Rocket Ship

May 2019, Iraq

The picture above was a 2019 highlight: crossing the mighty Tigris River in a small wooden boat with my teammates Chelsea and Ihsan. We were on a field trip, documenting Preemptive Love’s medical relief programs around a chunk of Iraq.

Ihsan, the genial Dr Mustafa (a doctor in one of the many clinics around Iraq that my organization supported after the war with ISIS) and our partner in the next boat were racing to catch up with Chelsea’s and mine, when they hit a big wave, right after this frame.

All 3 shot half a metre into the air, and hung there for an ETERNITY, before thumping back down again.


All landed safely, if a little hard, back in the boat. Before we’d left, Dr Mustafa was joking about how 1 in every 3 boats capsizes while making its way across the vast river. I still wonder how much of that was actually a joke.

Ihsan kept filming through it all on his phone. When you replay the footage, you can hear Chelsea and I yelling as the video goes from Even Steven on a Sunday drive, to Space Shuttle Sam at liftoff / re-entry.

The guys piloting these boats? They thought it was a hoot and a half.