How Albert Schweitzer Inspired a Young Man's Journey

Against the Current

Mark Higgins, the 18-year-old scion of a New England industrial family, elected to pursue his own destiny rather than the one his father charted for him. 


   In 1959 he postponed college, traveled to West Africa, and became the first student staff member at the hospital run by Albert Schweitzer, the famous Nobel Peace Prize laureate, philosopher and medical missionary. 


  The Schweitzer clinic was an intellectual crossroads for world-famous scholars, researchers and peace activists. And it was an eye-opening education for the young man. What's more, the clinic was staffed by beautiful European nurses and a few handsome doctors whose personal lives sometimes became as heated as the equatorial climate.


   Higgins worked as a handyman, trained to become a medical technician and treated lepers. He assisted three cardiologists in making a break-through discovery. He lived among the natives, absorbed tribal culture and experienced life-changing events that built his self-confidence. 


   After a year of hard work, Higgins left the Schweitzer hospital and embarked on a courageous solo journey across the African continent with Israel as his destination. As the emerging nations of Africa gained their freedom in 1960, the global balance of power was changing. Africa sat at the nexus of east-west contention, as well as being a cauldron of inter-tribal warfare. His travels took him deep into the Congo, where he would be out of contact for weeks.  


​   This thoroughly researched and richly detailed narrative describes a young man’s quest for authenticity and purpose at a time crucial to African independence. Mark Higgins left legacies that have had a profound impact on society more than half a century later.