Paul Farmer Ideology

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Paul Farmer’s Acceptance and Rejection of His Childhood
When we see an adult who has made exceptional contributions to society, such as a political or business leader, we often wonder what he or she was like as a child. Did that adult also have an exceptional childhood? If so, did it influence who he or she became later in life? Dr. Paul Farmer, whose accomplishments are described in Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, is certainly an exceptional adult, and Kidder implies that Farmer’s unusual upbringing prepared him for the humanitarian work he does today. However, if we look closely at Farmer’s story, we can see that his life as an adult has been a rejection, as well as an acceptance, of what he learned as a child.
Farmer’s childhood was intellectually rich, although his family was financially poor. According to Kidder (2003), his father, Paul Farmer, Sr., left every stable job he had, whether as a salesman or a teacher. His mother Ginny supported the family by
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Before Paul, Sr. moved the family into a boat, he read The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe (Kidder, 2003, p. 51), which are both books about people who live on islands, cut off from the rest of humanity. Paul, Sr.’s dream seems to have been to isolate his family in the same way. Farmer’s work as an adult is not about isolation but about connection: about connecting people who are isolated by their poverty to medical and educational resources, and to the rest of humanity. Haiti is an island, but Farmer insists that it should not be isolated, either by its poverty or by American policies, and that the Haitians should not have to deal with their problems alone. Although Farmer himself can live in poor conditions, he works to alleviate the poverty of others. He has been deeply influenced by his father; he