‘Often harrowing, always inspiring in its humanity, Diana’s lucid account of the aftermath of natural disasters and of war is an important contribution to any discussion on International Aid.’

Dr Eileen McCourt

‘A penetrating, revealing, unvarnished insight into the daily life of an international aid worker, pragmatically and professionally dealing with a plethora of problems, dilemmas and choices.

Aid workers cope with the tragic impact of natural disasters on humans, and witness the shocking consequences of gratuitous violence during civil wars. Diana Penn displayed resilience of a high order, impressed by how the human spirit can triumph over tragedy and adversity.

How would you deal with the challenges faced by international aid workers? What would be your coping strategies and how would you measure up?’

Sir Geoffrey Rowland QC, The Bailiff of Guernsey 2005 to 2012

‘I have just finished reading ‘Quake, Wave, War’ and am sitting with its final chapters, assimilating the intensity yet again of each of those extraordinary experiences you have had. I had read most of it before life began speeding up for Christmas and so now, in the quiet aftermath of ‘busyness’ I have immersed myself once again into it.

It is hard to know where to begin to unpack my experience of your experiences. It brought me tears as it did you, the scale of suffering and the courage in the face of it all, how to respond to monumental disasters and how they shape the internal and external realities that have to be lived with. Those sidelong glances at life being lived in both the everyday and the horrific. It is such a powerful narrative and told through your own direct encounter with it – and all your disarming honesty!

What comes through so strongly is your own clarity of perception, and of you yourself, being you, reacting and grappling with vast challenges, but also just you enjoying being you, needing and loving your early morning walks, arranging your frugal living spaces, finding and enjoying the foods you could get hold of. You have eyes for so much, for human spirits that are broken and for the bubbling joy of a child at play. Your work ethic is inspirational and the readiness to work whatever hours it takes to get the money where it needs to go!

It is such an important book because you can tell it how it is, with all its passion and pain. It left me with an aching heart for the atrocities and catastrophes most of us never see. I think back to the earthquake in Pakistan, how it briefly brushed my life and how deeply formative that was. Yet how quickly the eyes of the world turn elsewhere and such events fall away into the past. Maybe this is more pronounced now because there is so much media and such demands upon our attention. Yet, Quake Wave War keeps it a living experience for all who read it, and this is your gift as a letter writer. It has the immediacy of direct encounter and your response to it. That is so rare!

Thank you so much dear Diana for giving it to me to read, and for writing and preparing it for publication.’

Angela Coleridge, Programme & Management AdviserĀ of Save the Children (Sweden) in Pakistan 2005-2006.