It was during one of our days off, that Jess came over to our little bungalow, part of the larger compound we all lived in after the earthquake and asked if I had a few minutes. She explained that she’d started working on a bare-bones manuscript to tell the story of life as an aid worker. Even before I read it, I knew that Jess’s humour and her experiences would transcend to open up a glimmer of the life we were accustomed to living in these kind of places. And it was a story that needed telling. I took the folded papers over to my room, with strict instructions NOT to show anyone. That was back in early 2010 in Haiti, where I first met Jessica. We were both working with the same organization supporting the earthquake response and it was through that experience that our friendship grew. That’s the thing about those environments – you thrown into the chaos, with a host of other people, to live, work and play together … and friendships, relationships and all sorts excel at a pace we’re unaccustomed to here. But those people can become as important as family in those places, and if you’re lucky, the friendship continues to grow.
Fast forward to May 2013 and I was on my way back to Haiti to work on my own project and was able to stop in New York along the way. Jessica had written to me a few weeks earlier and explained, with her understated confidence, that she’d garnered a publishing deal with Random House and asked me if I’d be willing to take the author’s photo. So, on a golden, hot and humid night we strolled around the streets of Brooklyn and chased the light to find the perfect place to capture her photo. I’m honoured to call her a friend, ridiculously proud of her perseverance and achievement in making this dream a reality and so delighted that I was able to play a small role in the process.
You can find more information about Jessica’s book, Chasing Chaos: My Decade in and out of Humanitarian Aid, here.
It’s all happening Jess, get ready for greatness. With love, Amy
#amy brathwaite #author's photos #Chasing Chaos #Jessica Alexander