I find it surprisingly self-effacing. I want to share with you a short piece therein that spoke to me (pp. 103-104):
“Here they treat the worst cases first. That’s what TV wants as well. The illest, the greatest in need. It’s a sad selection process that happens in your head.
‘That child’s bad, but I think we can find worse,’ I say to myself, deciding whose suffering merits time on TV. You tell yourself it’s okay, that your motives are good — at the moment you might even believe it. But later, alone, lying in bed, you go over the day and feel like a fraud. Each child’s story is worthy of telling. There shouldn’t be a sliding scale of death. The weight is crushing.
They die, I live. It’s such a thin line to cross. Money makes the difference. If you have it, you can always survive, always find a place to stay, something to eat. For the first few days in Maradi, I’m not even hungry. It’s not just the heat, the dust. I’ve become disgusted with myself. My body fat, my health, my minor aches and pains. I brought with me a bagful of food — cans of tuna and Power Bars — but the thought of eating anything makes me want to throw up. That changes, of course. After a couple days I forget why I’m depriving myself.
They die, I live. It’s the way of the world, the way it’s always been. I used to think that some good would come of my stories, that someone might be moved to act because of what I’d reported. I’m not sure I believe that anymore. Once place improves, another falls apart. The map keeps changing; it’s impossible to keep up. No matter how well I write, how truthful my tales, I can’t do anything to save the lives of the children here, now.”