What to read next? Why not a Creole book?

“Mountains beyond Mountains” is a Haitian Creole non-fictional book written by Tracy Kidder that has changed my life and the way I see things. I have read countless books in my life, but no other work has inspired me this much or made me so interested in a culture like this exceptional book. I was reluctant at first to pick up this book, because I am more into fictional literature, but then I thought that I have never read a Creole book or a biography before, so I took this chance to try out both. It only took me a moment to realize that Kidder has done a great job letting the real and so more fascinating aspects of the Haitian people show while depicting Paul Farmer’s story, so I was hooked from the start. It is rare for me to pick up a book twice, but “Mountains beyond Mountains”, which by the way comes from a Haitian proverb meaning that after any problem there is another problem, was one of those readings I wanted to repeat as many times possible, because it awakens something in me, it makes me want to do something with my life and be more humane. Ultimately, it is a book that strips you from all your excuses and gives you hope in the future. I started to learn Haitian Creole immediately after finishing reading the book the first time, because I wanted to understand their culture at a deeper level and of course, read Mountains beyond Mountains in Creole.

After reading this book, I also became very interested in the Haitian culture and the way these people think. I used to think that you could not expect anything from a bunch of uneducated people and that we could learn nothing from someone that strongly believes in voodoo magic in the twentieth century, but I could not have been more wrong. There is a scene in the book that got me thinking. Farmer is very curious how a local Haitian woman could claim to believe in modern medicine and voodoo magic at the same time and her answer blew my mind. She asked him how come he, a respectable and highly educated doctor, is not capable of complexity and I realized that we indeed have a dual thinking (white or black, right or wrong) and cannot accept contradictory beliefs, which makes us inflexible and plain stupid in my opinion. At first, the Haitian culture might throw you back, but after giving it a change I understood that we have so many things to learn from them.

This Creole book is my favorite non-fictional book so far, the only one I like rereading whenever I feel my motivation to do something wanes. The accomplishments of Paul Farmer will inspire anyone and the recollections about the Haitian society will get you hooked and interested in learning more. I am very happy to have attended Haitian Creole classes, because I can speak the language fluently now and every time I visit I get to know a little bit more about these people and their fascinating history and superstitions, something you cannot accomplish by hiring an interpreter.


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