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A Piece of My Mind
October 5, 2011

Je Vais le Faire

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (jziperstein@partners.org).

JAMA. 2011;306(13):1418-1419. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1411

“Ever since my neighbor put a curse on me.” Although the man was 64 years old, the skin hanging on his face, the muscles melting off his bones, and the heaped-up pterygium on both eyes made it seem like his body had been through many more. He was sitting on the middle rock-step of the three-step stoop outside his small one-room hut. His house was at the end of the row, in a corner of the village far from where people would gather for markets, for celebrations, for arguments. The child who had led me there from the village center gave me a small, handmade three-legged stool to sit on, which put me just below eye level with the man. The child stayed to listen, having earned the right. Of the three of us, I was the only one sweating and the only one wearing shoes.