Week 2 Counts
After a week and a half I hadn’t heard back from the original soldier I was assigned to (along with at least two other people in the class), and Grace was reaching desperation. No one is more productive than Grace Lim in desperation. When I arrived to class there were two men standing near the doorway, one of them was in uniform. The soldier in street clothes, she found him in the hallway. As for the soldier in uniform, she found him sleeping on the couch in the reading room next to our lab. The man in uniform had to dig in his pocket to get Grace a quarter, which she used to determine who got who, and just like that Mark Maurer was mine. We returned to the reading room where Grace woke him up, and I found out that he had not heard of our project before, and had not met Grace before, which is a series of life-changing events in itself. Not knowing at all what he was getting into, I had to brief Mark on our previous War projects and get some basic information from him.
When I sat down with him and started asking the basic questions, reality sunk in. The reality was that I was meeting Mark three weeks into a 14-week semester by the end of which I had to produce a full profile and multiple podcasts of his story, and I knew nothing about him. Mark had to get to class though, so in 10 minutes our initial interview was over. So much for a relaxing nap!
After taking some time to reflect on our impromptu meeting, I recorded a few things that really stood out to me about Mark. I didn’t know a lot about him yet, but I did learn that he served in the military quite some time before he was actually deployed. He traveled to a few different camps, and even did some training in Japan. The most striking thing he told me was that after a while, he volunteered to deploy to Iraq in 2009.
I could not wait to dig deeper into Mark’s story - our first interview is was set up for the next day, and I had already written down two pages of questions!