On January 12, 2010, a major earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Hundreds of thousands of people died, and the greater part of the capital was demolished. Dr. Paul Farmer, U.N. deputy special envoy to Haiti, who had worked in the country for nearly thirty years treating infectious diseases like tuberculosis and AIDS, and former President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, had just begun to work on an extensive development plan to improve living conditions in Haiti. Now their project was transformed into a massive international rescue and relief effort. In his own words, Farmer documents this effort, including the harrowing obstacles and the small triumphs. Despite an outpouring of aid, the challenges were astronomical. U.N. plans were crippled by Haiti's fragile infrastructure and the death of U.N. staff members who had been based in Port-au-Prince. In chronicling the relief effort, Farmer draws attention to the social issues that made Haiti so vulnerable to this natural disaster. Yet Farmer's account is not a gloomy catalog of impenetrable problems. As devastating as Haiti's circumstances are, its population manages to keep going. Farmer shows how, even in the barest camps, Haitians organize themselves, creating small businesses such as beauty parlors. His narrative is interwoven with stories from Haitians themselves and from doctors and others working on the ground. Ultimately this is a story of human endurance and humility in difficult circumstances and seemingly overwhelming odds.
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by Colm Toibin
by Nora Ephron
by Nancy Farmer
by Philip Jose Farmer
by Paul Farmer, Amartya Sen
"Listeners can immediately believe they are hearing Paul Farmer himself deliver his eloquent broadcast of the voices of those affected by the disastrous earthquake in Haiti in January 2010. Eric Conger captures not only the matter-of-fact tone of Dr. Farmer, founder of Partners in Health and UN deputy special envoy for Haiti, but also the bold yet restrained compassion that fills Farmer's account. Additional essays by friends and colleagues make up the second part of the program. Edwidge Danticat and Michele Montas-Dominique deliver passionate readings of their works. Joia S. Mukerjee's heavily accented delivery of "Neg Mawon" resonates with anger on behalf of her country. Meryl Streep and Edoardo Ballerini give commanding and sensitive performances of several essays. The careful, respectful use of Haitian Creole is a welcome addition, as are clear introductions and an index to the essays. The scenes of unimaginable devastation and loss so vividly described can be hard listening, but Farmer's vision for "building back better" and the hope and commitment of his colleagues and friends remain indelible. S.J.H./R.F.W. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"
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