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9059: I AM FROM HAITI - A book review (fwd)

From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>

I am from Haiti
Review by Marilyn Mason

Rodrigue Mortel was propelled forward in his life by forces and
realities and events which would have destroyed most other men.

What I learned from reading "I AM FROM HAITI" is this:
It's not the forces or realities or events themselves which form
any of us as human beings; it's what we do with them that makes
the difference.

-Whether it was a combination of the forces of luck, timing and

-Whether it was the reality of having a mother who was so personally
disappointed that she never had a chance to go to school that she
imprinted on Rodrigue's mind the message "I must go to school"...

-Whether it was the fact that in order for him to get through school,
two other realities existed in addition to his own diligence to his
studies: 1) his mother had to focus most of her meager earnings
over the very long-term toward his schooling costs, and 2) his sister
had to make the conscious decision to NOT finish school so as to
conserve those meager family financial resources...

-Whether it was the event of his family getting kicked out of their
home for the lack of the $4 to pay the month's rent and the sense
of humiliation and powerlessness Rod felt at the age of 11...

OR all of the above and a lot more of the events chronicled in
"I AM FROM HAITI", something in Rod refused to accept that
there was a glass ceiling over his head; something in Rod "kicked
things up a notch" so that the very roadblock or impediment which
could have dictated to him: "Thus far and no further" was turned
into a catapult to better possibilities. And Rod never let a possibility
slip by him.

What made the book flow so well was the fact that so many of
Rod's life events had a geographical component to them. From
St. Marc to Port-au-Prince, Montréal, Philadelphia and New York
City, back to Philadelphia, and on to Hershey, PA (with frequent
side trips to Paris), we track his life from early schooling, to Lycée,
medical school, medical residencies, post-residency training and
medical practice, to his becoming a hospital staffer, medical school
instructor, cancer surgeon, hospital unit chief, hospital department
head, medical researcher, medical center director, cancer center
director, associate dean of a medical school, organizer of medical
organizations and research foundations. The list goes on and on.

But there was a common thread throughout the book: his regular
trips back to Haiti to share his growing knowledge and medical
experience with his homeland.

As well as the thread of his personal faith, which served to sustain
him throughout all of his life changes.

This may be a book about a Haitian but the truths are universal.

Marilyn Mason
April 2001
Windows on Haiti