Book Review Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

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Tracy Kidder is seated with Jon Carroll, an American Forces captain, at an army post in Mirebalais, Haiti, 14 days before Christmas in 1994. Carroll is told that he has visitors, one American friend, and four Haitians, as they are sitting. The American identifies himself as Paul Farmer, and he works as a doctor in a nearby hospital. Kidder appears to be seeing Farmer for the first time. Farmer expresses his need to figure out who beheaded the assistant mayor. Kidder stays with the soldiers for a few weeks longer and runs into Farmer again while flying around. Kidder holds a comprehensive discussion with Farmer regarding the killing of the assistant mayor. In the conversation, Farmer elucidates that he had come to warn Carroll. At this point, Kidder asks Farmer to tell him more about his life.

I know that Haiti is an impoverished country, and there is much insecurity; it cannot be an appropriate destination for people going on vacations or cruises. The state does not have a functioning legal system. Reportedly, the country’s per capita income is just slightly above a dollar per day (Kidder). The country lost most of its soils and forests. Moreover, it has the worst health statistics in the Western world. Some of the questions that I have about the country include: Can I drive my car while in Haiti? In what ways can I communicate with my friends in the country? In case of an emergency situation, how can I leave the country in the soonest time possible?

Zanmi Lasante is described as a “fortress on its mountainside, a large complex of concrete buildings, half covered with tropical greenery” (Kidder). All things in this hospital are well resourced and new. The accomplishments of Zanmi Lasante may be described as the public sanitation, houses, schools, and water systems. The facility obtains most of its funding from “Partners in Health”, which is a small public charity.

I think that when Kidder talks of “narrating Haiti”, he means that he will be telling the story of Haiti. Indeed, it is true because he presents information about what is happening in Haiti, especially the problems Haitians face.

Doctor Farmer informs Kidder that he, Farmer, will be the Virgil of Kidder. In this sense, Farmer considers every person as a prospective subject for education. The Farmer tells Kidder about his education regarding the link between medicine and the beliefs in witchcraft. At some point, he had lived in Boston while recovering from an injury when one of his patients succumbed to TB. When he came back, he was informed that the patient would not have lost her life if he had been around. Indeed, their intended connotation was complementary; however, Doctor Farmer changed it to self-reproach. In this regard, he wished to have a medical system, which would continue working even when he was not there.

The meaning of the title Mountains Beyond Mountains is that beyond mountains, there are still more mountains. Fundamentally, it can be considered that beyond difficulties, there are still more of those. My experience with mountains is that it is difficult to climb them, and one has to work hard and be determined before reaching up there.

Abolishing the Creole pigs and establishing the Peligre dam both played a significant role. It contributed to making the poor Haitians even poorer. Initially, Creole pigs enabled these people to meet their daily needs, including taking their children to school. The dam was meant to promote agribusiness; however, when it overflowed, it destroyed the land.

Work Cited

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains. Random House, 2004.

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