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Recently I posted about connections between the skills required for success as an English major and how they could also contribute to success in science or medical fields, my brother Bill commented that he was reviewing a new novel, Cutting for Stone, by Dr. Abraham Verghese. Check it out.

I’m especially interested to read the book for this element:

Verghese also captures the feeling of rootlessness that is experienced by expatriates in Africa, and America, and the unusual ways that sojourners may find anchors and maintain relationships.

While we’re on the topic of family and doctors who have written books and other things worth reading, my father sent me links the other day for the obituary of Dr. Bill Close (1924-2009):

Dr. Close spent sixteen years in Africa, often joined by his wife and children. He arrived in the Congo just before independence and in time for the mutinies, coup d’états and rebellions that have marked the history of that country.

For his first year there, Dr. Close was responsible for surgery as one of only three doctors in the capital city’s 2,000-bed hospital. He became the personal physician to the president, and chief doctor for the Congolese Army, as well as seeing any citizen who came to his clinic for care. In 1967 Bill took over the management of the general hospital. . . .

Dr. Close is the author of four books, including Ebola: Through the Eyes of the People; A Doctor’s Life: Unique Stories; and Subversion of Trust, a novel. His most recent book is Beyond the Storm: Treating the powerless and the powerful in Mobutu’s Congo/Zaire

Dr. Close gave the 2001 commencement address at the University of Utah. His advice:

Get and stay involved with people whose perspectives are different and often bigger than any one of us. Avoid the old-fashioned colonial great white father approach that sought to tie up needy natives in the bonds of self-righteous care. Learn languages – Spanish, Navaho, French, Swahili, whatever — go there, see there, feel there, cry there, laugh there. Hands on, one on one, as brothers and sisters of the human race who care in real and practical ways. These human bonds will grow in strength and effectiveness as you learn more about people, as you take the time to listen, to learn, and especially to persevere

Good start, anyway.