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. The world that she encountered in the field was messy, chaotic, and difficult-but she was hooked.
In this honest and irreverent memoir, Alexander 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 in 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 naive newcomer to hardened cynic and, ultimately, to hopeful but critical realist, Alexander shows us not only the seemingly impossible challenges, but also the moments of resilience and recovery.