It is difficult walking in the path of Deogratias, a Burundi Tutsi, as Tracy Kidder relates Deo’s life story in Strength in What Remains. Tracy Kidder has written a book not easily forgotten just as was his previous book, Mountains Beyond Mountains, about Dr. Paul Farmer the humanitarian doctor that has met the medical needs of the underserved all over the world, especially the poor in Haiti. Kidder’s latest book about the Tutsi/Hutu genocide sheds light into the history of this conflict and is Deo’s first hand account of the terror, however it is an uplifting story of forgiveness and hope.
Deo is in medical school in Burundi when the violence breaks out. He spends six months running for his life then is saved by his connection to a fellow student with a wealthy father. Deo makes his way to New York City. A major part of the book is his difficult time in NYC where he knows no one and can only communicate in French. He finds only the very lowest paying jobs and finds sleeping in Central Park preferable to the rat infested tenements. HIs mind is constantly battling the flashback demons of genocide, yet he finds the strength to apply his brilliant mind to study and fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor.
The help he receives from generous New Yorkers renews his faith in people and he resolves to overcome the past, forgive and help the very people that persecuted him.