I’ve been out of the office for half of each of the last two weeks. Then Monday, Christine and I were at the Boston Idealist Grad School Fair together. By the time I left the office yesterday for a panel discussion at Harvard, I was behind on everything — including responding to email, leading to a few complaints from people who hadn’t heard from me. (Another day of patience should do it!)
Monday and Tuesday’s frenzy made it particularly pleasant to head back to Fletcher after the panel for a 5:30 book talk by the author and subject of Strength in What Remains. This was the second occasion of a new tradition, “Fletcher Reads,” for which all members of the community are invited to read a book and then come together for a conversation about it.
Listening to Deo, the Burundian refugee profiled in Tracy Kidder’s biography, was like reading the second volume of the story, one in which the community health center Deo established in Burundi, Village Health Works, is a thriving success. The event was designed to be “off the record,” so I won’t quote anything that Tracy Kidder or Deo said, but there were many mentions of dignity for the patients who visit the center.
Earlier yesterday, I had been hearing from students that the easy first weeks of the semester were over, and they were starting to feel more pressure. Given their time crunch, it was gratifying to see how many of them (along with faculty and staff members) attended the session, which was supposed to be preceded by reading the book. Somehow students always manage to stretch that last little bit to learn outside the classroom, as well as inside it.