the nobodies

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I feel as if I have recently taken a breather from weightier books, and I am diving back in again. This poem comes at the beginning of the introduction to Paul Farmer’s Pathologies of Power:  Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, and it struck deep chords inside of me. It struck deep inside because I like to believe that I do not classify people as nobodies, but the truth is that it is a constant battle.

In my work I have to ask the questions: How many people will a certain project reach? What is this project’s cost per person? Are we meeting our numbers? Or even this… let’s expand the merchandise we sell to include local handicrafts made by some of our partners. Each question is well founded – we want to reach as many people, as many individuals, as many communities as we can with every dollar raised. We want to be responsible with our funding. We want to hear stories of people no longer skipping school to carry water or girls staying home because they are menstruating and have no private toilet facilities. We want to support local groups who use their art, their crafts, to create income and become self-sustaining. Behind each number and question is a story of a person who is not a nobody, but we must fight to make these bodies the driving force, not the numbers.

And so today I am excited to dive into heavier literature that forces me to think, to remember why I do what I do, and to re-examine and expand my own thought processes. To be challenged is a good thing.

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