Farmer is a Harvard professor, recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant and a man with bottomless passion for humanity who logs millions of miles and spends most of his time in the world's poorest and least comfortable places. His biography is gripping and inspiring but what struck me most was when he talked about fighting the "long defeat" ... the endless battle against poverty, disease, ignorance, corruption and indifference to the poor.
“I have fought the long defeat and brought other people on to fight the long defeat, and I’m not going to stop because we keep losing. Now I actually think sometimes we may win. I don’t dislike victory. . . . You know, people from our background — like you, like most PIH-ers, like me — we’re used to being on a victory team, and actually what we’re really trying to do in PIH is to make common cause with the losers. Those are two very different things. We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it’s not worth it. So you fight the long defeat.”It makes me wonder what I'm passionate enough about to fight the long defeat.
His organization is Partners in Health and you can find more information here.