Essayist, Tracy O’Heir featured in South Maryland Newspaper


“Chasing Misery” is an anthology of essays and photographs contributed by women who worked in humanitarian aid, O’Heir said. The essays are first-person accounts of specific experiences women had which challenged or inspired them.

From 2002 to 2004, during the war between North and South Sudan, O’Heir administered a school system for displaced refugees in South Sudan while working for the Jesuit Refugee Service.

On her way to a friend’s house for Christmas in 2003, O’Heir and a friend were recruited in an effort to find a woman in a difficult labor with twins and bring her to a hospital.

Despite directions from an intoxicated midwife and a flare-up of ethnic conflict, O’Heir said she and her companions managed to get the woman to the hospital, only to find it empty due to the holiday.

Eventually, they were able to get assistance for the woman, but one of the twins died, O’Heir said. The woman and the other newborn survived.

“For me, it highlights the title of the book, ‘Chasing Misery,’” O’Heir said. “Even though this was a bad situation, this was something hopeful I could hold onto.”

The book is available through Amazon or on its website,