I just finished reading Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, a book about Dr. Paul Farmer, or Doktè Paul, as his Haitians friends and patients call him. The book is grippingly intense, showing how Dr. Farmer, with his passion and energy, changed the world for Haiti, Peru, Russia and other places, helping to cure TB and AIDs and save lifes in a global scale.
A little paragraph from the book, as Tracy talks about Farmer:
It still seemed to me that he took a stance all too conveniently impregnable. He embodied a preferential option for the poor. Therefore, any criticism of him amounted to an assault on the already downtrodden people he served. But I knew by now he wasn't simply posing. I felt somthing about hi that I'd later frame to myself this way: He said patients came first, prisoners second, and students third, but this didn't leave out much of humanity. Every sick person seemed to be a potential patient of Farmer's and every healthy person a potential student. In his mind, he was fighting all poverty all the time, and endeavor full of difficulties and inevitable failures. For him, the reward was inward clarity, and the price perpetual anger or, at best, discomfort with the world, not always on the surface but always there.
This is a story of an amazing man who changed the world. In the book, a co-worker of him quoted Margaret Mead, which is one of my favorite quote: Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
You can listen to an interview with Kidder talking about the book here on NPR.