35 pages 1 hour read

Tracy Kidder

Strength in What Remains

Nonfiction | Biography | Adult | Published in 2000

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Chapters 12-14Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 2: "Gusimbura"

Chapter 12 Summary: “New York City, 2006”

Deo takes Kidder on a tour of his homeless life. They revisit the buildings where Deo delivered groceries, as well as Deo’s old haunts in Central Park. They then visit Columbia University—a stark contrast. One of Deo’s favorite places there is the Butler Library, where he spent much time reading, and discovered the book that led him to PIH. He recalls his one regret about his time at Columbia was that he did not make more friends or keep in touch with his classmates after graduation.

Kidder is impressed that in addition to his science studies, Deo took as many philosophy courses as possible. Deo explains he pursued philosophy to begin to understand the things that happened to him. Kidder is impressed by the fact that Deo, with firsthand experience of that which philosophy has such a hard time accounting for, did not often take issue with his classmates or teachers. At a Gothic cathedral nearby, Deo explains to Kidder that he believes in God, but that God treats humans like adults who no longer need his help; Deo wishes God would take a more active role.

One thing Deo took from Columbia was the idea that much (though not necessarily all) of what happened in Rwanda and Burundi was due to disease and poverty.