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December 18, 1981

The Heart Man

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee

JAMA. 1981;246(24):2852. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320240058027

There is a road that winds down from Kpayerkolli toward the sea, and in the dry season it is a road of red dust. In West Africa, where the villages are small and scattered in the bush, Kpayerkolli is just one of many such villages, and if you do not go with someone who knows it you will never find it. If you walk there, you will be coated with dust; it will sift into your ears and eyes and cover your clothes.

The road is always full of people, especially children, since there are so many of them. A road means freedom to walk, freedom from poisonous snakes, and from the rough jungle terrain. If you talk to the children on the road, they will shyly say they are glad to meet you, that they are well (even if they are not), and that they are going to school