World’s best Christmas present
Wednesday December 26th 2007, 5:33 pm
Filed under: Life

My in-laws’ gift to me was this brochure saying a sheep had been donated in my name to Heifer International. I am intensely grateful–I can’t possibly think of any material gift I could have enjoyed more, and Heifer International is one of the best charities out there in terms of using donated funds for the actual purposes the money is raised for.

Tracy Kidder’s book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains” about Paul Farmer, a Harvard doctor who set up a health clinic and school in Haiti, is part of why my in-laws’ choice is so meaningful to me. Farmer is the type of man who, at one point in the narrative, drives through a riot and pulls a man he watched being injured into his car to take him to his clinic for treatment, ignoring the thugs on both sides of the fight and both sides of the car. Someone is hurt. Not to help is unthinkable.

At one point in Farmer’s story, an armed soldier bursts into the compound he’d built, making threats and demanding, So what are you going to do about it?

And Farmer smiles gently and calmly answers, “Treat you and your family when you’re sick.”

That stops the soldier in his tracks. Totally disarms him. He leaves. No more soldiers come.

We can change the world by giving of who we are: Farmer is fortunate in that he can be there in a place like that in person, knowing he is making a difference.  (And he has the courage to do so, which I frankly do not.) For the rest of us, Heifer International is one of those entities that will do so for us. Thank you, Mom and DadH!

Heifer International and Paul Farmer in Haiti

5 Comments so far
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How thoughtful. I don’t need more stuff either. The years I’ve requested that people donate to charity in my name instead of buying me something, though, they all look at me like I’m the Grinch. However, instead of participating in the after-Christmas returns, we donate the new clothes we don’t need and so on to charity.

Comment by amy 12.26.07 @ 5:55 pm

That is a wonderful gift, a few years ago, my mom-in-law gifted us with a goat to a village through that organization :-}

Comment by Diana Troldahl 12.26.07 @ 7:44 pm

Very nice gift. I will have to look up that book. I was in Haiti for only 1 day in 1971…It was a place that changed my life even though I was only 12 at the time. Beautiful and yet so disturbing to me. Broke my heart to see so much poverty. I’ll never forget it.

Comment by Tracy J 12.27.07 @ 8:36 am

That is an absolutely wonderful fantastic gift. Is that enough adjectives for you? ha ha….

Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Here’s to 2008!

Comment by Amanda 12.27.07 @ 1:44 pm

Wonderful gift! Thank you for the story about Dr. Farmer. We should all be so calm.
You’re not alone. I’m not that type either..but it’s okay…somebody has to knit, raise kids and pet the grandkids. 🙂

Comment by Toni 12.27.07 @ 5:44 pm

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