Chasing chaos my decade in and out of humanitarian aid

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chasing chaos my decade in and out of humanitarian aid

Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid by Jessica Alexander

An eye-opening and intimate memoir about life as an international humanitarian aid worker in the field in Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Haiti.

Jessica Alexander arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide as an idealist intern, excited to be a part of the international humanitarian aid community. But the world that she encountered in the field was dramatically different than anything she could have imagined. In this honest and irreverent memoir, she introduces readers to the reality of the life of an aid worker. We watch as she helps to resettle refugees in Rwanda, manages a 24,000-person camp in Darfur, and helps a former child soldier in Sierra Leone get rid of a tattoo that was carved into his skin by a rebel group. But we also see the alcoholic parties and fleeting romances, the burnouts and cyncism, the plans and priorities that constantly shift and change. Tracing her personal journey from idealistic and naive newcomer to hardened cynic to hopeful but critical realist, Alexander transports readers to some of the most troubled locations and shows us not only the impossible challenges, but also the moments of hope and recovery.
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Published 18.12.2018

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Jessica Alexander, Author, 'Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid'

Jessica Alexander arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide as an idealistic intern, eager to contribute to the work of the international humanitarian aid community. But the world that she encountered in the field was dramatically different than anything she could have imagined. It was messy, chaotic, and difficult—but she was hooked. We invite you to a discussion between her and Joseph Amon of Human Rights Watch about the challenges and rewards of humanitarian aid work. In her honest and irreverent memoir, Alexander introduces readers to the realities of life as an aid worker. We watch as she manages a 24,person camp in Darfur, collects evidence for the Charles Taylor trial in Sierra Leone, and contributes to the massive aid effort to clean up a shattered Haiti. But we also see the alcohol-fueled parties and fleeting romances, the burnouts and self-doubt, and the struggle to do good in places that have long endured suffering.

Look Inside. Oct 15, ISBN Jessica Alexander arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide as an idealistic intern, eager to contribute to the work of the international humanitarian aid community. But the world that she encountered in the field was dramatically different than anything she could have imagined. It was messy, chaotic, and difficult—but she was hooked.

Jessica Alexander arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the genocide as an idealistic intern, eager to contribute to the work of the international humanitarian aid community. But the world that she encountered in the field was dramatically different than anything she could have imagined. It was messy, chaotic, and difficult—but she was hooked. In this honest and irreverent memoir, she introduces readers to the realities of life as an aid worker. We watch as she manages a 24,person camp in Darfur, collects evidence for the Charles Taylor trial in Sierra Leone, and contributes to the massive aid effort to clean up a shattered Haiti. But we also see the alcohol-fueled parties and fleeting romances, the burnouts and self-doubt, and the struggle to do good in places that have long endured suffering. Her quietly evocative prose recreates the painful, poignant, and sometimes hilarious experience of marching into 'the field' of armed conflict and disaster to relieve suffering, supported by donations from those who expect heroism.

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When Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the central Philippines on November 7, the storm's winds of mph-plus unofficially made it the strongest cyclone ever to make landfall. The destruction that ensued was catastrophic: more than 3, people killed and tens of thousands missing, half a million homes destroyed, and millions of people displaced. The ferocious intensity of Haiyan also led experts and officials in the Philippines and elsewhere to connect the storm to climate change -- a contention likely to be debated for years to come. Over the weekend, PND asked Jessica Alexander , author of Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid , to rate emergency relief efforts in the Phillipines, what Americans can do to help, and whether she thinks climate change is contributing to the destructiveness of weather-related natural disasters. For more information about how you can contribute to relief and recovery efforts in the Philippines, click here , here , and here. And what shouldn't they do? Jessica Alexander: Americans should give money to a reputable humanitarian agency -- either local or international -- that is already on the ground there.

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