I had a ride like that a few days ago.
I picked up a young man in Manhattan who was headed for Kennedy Airport, and from there he would be flying home to London. New York was a stopover in his journey from his original point of departure - Haiti, a place that, of course, is very much in the news these days. He told me he is a photographer and had donated his services to record some of the relief effort that is in progress on the devastated island.
Getting a report about something from someone who was actually on the scene makes a deeper impression on me than just seeing it on the television or hearing about it on the radio. And the stories he told me were inspirational:
- volunteers who in the morning would have recoiled at the sight of someone receiving an injection were taught how to do it and by night's end had administered hundreds of inoculations to Haitians at risk of disease,
- a volunteer took half a day to teach himself to identify all the instruments used in surgery so he could then serve as an assistant and thus free up a doctor to perform surgery who otherwise would have been doing the job of handing instruments to surgeons himself,
- volunteers were sleeping in tents, eating food packets provided by the military, using makeshift latrines as bathrooms, and taking showers from water coming down from elevated buckets,
-people were experiencing the exhilaration of knowing that they were actually saving other people's lives and knowing as well that their reach was expanding and that they would never be the same again.
You can see his photography at felixkunze.com.