Adventures in War Zones and Disaster Areas for Journalists and Relief Workers

Category Archives: Memoir

Baked Chicken for Breakfast in Albania

 

As I was working today on the draft for The Disaster Tourist — How Journalists and Relief Workers Survive and Thrive in War Zones I came across a photo I had taken in Kukes Northern Albania during the Kosovo War when tens of thousands of refugees flooded into Albania.

I was working as a spokesperson for CARE Canada and the team had rented this house not far from the border. The family that owned it was more than happy to move out and live in an underground shelter in exchange for hard currency, and they provided the meals.

Well, getting food in War Zones and Disaster Areas can be a problem and in Kukes, unless you had a lot of money you had to make do with what you could get your hands on.

In this case, it was chickens. Our landlords had a lot of chickens in their back garden and that is what the team ate. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day after day, for about a month, we ate baked chicken.

We could get other food but that would have meant buying off the black market, which was probably stolen relief food so that was out of the question. But we got lots of offers including many from a local hoodlum who was trying to move up in the ranks from sometime hitman to crime boss.

But beer was cheap and plentiful so all was good with life.

 

Notes From a Trip to the North Pole (Part One)

This is part of a section of what will become “The Disaster Tourist – How Journalists and Relief Workers Seek Danger, Booze, and a Reason for Life” Part One Four hours north of Resolute and nine o’clock at night.  For the past two hours I’ve been aware that the sun has been getting higher inContinue

Mogadishu – A City in Hell

  I spent something like six months in Somalia in the run-up to the arrival of foreign troops in a failed attempt to restore order. Those six months in 1992 and 93 felt more like six years, or perhaps the entirety of my life. When every day is a fever dream of madness, time stretchesContinue

Living Conditions in War Zones–(I wouldn’t keep a dog that way)

In mapping out the chapter sections for my forthcoming book, The Disaster Tourist: How Journalists and Relief Workers Survive in War Zones and Disaster Areas, While Still Being Able to Find Beer, I see that these broad chapter outlines are useful as blog entries in their own right.   For anyone whoever wanted to growContinue

Reporting in the High Arctic

Here’s a snippet of what I might slip into the book The Disaster Tourist  I outlined the book in the post right before this one.     “I should take some lead pencils with you.  Bloody cold where you’re going and pens freeze don’t you know.”  Parting advice from my Managing Editor in CBC Radio NewsContinue

The Disaster Tourist – A Soon To Be Published Book

While I continue to work on my Adventure Thrillers such as Cobra Flight, I am also developing some Non-Fiction projects. In active development now is a quirky, irreverent, and most likely scandalous look at how relief workers and journalists conduct themselves in war zones and humanitarian disaster areas. It also turns a jaundiced and witheringContinue

The Day I Photographed Yousuf Karsh

I was recently asked about the day that I photographed one of the 20th century’s preeminent portrait photographers. Yousuf Karsh burst into global celebrity when in 1941 he took this photograph of then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. For the next several decades the world’s mighty and famous clamoured for his talents. His waiting listContinue