Jessica Alexander's memoir, Chasing Chaos: My Decade In and Out of Humanitarian Aid gives a realistic look at Alexander's own experiences in war-torn countries.
Alexander is a woman I could instantly relate to, despite the fact that her own life experiences are vastly different than mine. She feels the pull to move overseas and devote her life to helping others, even breaking up with her fiance to pursue this dream.
Perhaps idealistic at first, Alexander shares the highs and lows of her experiences and the many different cultures and conflicts she learned about.
Having known a few friends who have spent time working in humanitarian aid, Alexander's memoir feels like their story as well. Her writing contains information about the countries where she worked and various aspects of their cultures giving readers more background knowledge about the reason for her presence as an aid worker.
Alexander brings up some very valid and thought provoking points in her memoir. Just because people are poor doesn't mean they want whatever junk we want them to have. She sites the earthquake in Haiti as one example of a natural disaster that received a tremendous amount of publicity, and therefore a tremendous outpouring of aiid. Much of it was donations, which resulted in the need for workers to go through these donations and dispose of some of them. Instead of helping in the relief effort, those who donated, created more work, hindering the recovery process.
I was intrigued by Alexander and her desire to dedicate her life to helping others, and so thankful there are people who feel this call to offer assistance to the millions in need around the world.