Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid

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Crown, Oct 15, 2013 - Biography & Autobiography - 400 pages

Jessica Alexander arrived in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 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 24,000-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.
Tracing her personal journey from wide-eyed and nave newcomer to hardened cynic and, ultimately, to hopeful but critical realist, Alexander transports readers to some of the most troubled locations around the world and shows us not only the seemingly impossible challenges, but also the moments of resilience and recovery.

 

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User Review  - Milda-TX - LibraryThing

This book was fascinating. Such an interesting memoir. Was happy to hand it to a college senior who was making Peace Corps plans when I was done - best audience for this book. Read full review

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User Review  - skinglist - LibraryThing

Wow. I haven't come across such a compellingly readable non-fiction book in a while. The author really brought the crises of Rwanda, Darfur, Banda Aceh and Haiti to life with the locations almost as ... Read full review

Contents

All Skin and Grief
People Died This
Does Everyone You Work With Have Dreadlocks?
Center for Survivors of TortureFancy Dress Night
More Money More Problems
Make a Living Off the Suffering of Strangers
SIERRA LEONE 20062007
Saving Lives One Keystroke ata Time
HAITI 2010
Epilogue
Authors Note
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

JESSICA ALEXANDER spent much of the last decade responding to humanitarian crises across the globe. A former Fulbright scholar, she has worked for various NGOs as well as UN agencies. She has a dual masters degree from Columbia and is currently working toward her PhD.

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