Friday, April 23, 2010

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness by Tracy Kidder

This was such an amazing and impactful book for me. Kidder is an wonderful writer whose narrative is such a joy to follow.

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness is the story of Deo, a refugee to America from Burundi. We often hear of the genocide occuring in Rwanda...this is the same thing (Hutus vs. Tutsis). It is horrifying to read of what is going on in these countries and to realize that America has done so very little to help. Why are we not more aware? Is it because it is occurring in Africa in a country that does not have the oil we need?

It was also eye-opening to see what life was like in America as he came here with very little money or other resources. The account of his personal strength to overcome...going from being a homeless person sleeping to Central Park in NYC to graduating from medical school is inspirational. Then, even more amazing, is to witness his selflessness as he returns to his native Burundi to help build medical clinics 15 years after he fled. It was very moving to go with Deo to the places that he witnessed the most horrifying of events and share in a small way his shocking experiences.

I heartily recommend this book as one that others in America (especially) should read as we step outside of our comfortable world and into the reality of what life is for others who have not been blessed as we have. It is interesting to me to ponder whether we are creating, in America, the kind of society of Hutus and Tutsis where we would do horrifying things to each other simply because of the meaningless title that has been affixed to us.

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