Stories From the Field: How I broke a Car, a House, a Temple and Myself in One Day

Stories from the field represent a series of remembrances from over a million miles on the road.

There I was, there I was, there I was- Laos.  This was my first mission to Laos and I did not know what to expect.  All I knew was that Laos had the dubious distinction of being the country that has had the most bombs dropped on it without ever being in a war.  Yes the US dropped the bombs trying to disrupt the Viet Cong supply lines during the Vietnam War. The Laotians have not forgotten.  In rural villages and midsized towns it is not unusual to see displays of unexploded ordinance.

Read more

Travel Journal: Burma – May 2013

BurmaBlog8

May 5th, 2013 Burma

Assignment:  To document successful Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria projects.

Last night I landed in Rangoon, Burma after 37 hours of travel. Walking out of the climate controlled airport I was enveloped by the hot, humid, incensed air.  Twenty-nine years ago on my honeymoon (was married at 14) I walked into the same space with my wife Leigh and was never the same. I was anxious to see how Burma had changed.  First off I was in Yangon, Myanmar not Rangoon, Burma. Read more

Stories From the Field:  Tara BK is My Hero

Stories From the Field: Tara BK is My Hero

Stories from the field represent a series of remembrances from over a million miles on the road.

There I was there I was there I was far western Nepal.  We were up in ‘the hills’ which are 14000 ft edifices that anywhere else would be called mountains but in Nepal are called hills.  We had survived ‘the most dangerous road in Nepal’ the day before to get to a small town called Silgadhi.  We were there to visit the local PLWA (People Living With Aids) support group.  The leader of the group was Tara BK.  Tara BK is my hero. Read more

Health and Hospitals Corp of NYC

When Joe Schick Head of Special Projects at the HHC calls you jump.  HHC is the wing of the New York City Government that runs all the public hospitals.  I had been working for them for about 8 years on various projects and I still remember the first time Joe called. He said that I was being awarded an all expense paid trip to Bellevue Hospital.  Oh brother.  But then I got to Bellevue I was blown away by the Hospital and the people who worked there.  The more I learned the more impressed I became.  Quick for instance: this system of 11 major hospitals is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. It serves 1.4 million patients every year and more than 475,000 of those patients are uninsured. Thirty three percent of the patients that walk through the door are uninsured and not only does the place hold it together it delivers excellent care. Read more

Stories From the Field: Don’t Get Me Started About the Airlines

Stories from the field represent a series of remembrances from over a million miles on the road.

There I was, there I was, there I was.  The Global Fund called to have some photos done of their celebrity spokesperson, the first lady of France, model, actor, singer, Carla Bruni.  She was traveling to Cotonou, Benin to raise awareness of HIV.  I was to go on Monday of the next week shoot Tuesday, Wednesday and bug out on Wednesday night.  No problem.  So I called Sunny the magical travel agent and told him the scoop. He called back and said ‘John we have a problem’.  The airfare is $8200.  I said no Sunny we want to go coach.  He said that is coach.  Turns out Air France has a lock on travel to Benin from Europe. They were acting accordingly and charging outrageous amounts because they know you are not going to walk.  Sunny said that he would do some research and get back to me.  When Sunny called back he said that the only thing we could do is fly to Frankfurt, fly back to Paris, then fly to Benin.  That would get the airfare down to $5000. I called the GF (part of my ongoing commitment to service and excellence) and they said (through gritted teeth) go ahead.  Read more

Award: PDN Photo Annual

Photo District News announced the winners of its annual flagship photo contest and John Rae has been named a two time winner in the Design/Promo Category. The first series of winning photographs was created for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria on assignment in Indonesia. The second series of photographs was also produced for The Global Fund on assignment in Ethiopia. The PDN Annual Photo Contest is one of the most prestigious contests in North America. The photographs were chosen from over 20,000 entries from around the world. Click here to see both series winners.