A Healer Born of Genocide

From The Washington Post:

Book In the summer of 2005, a villager walked into a district hospital in Rwanda complaining of abdominal pain. The cause was not difficult to diagnose: an acutely enlarged spleen resulting from untreated malaria. But the American doctors were unable to identify a series of angry rings, scored deep into the skin, that covered the patient's distended belly. A medical student from Burundi recognized them at once: They were burns. Someone, possibly even a parent, had heated a metal pipe over a fire and pressed its red-hot tip into the very part of the body that hurt the most. “Distracting pain with pain,” the young doctor called it — a common practice among the people of Rwanda and Burundi, who know a good deal about agony and affliction.

That young medical student is the subject of Tracy Kidder's extraordinarily stirring new book, “Strength in What Remains”; and the gruesome business of numbing pain with pain is nothing less than a metaphor for the genocide that swept through Burundi and Rwanda in 1994, killing or displacing millions who had already suffered all the miseries of the damned.

More here.