Sixty Seconds in Sudan:


  • Graduation speech to Ethiopia’s first emergency doctors….

    As you make that place for the sick and suffering, keep its lights on and door open, you must keep your heart open with it. That becomes your daily practice. Practice makes practiced, never perfect, only better, but you’ll see as you try to keep it open, the longer it stays that way, and soon you’ll see that it will be filled as brimming full as your stretchers. You will not just have a satisfying career, and a place in the history of your country, but food on your table, the company of fine people, and dare I say it: the true love that is only possible with knowing our one shared heart.
    (the conversation continues at

  • addis and all that.

    Mar 25.13
    Pulled the muslin gauze over the face of a fifteen year old boy, and walked away from the wails, down the hospital’s dark halls to find some air. In a doorway a woman with bright sequins on her hijab smiled at me, a beautiful baby on her hip. Framed by a window, two lovers held hands, looking at the city that stretched below. I put my hands on the sill beside them, and leaned out. The air was sweet.

    Welcome to the broken, beating heart of the world. Not Ethiopia, I mean, but the one inside this present moment. Thing is, you can’t hold it back even if you try, so you let it in and it does its thing, breaks you down, brick by brick, until there is nothing left between you and it, and just then, at your most vulnerable, it surrenders itself to you in a sweet embrace, holds you in the perpetual centre, moves you, whispers “it will be ok, even death, even that. ” Maybe, if you’re lucky, even that whisper fades. On that day: freedom.

  • Grand Challenges (text from a speech at 2012′s Globe and Mail festival)

    Though this may be my belief alone, I believe we are seeking something, each of us, in every sentence and every action, buzz around it like moths do a bright light. How honest we are with what we are looking for is how close we come to finding it. I believe, what we seek, is freedom from the ties that bind, that stop us from connecting fully with the source of all things, from letting love pass through fully, fearlessly. For me, that is what the Grandest Challenges speaks to. Framed in the language of health and the body, it is why we want to be well. Though the work is often at the level of particular diseases, it must also be at the barriers that stand in the way of people doing it for themselves, at the injustices that let the suffering of so many serve the purpose of a privileged few, holds them from joining their ranks as surely as their malaria does sick in bed.

    The largest example of this, for me, is in war. My first taste of it was as a brand new doctor, working with a recently surrendered group of Khmer Rouge in the south of Cambodia….



    “Does aid do more harm than good?” – The Munk Debate

    Last Monday June 1, at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, Dambisa Moyo and Hernando De Soto, both scholars and experts in the economics of developing nations, argued that aid hurts more than it helps.  The contrary position was taken by Stephen Lewis, former UN special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, and Paul Collier, professor of economics […]