has to be done.” And shortly after Jim adds, “ Because if the poor have to wait for a lot of people like Paul to come along before they get good health care, they are totally fucked.” And Farmer didn’t disagree with Jim’s statement. I think Farmer understands that he really does do something that most people do not do. Farmer really does stand up for the poor, and devotes a lot of time and effort to helping people in need which at times seems impossible. I think what makes Farmer such an incredibly strong person is that he doesn’t ever seem to be afraid of failure; he always seems to find a way through certain situations.
    I don’t think anyone should copy another person, because then you are only following someone else in their shoes. You should take their mindset and apply that to your personal goals or causes. In my life I feel like I have done this. My immediate family members are hard workers, yet they have not gone to college; I feel like I took their work ethic and applied it to school.

  14. Patricia Chiu

    It would be difficult to work at PIH and not feel as if you had to imitate what Paul Farmer did; Farmer has achieved in improving the health of the world whether it be through the actual seeing of patients, teaching, or meeting with key figures. I agree with what Jim in saying that “Paul has created technical solutions to help the rest of us get to decency, a road map to decency that we can all follow without trying to imitate him.” Initially, when Jim started working for Farmer, it seemed that he was trying to imitate Paul’s work. For example, he saw the good work that Farmer was doing in Haiti and he wanted to imitate that kind of work in Peru. According to Tracy Kidder, “Jim planned to imitate a part of Zanmi Lasante (pg. 130). Though Jim is PIH’s bayakou, Creole for a person who picks up excrements, Jim realizes that Farmer is really his inspiration to offer service to others. He admits to Farmer that he would rather do political work than taking care of patients.

    Just as Jim and Ophelia did when they first met Farmer, the workers of PIH will want to imitate him and his life’s work but then they acknowledge that rather than wanting to imitate him they soon find themselves to be inspired by what he does. In their attempts to imitate him, the workers of PIH eventually find their true calling. In Jim’s case, his calling is in political work and in Ophelia’s case, her calling is in administrative work.

    Often times attempting to imitate another person will eventually lead to the finding of your own identity. Having an older sister who went to one of the best high schools in California, UC Berkeley as an Undergraduate, and UC Berkeley, again, as a graduate student, it is difficult to not want to imitate her. In middle school, I told myself that I would go to the same high school as her. I kept my grades up and joined many extracurricular activities and was accepted. However, in high school, in joining the same clubs that she joined, I realized that I was interested in engaging in leadership roles, community service, and the arts, things that she did not engage in. In taking a detour from my sister’s path, I had traveled the road less traveled by and had found my own interests.

  15. Kevin J. Son

    Honestly, Paul Farmer’s life is an extraordinary one and he displays many great features to people, role model, passion, genuine, and so much more. Paul Farmer’s life experiences were out of his own good heart and he did it to make an impact in other lives. Paul Farmer was expressed in the novel as the kind of person that other people should be like, but not exact imitations of him. People of great service aren’t in it for the recognition, but to make the change that will open the eyes of others. The other people will hopefully notice that a little service will benefit them, the people, and environment around them. I feel that this quote means, helping others in need and finding ways to improve the lives of the poor even if it’s the little things is a great path to a better society. Paul Farmer was a great example of a contributor and a service leader, but people do not have to be exactly like him to do great things for their society. You need passion and a goal oriented mind to bring out the best in you and you will see the great benefits in service activities. Paul Farmer’s accomplishments and love to give back to society honestly is something I admire. Paul Farmer and the service learning site I am currently volunteering at has definitely impacted me and made me realize that I can contribute so much more to my society. At PIH the mood is that Paul Farmer is an inspiration and a great role model to everyone, but do not want to be imitations of Paul Farmer.
    Paul Farmer is someone I would love to be, but I know I could never reach his level. Instead, I’m taking baby steps to reach a level where I know I have accomplished many great things that have impacted society for the better. Right now the service learning site I am volunteering at, Share Our Shelves is one of the best places I have volunteered at in my life. This site gives me passion to do more services in other cities and hopefully in the future to do services in other states and countries. I am goal orientated and honestly love to bring happiness in the lives of others. I try my best to be that person that everyone can count on.

  16. Brenda Ramirez

    After reading some of the responses, I’m not sure what to say. Some people had really elaborate explanations. I think that this quote represents the mood of PIH. The mood at PIH is one of little motivation and little hard work. I say that the mood is like this because the quote represents the new PIH-ers. The new PIH-ers are more interested in obtaining a guideline/manual from Farmer so that they don’t have to admit that intractable problems could be solved by one person. If they don’t admit to knowing that they could solve problems, they can live without sacrifice. They wouldn’t have to live like Farmer who was able to solve problems but only with great sacrifice. “…[Ophelia] was trying to accommodate newcomers, trying… to “normalize” the experience of working as a PIH-er: it was okay to have children, to go home some days at five o’clock, to take a vacation.” I think this quote demonstrates that new PIH-ers wanted only a manual from Farmer, so that they could do what needed to be done, not do what should be done in order to live a normal life (who could blame them).
    I think this quote fits greatly into my life. I worked about 6 years before coming to school. I hated my job and I decided to live and do what I wanted to do. And what I want is to help animals, the environment, and people. Through time and a lot of trial and error, I learned that it is possible and that I don’t want to do it because I am looking for a job. I want to do it because it should be done. I am still learning how I can help and finding my own route like Farmer did. I believe I am at the stage where Farmer was reading about politics and health in the beginning of the book. All in all, I have a lot of work cut out for me, but I am willing to do it.

  17. Brenson M Yu

    I think the Partners in Health organization wanted to help by simply following standard procedures. In a sense I felt the PIH’ers did not want to put themselves in a situation where they face trying to put everything together component by component that Farmer did to have an organization run smoothly. I believe the PIH’ers that succeed Farmer were looking for a standard, where they could assist in straightforwardness to manual or standardized procedures without breaking their backs. The PIH’ers I believe are doing right to make it their own experience, and I believe Farmer would agree they were making a difference, living out and practicing heir own sense of duty. In other words, they were not trying to be Farmer, but more importantly assist the organization and help out in the efforts in respect to having lives, but at the same time committing themselves to make a difference.
    I personally believe the Paul Farmer has a strong base of volunteers at PIH that believe in his mission statement. These people put in work, and it is a representation of what I did back in high school when I put work in afterschool tutoring programs. In high school I wanted my own free time, but felt motivated to hone my own skills in help people out in the other spare time I had. My contribution was teaching students my own knowledge, sort of like Paul Farmer where he taught them to practice and apply to enrich themselves. My hopes were the students I tutored, would tutor other students later. In high school I contributed with consistency, and although I could have done more, I know what I did in the tutoring program was my sense abilities to havingcivic duty. More importantly, I did my part to help out with the program, and was a proponent in the movement of the organization.

  18. Amy Sage

    “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved.” (p. 244) How do you think this quote represents (or doesn’t) the mood at PIH? How does it apply (or not) to your life?

    This quote, to me at least, seems to represent a mood at PIH that one wanting to make a difference should not have to mimic Farmer, but should want to just make a difference. I think most would fail to be exactly like Farmer, but it is your intentions that help people. You should not want to develop yourself to be like Farmer, or in a sense, use his life as a manual, but you should notice that there is a problem that needs to be fixed, and come up with a way to address that problem even if it isn’t the exact same thing Farmer did to address the problems that he found in Haiti. You shouldn’t be worried about developing your attributes to be exactly those of Farmer, but you should be working to help others in need. The mood at PIH is hopeful, but the quote makes it very clear that you do not need to be like Farmer to make a difference, you just need to work to find a solution for the problem.

    I believe that this does apply to my life in many ways. I can’t be like everyone who does amazing things, and I can’t be a Paul Farmer, but I can still make a difference. My attributes to the world may not be like Farmer’s, but I will find my place in this world and figure out what my unique contribution is. I have something to offer this world and I’m working towards it. For me personally, I am gaining and education at UCI in hopes of returning to my reservation to practice medicine. There are huge deficits in American Indian Healthcare, and addressing this population is different than addressing the greater population. There is a history and culture that must be known. I’m taking very small, and seemingly slow steps to eventually aid in the health of my people.

  19. Dulshani BalasuriyaArachchi

    This was one of Jim’s quotes that said young PIH volunteers and other admirers of Paul should not try to be like him but learn from what he did and try to make change and help others in their own way. PIH was growing in to a big organization with new additions of administrators, and technicians etc. from different universities. I think as the organization grew the new members did not have a proper idea of the old values and mottos followed by the organization or they changed them according to their standards. Also, one of the reasons young volunteers joined the PIH was because of all the accomplishments and dedication of Paul Farmer. Some idolized him, wanted to be like him and thought that’s the best way to bring change and help the poor. Paul and Jim noticed this and disagreed. I think Jim thought some people at PIH and many young students got the wrong idea from Farmer’s work on how to make a difference. Hence, he advised people with this statement.

    Personally, I agree with Jim’s statement. I think people should make a difference in the world in their own way. No two individuals are alike. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. People should know them and use them appropriately to help others and make a difference in the world.

  20. Diana Garcia

    I think this quote not only represents the mood at PIH but of many people who work for the community and try to change the world a little bit at a time. Jim explained, “Paul is a model of what should be done. He’s not a model for how it has to be done” (244). Thus anyone who cares deeply enough about a cause to dedicate their own lives to it can have the same impact as Paul. Service learning should not be done for recognition and to try to be better than someone else it should be about finding an answer to the many problems we face. Paul serves as an example that change can occur, that a cure is tangible for many of these people that have been forgotten just because they do not have the resources to get medical attention. But it is important for people to see that he could not have done it alone and that every helping hand counts.

    In another class I’m taking, we were discussing Jaime Escalante, from the movie Stand Up and Deliver. He was a teacher who changed the lives of his students in East Los Angeles by motivating them and expecting more from them but he is often the only one that is given credit for the success of the students when it was actually a collective effort. I bring this up because even though someone else might get the credit for doing the same work you are, does not mean that the work is done and you should pack up and move on to something else. When you’re helping people, you feel good or at least I do and that’s one of the main reasons I do it, not so that my name can be remembered in history, which would be nice too. We need to look at the work that has been accomplished as fuel to motivate us and teach us that it is possible and if we work enough it can be done.

  21. Justyne Catacuatan

    I think taking Paul as a leading example to one’s work is something someone should take in when referring back to the quote. Yes, like what was said, it is intimidating to look at what Farmer has done, but it is merely just an influence that PIH-ers should take. Everyone’s interpretation is different. For PIH, I think it was just a turning point for them to realize that more things can be done. I feel that this quote and the life of Paul Farmer influence my ethics and morals as well. I do not necessarily agree that the direct quote was worded as unbiased as it could be. I mean that when I read the quote, I can see how people can interpret it differently. The use of words used do sound a little harsh. But I feel that it gives the inspiration that with work and the right mindset, anything can be done. I know for me that having priorities and goals make me who I am

  22. Hyun Joo Lee

    Throughout the book, I have observed Farmer’s relentless efforts to
    alleviate and end the plight of humans who do not have access to the
    medical services they need. Through Farmer, I was reminded of the inner
    power within all of us that can make great, positive contributions to
    society. But as I learned more about Farmer, I often wondered how there
    could be someone as self-sacrificing and as dedicated as he is. While his
    choice to be involved wholeheartedly in serving his community were
    definitely admirable, I also felt that the choices he made for his
    personal life were sometimes questionable because he did not seem to have a clear balance from his work and his personal life. For example, he would choose to address global issues over spending time with the people close to him. I’m not saying his choices were bad, but the choices he made were one that many, including myself, would have difficulty following. For this reason, if they attempted to set Farmer as the role model of their life and tried to imitate him, they might not be very happy. The quote, “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved” seems to suggest that while Farmer is indeed a respectable man, his choices are not necessary the steps everyone must/should follow. In the text, it said that a sign taped to a wall read “If Paul is the model, we’re golden.” But looking closely, it was discovered that the word
    “golden” was replaced with the word “fucked,” when put together, read, “If Paul is the model, we’re fucked.” This is because Paul is not a model for
    how it has to be done, but is a model of what should be done. This is
    important to note because there is a clear distinction between the two,
    and it is important for service learners to understand this and set their
    goals realistically so that they can achieve it and make a difference.
    From this we can see that rather than encouraging people to follow the
    footsteps of Farmer’s life, which could indeed seem impossible to many,
    they encourage people to set their goals accordingly to their different
    morals, standards, expectations, life, and dreams in life. Listening to
    many of the speaker’s presentations, reading stories of people like
    Farmer, and not being able to see big differences from our services to
    society may sometimes make us feel like our contributions are not very significant. However, it is not true. Every action counts—whether it is small or big, as long as it is genuine from the heart, it counts and definitely makes a difference. I think that this quote is trying to tell us not to judge the quality of our actions by comparing it to others, but to hold reasonable
    expectations and standards for oneself and follow our hearts in making the difference.

    1. Hyun Joo Lee

      Sorry about the weird format! Don’t know why it turned out that way :(

  23. George Goodman

    This quote represents the mood at PIH because everyone has their own methods for helping people. Everyone in PIH looks at Paul as inspiration, proof that problems can be solved and good health can be achieved by people around the world. But, they don’t try to be exactly like him because that doesn’t make their contribution unique and because that would set some high expectations.

    I think this applies to my own life, in the sense that I look at role models for inspiration, but I want to construct my own path in life. I never look at someone and say I want to be exactly like them. I think it is important for people, especially in civic and community engagement, to realize they bring a special contribution to a program or charity that no one else brings. That is what makes places like the hospitals in Peru and Haiti that they reference in the book and volunteer organizations like Share Our Selves Orange County so special.

  24. Ai-Thuan Nguyen

    In my opinion, the quote on p.244 perfectly describes the mood at PIH. Everyone in this world are different from one another even twins. Even though twins have the same genes, their interaction with the world changes how they set themselves in the world. Kim stated that Paul Farmer should be used as an example of the fact that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Aside from that, Paul Farmer should not be their goal on what they want to be in the future because trying to become someone else is impossible. There are many ways the PIH-ers can help others and they do not have to devout their whole lives to a goal.
    This is also good for the PIH-ers because it relieves the pressure of being someone as great as Paul Farmer. He basically dropped everything in his life in order to help those that are in need. That is a very noble thing to do but not many can do what he did. Aside from the physical pain he has to go through from all the traveling and irregular sleeping schedules, he also have to have no time for himself. I can only imagine the mental stress that places on him.
    Of course everyone wants to be as great as Paul Farmer but that road is only meant for a few. I know I want to help out my community but I do not think I can devout my entire life for that purpose. I have seen many people devote most of their time to work while their families are missing them. I want to be a part of my family but I will do my best to propel my community towards improvement.

  25. Kellie St. Pierre

    I believe that Farmer’s dedication to helping Haiti and others in need is extremely admirable and shows his faith in changing the community, and we should use these traits as an inspiration to find in our own selves a way to serve in the community. However, we should should also learn from Paul that a balance in life is extremely necessary, and that our personal health and happiness is just as important. We are not responsible for all the problems in the world, and should not attempt to fix a world’s load of them. With that said, I must confess my similarities with Paul. I really do have a passion to help, serve people, and be involved in the community. With that passion, however, I have found it very difficult for me to say no. With any opportunity that opens up to me, I immediately find in it a beneficial reason to accept, without considering if I have room in my life to give. Thus I end up piling my plate with seconds and thirds, dividing myself into a hundred sections that disperse into the community. It is after the initial inspiration where I see the effects of giving to much of myself. My inability to say no drives me 6 feet underground and takes a toll on my body physically, mentally, and emotionally and priorities in my life, such as family, friends, faith, and personal time, become extinct. I think it is definitely important to recognize help needed in the community, and where you can fit yourself into the situation. I also believe that if you are not in a happy, healthy state, it will be harder do so. It is a blessed characteristic and talent to be able to help people-to have the drive and the stamina to offer help where others cannot. However, Paul as well as myself teaches us how to use those talents to supplement your life, not to take it over.

  26. Gaurav Nihalani

    The quote inspires PIH-ers to believe in themselves and realize that the difficult tasks they encounter can be solved without them needing to mimic everything Farmer did. Since Farmer was such a maniac when it came to his work it is likely that his lifestyle is not suited for everyone. Many PIH-ers looking to be the heir to his throne would feel they need to be exactly like him to accomplish similar feats. This quote counters that myth by stating it is not necessary to give up your family life, health, and other personal needs, as Paul did, in order to accomplish goals you have set out for yourself. The quote implies that PIH-ers should only take from Paul that anything they put their mind to is possible, not that anything is possible if you completely give up your own life for that purpose.

    In my life I feel that this is quite true as well. I constantly find myself overloaded with work and no time for myself, friends, or family. Even though I am only an undergraduate student I still, like Paul, have a lot on my plate. Sometimes I feel it is too much but in order for me to succeed I have to accomplish everything. I feel Farmer is a great example of someone who is overwhelmed with work but his maniac personality allows him to succeed in such a lifestyle. I truly feel anything is possible as the quote suggests and I agree as well with the second part that states you must find your own way to get it done.

  27. Symone Magsombol

    Paul Farmer is an admirable person who has helped the less fortunate with their health, especially poverty regions affected by infectious disease. He is a great example to look up too, however although his deeds are grand, it is not the measure of how much you can do, but simply a prime sample of how motivation, dedicated, and determination can bring if you work hard on your goals. This is what I believe the above quote is trying to suggest. The possibility to achieve and to great things is attainable, but with it comes what Farmer’s virtues are with patience, compassion, intelligence, drive, and more. This represents that possibility of making a difference in the world by having Farmer as an influence to achieve things that at first seems unattainable, to then transforming that into something quite achievable and possible. Reflecting on my personal experience with healthcare, I sometimes feel as a volunteer that I am unable to contribute or do much for the community, however I realized that every little thing can count. With that, I reflect on another inspiring quote that I have come to think of relating to this week’s reflection: “Not to change the world, but not to leave it the same either.” ~ Peace Corps Motto

  28. Jennifer Lazaro

    What this quote represents for all PIH-ers and those that read it is that Farmer, with all his passion to make a difference, was able to accomplish many things. This quote is not to tell anyone that in order to make a difference they have to be just like Farmer, on the contraire, they should look at Farmer as an example of a common man with a vision of helping people in need. Farmer is no one special, he is as human as anyone else and he set out to fulfill his mission. PIH-ers should know that all missions are reachable and able to be accomplished. Farmer’s techniques will not always work for everyone; each person has a unique way of demonstrating their help, and that’s what this quote is referring to: Farmer is not a manual, but an example of how he tackled his problem.
    This quote would definitely bring a positive mood at PIH, because not everyone there have the same luxuries that Farmer has (i.e. traveling, in the chapter Medicos Adventureros, he tell Kidder that they have the luxury of getting out of Haiti, but not everyone can leave) or the degree. And for those that want to help, they should not feel let down if they don’t measure up to Farmer, what matter is that they are dedicated and passionate to make a difference. This quote represents that, that every help that is able to be obtained can make as much of a difference as Farmer’s work.
    This without doubt applies to my life; it’s a form of thinking. We do not need to be like the rest in order to make a difference. I love to volunteer, reach out to my community and be active; this of course does not mean that in order for me to make a huge difference I have to be like Farmer or Mother Teresa. This quote assures me that my contribution does make a difference in a long run; I do not need to dedicate my entire life abroad. I can start making the difference at home and at my own pace.

  29. Nimrah Salim

    I think the quote was means that instead of trying to be exactly like Paul look at him as your inspiration or your role model. I think that you have to look at not only what he did, but how he did it. Its his passion and his love for what he did that made it so good. It is his example and the way he leads that one should look at before delving into anything. You can’t follow every step that he took and do everything the way he did but you can look up to him and see the way he approached things and made them work. I feel like what the people at PIH are being told is to have the same amount of passion that Farmer had but not to use his accomplishments as guidelines for what you must get done.
    I think that it does apply to my life because instead of trying to acomplish exactly what farmer did I should try to use him as an example of what I can do.

  30. Alexis Utanes

    As the organization gains more publicity and continues to expand, PIH may have started to lose its integrity. In the beginning when it was just Farmer, Father Jack, Jim and Ophelia, they had to work with what they had to carry out their medical mission. This required walking miles and miles to gather medications, as well as campaigning tirelessly to receive support. The newer employees are unaware of the organization’s difficult but humble beginnings. They are now able to “have children, to go home some days at 5 o’clock, [and] to take a vacation” (243). Paul even expresses in a letter to the Gates Foundation that the PIH might be losing it’s morality. With the growing numbers of people joining the coalition, many colleagues desire to become one of Farmer’s proteges. But attempts at imitation fail because there can only be one Dr. Paul Farmer. Besides, how can they expect to conduct things the way he did if they are asking to be compensated for working extra hours? The bottom line is they are spoiled—they cannot survive the huge amounts sacrifice that would take a toll upon their body, mind, and spirit like Farmer did.

    This significantly applies to my life right now. As a 4th year graduating Senior, I feel the sense of urgency in figuring out what I want to do after graduation. I thought I would go straight into graduate school because that is what most students around me are doing. However, I changed my mind when I realized, “Do I even want to pursue a career in this major? How are people supposed to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at the young age of 21?” The pressure has led me to investigate and research various careers, almost daily. But every time I hear someone speak passionately about their field, I inspired and think this is what i want to do—just like the aspiring Farmer proteges. My indecisiveness has made the decision to choose a career path quite a challenge, but taking this class and actually working directly with a non-profit has been very helpful. I am now more optimistic, and looking to work more in the non-profit sector because I too am developing a passion for it.

  31. Nirav Bhardwaj

    This quote perfectly shows the optimistic and forward-looking mentality within the PIH-ers. The meaning is simple but deep as it is essentially saying that you should not try and replicate Paul and do everything that he is doing, rather you should understand and believe that if you put your effort into a cause, you will be able to achieve your underlying goal. This means that everyone can work hard, be passionate, and be able to solve large issues around the world, but you have to do it your way. You have to find the will inside your own heart that is going to push you to do what you know can be done. It is in inspiration that you can do anything as long as you put your mind to it. And while it may not be the same as how Paul did it, it will be your own way.

    This quote plays a large role in my life as well. For those that I look up to and see as my mentors, I do not try and copy what they do but instead I get inspired by their successes and that inspiration is what motivates me to create my own successes. Whether this be within the civic and community engagement world or the business world, I believe that this mentality is one that will bring great success to our lives.

  32. Cindy Arias

    I think this quote is an excellent motivator in my life even though I am not trying to accomplish what Farmer did in own life. To my understanding, the Partners in Health were not faced with the impossible as so it seemed, but with an unknown area that no one had ever ventured onto. The fact that PIH is considered to be an extraordinary accomplishment, yet an accomplishment in itself is what everyone should live by. Just because something has not be done before or resources are too limited to attack an issue does not mean that the problem must be forgotten. Our action toward any goal can be acheived with the right support system, the right heart, and the right amount of tolerance as Farmer clearly displayed throughout his novel. If it were not for his support system, is dedication and his application of knowledge in the correct and needed areas, it is unclear to say that his success with PIH would have amounted into much .
    For anyone who comes across that quote, the focus should be put on intangible enitites that Farmer had instead of the tangible. With THAT as a blueprint for life, anything can be accomplished!

  33. Dillon Gamboa

    This quote represents not only the PIH-ers, but also what other non-profits and people should try to live by. It represents the fact that in life there are things that seem like we can’t do anything about, but if enough people actually pull together towards a common goal we all just might get past this obstacle. Although he shows that he has a priority towards one aspect of his life and the others fall short, we shouldn’t mess up the balance in our life. We should be able to do what Farmer does, but not to the point where it might exhaust us.

    I think this applies to me because I do believe that if enough people have the same goal in life me and that group of individuals can actually make a difference in another persons life no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. When ever I work with a group I like to think that we are all on the frequency because we joined because we loved what the purpose is all about. So knowing that we have that mentality we can all move forward to try to help contribute to solve problems that other people are working towards to solve as well.

  34. Noelia

    I think it is partly human nature to want to be like a person when we see them markedly changing the norm. This is indeed the wrong focus. The mood at PIH seems energetic and dizzying; many volunteers, professionals in administration, and information technologies working arduously to smoothly execute Paul Farmer’s vision. I think the quote in question does describe the mood at PIH because of the sign taped to a wall which alluded to the idea that no one can really be like Farmer, and, one shouldn’t try. Instead, one should focus on the evidence that at first glance what seems impossible to change and improve, is by all means possible. By focusing on helping others, and thinking outside the box, we can be the change that Farmer is.
    The idea of “being change” directly applies to my life in one important respect which, really, encompasses my whole person. In my deep faith and conviction in God I try to emulate the behavior of Jesus. I try to love selflessly, have compassion, help, be just, and truthful. I may miserably fail in my aspirations daily, but I keep trying everyday with God’s help. So I focus on how Jesus, in his time and today, is still changing the world and work toward being the change the he was.

  35. Wendy Salazar

    This quote pretty much said that people should not try to strive to be like Farmer, but rather gather bits and pieces here and there. They should know and learn of all his accomplishments as a form of inspiration. By learning of his life accomplishments, they can gain knowledge and successful methods and and even use them as a basis for their own service and action plans. At the end of the day, everyone is different and must build upon what has already been done. Yes, what Farmer did would be considered god-like for some, but such methods were appropriate and successful during that time and setting. People who want to help need to solely know that change is possible and use their own techniques, ideas, and personality to achieve it.

    As I reflect on my own life, I can see how I too give a lot without really taking time to myself. By no means am I trying to compare myself to Farmer, but I think as people who like to give back and help others, this is one of our weaknesses; it becomes difficult to stop. My supervisor said, “For those that constantly give, a lot is expected from.” I thought about this for a while and realized she was right. Those who help do so without expecting anything in return, other than knowing they’ve done good. However, this can take a toll on a person, especially when expectations are high. I am still trying to find that balance in my life, but something tells me I will always have a to do list. I am never content because I know I can always be doing more. Yes, it’s not healthy, but it is a big part of who I am.

    1. David Moghissi

      I can see where you’re coming from, Wendy. I know that at the LASOC, people often work full shifts and volunteer to skip their breaks. Although that may be beneficial in a particular situation, its important to make sure that you don’t overextend yourself. That way, you can help more people in the long-run.

  36. Krystin Uyema

    I think this quote describes the mood at PIH perfectly because it shows how Farmer is a model to many people. In the new employees office there was a sign that read, “If Paul is the model, we’re fucked.” Jim wrote this sign to show the new PIH-ers that everyone should want to have as much dedication as Paul does. He has saved so many lives and influenced those around him to want to be like him. Other PIH-ers should not strive to imitate exactly what Paul has accomplished because many would fail or take too long, but instead live by these guidelines he’s laid out for others to follow. He’s proven to many that the impossible tasks that no one thinks can get done, actually can with enough motivation for a cause. PIH-ers should be inspiration to improve the lives others, not oneself.
    This quote has made me realize that in the past I have often times looked up to people and sometimes wanted to be just like them. However, imitating someone else will not accomplish as much when compared to using them as a guidance in your life. Farmer has inspired me to want to do more in the community, but since I know I cannot accomplish what he has I will take some of his characteristics and views on life to use on other community service in the future. This quote is a good and memorable quote that I think everyone should take along with them in their life. Its an inspiring quote to look to others for inspiration, yet be yourself while doing it.

  37. Jennifer-Christine Madamba

    The quote,”What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved” truly relates to everything in life. I think that this quote shows that the PIH-ers should not necessarily follow Paul’s living and what he has done but to realize that anything is possible. This shows that the PIH-ers are truly grateful for having Paul present in their lives and helping them with what they need. It should not necessarily be something you have to do but an individual could do. It is definitely possible.
    This does somehow applies to my life because a lot of people do incredible things in our society. They fight for things they believe in and others save lives. Although many people do not have the ability to do such things, the aforementioned quote allows us to realize that it’s something that can be done. Some people are meant to do different things in their lives but we all have the ability to do it. We all have the ability to make a difference but in different ways.

  38. David Moghissi

    “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved.” (p. 244) How do you think this quote represents (or doesn’t) the mood at PIH? How does it apply (or not) to your life?

    This powerful quote properly parallels the mood at PIH most of the time because workers there were incredibly optimistic. Rightfully so, they put Farmer on a platform and sought to model their actions after him. This is to be expected because, at almost any service site, a righteous belief reinforcing what the group does is imperative. It facilities the very impetus that drives collective bodies like PIH to do good in the world.

    Most recently I can apply this quote to the work I’ve done at the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. At this office people are constantly coming in for assistance; the line often branches outside the door and, usually, we are understaffed. It’s easy to feel like we don’t have the resources to pull all the way through sometimes. At the end of the day, though, I always stay optimistic and believe that I can pull through and help as many people as possible.

  39. Christine Thrasher

    “What PIH-ers should take from Paul wasn’t a manual for their lives but the proofs he’d created that seemingly intractable problems could be solved.” (p. 244) How do you think this quote represents (or doesn’t) the mood at PIH? How does it apply (or not) to your life?

    It reflects the idealistic mood at PIH, and how many of them wanted to emulate Farmer. However, emulation was not always practical or possible, and this quote is suggesting that the real lesson they should learn from Farmer is simply to work hard and not give up on trying to solve a problem, because ultimately, even seemingly impossible problems can be solved with enough willpower and creativity.

    This quote applies to my life, because even though I am not the rugged, die-hard humanitarian that Paul Farmer is, I can still do my part in helping to solve seemingly insurmountable problems. For instance, my work for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will not do away with the stigma and shame that surrounds suicide and mental illness, but it will make a difference in the lives of the small group of people that my work affects. Although it is heroic to give up a comfortable life in order to serve others, it is just as worthwhile to devote your life to good causes in other ways, such as pursuing it through education, and finding a career in which you will help people in small ways every day.

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