I have an uncle who’s more like a big brother. He’s the guy who took me on terrifying rollercoaster rides when I was a kid; teased me mercilessly but also defended me against merciless teasing; and drove crazily along mountainside roads in Spain while I white-knuckled it in the back seat.
Now, he’s an uncle to my own kids. Within minutes of a visit, he’s lifting them high into the air, chasing them through the house, and rolling on the floor with them, the soundtrack a symphony of squeals and giggles. He remembers birthdays and other milestones. He keeps in touch. This is remarkable because he never stays put. He’s a CNN photojournalist.
My tío was born in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico and raised in Laredo, Texas but his life as a photojournalist has taken him all over the world, most often to regions in the midst of civil unrest or outright war. Places like Sarajevo, Rwanda, Lybia, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq. Just last month he returned from a dangerous trek across the Syrian border.
I often think about his lifestyle and chosen career, especially when he is incomunicado, filming riots and uprisings or covering devastating earthquakes. From my little perch on the planet, where I live in relative safety, I wonder just how a person can take in the world’s tragedies and violence the way he does.
And still smile.
When we visited recently in the calm of my suburban back yard, I turned the camera on him to talk about food. His first memories of food. How he stays true to his vegetarianism as he travels the globe.
Food in the context of war.
It is the latter that I find the most compelling. I think you will too: