How do you go from being one of several children of wealthy, celebrity parents to, as Dr. Jim Yong Kim, the president of Dartmouth College, has called her, “one of the great human beings walking the earth right now”?
Ophelia Dahl traveled from Buckinghamshire to Haiti in 1983 and fell in love with the country and with Paul Farmer, a recent graduate of Duke who would become a famous doctor. With others they founded Partners in Health, the groundbreaking global health organization. Then came the split, new partners, new disaster in Haiti, and a search for solutions that might, in Tracy Kidder’s words, “heal the world”.
Ophelia, who seldom consents to interviews, is the daughter of author Roald Dahl (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) and Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal (Hud). This is a brief story of her family’s tragic past and of her own passage to womanhood, motherhood, and meaningful work. Ted Conover is the author of Newjack, Coyotes, The Routes of Man, and other books. He publishes in The New York Times Magazine and the New Yorker and is a writer-in-residence at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University.