by Adam Daniels
The strength and endurance of the human spirit has never been better portrayed as it is in Tracy Kidder’s Strength in What Remains. Kidder’s telling of Deo’s story is an impressive one. Deo is a great example of a responsible steward. His stewardship is displayed in his fight for actual survival, his determination to become better educated, his love for his home and family, and his willingness to give back to a society that nearly killed him multiple times.
Our circumstances are often not ours by choice, but how we respond to our circumstances is our choice. Deo did not choose to be born in Burundi nor did he choose to live in a place that would erupt in incredible violence. He did, however, choose to survive. He chose to run, hide in the forest, work for unfair wages, and chose to survive. It was also more than choice. It was a fight and it was not easy. “Moments were the only time he knew,” Kidder writes. “He spent nearly every moment worrying about the next. Six months felt like a minute, and moments when it felt like there was no time in front of him felt like an eternity.” (Kidder, 2009) Deo beheld horrific sights as he fled for his life. Dismembered bodies, an infant with a dead mother, and entire villages destroyed were a few of them. Though he did not choose to be there, he did choose deal with the terror, to move on toward survival, and to make a difference.
Pursuit of higher education is a perfect example of stewardship. Deo displayed his responsible stewardship by doing just this. Once he was befriended by Sharon and eventually Nancy and Charlie, Deo continued his education in the United States. He enrolled in the prestigious Columbia University and eventually obtained a graduate degree in public health and sciences. Education is the way to proactively care for our own society. It is the cure to many of society’s plagues. Crime, violence, genocide, and hatred can all be...