At Home and on Assignment in Guam

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At Home and on Assignment in Guam

Credit Nancy Borowick

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After a year of small-town American life with a twist of tropical island paradise, Nancy Borowick finally felt at home in Guam. She had become a certified underwater scuba diver, picked up needlepoint as a hobby and had taken photos mainly to show her friends and family the unusual mixture of island life and military culture in United States territory.

She had moved there from New York — and paused her busy stateside freelance photo career — when her husband was hired as law clerk to the Guam Supreme Court. She could have pretty much cornered the international freelance photojournalism market there — if any international publications showed interest. They did not: For 11 months she had no assignments. And she was O.K. with that.

Then fate in the form of President Donald J. Trump and North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un intervened. On August 8, President Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen” against North Korea if the country continued to threaten the United States. Several hours later, North Korea warned that it was considering a strike against Guam and the U.S. military bases located there.


Rose Fejeran Mateo, 81, has been practicing traditional Chamorro medicine since she was a teenager.Credit Nancy Borowick

That’s when Ms. Borowick’s phone started ringing. Overnight, the world was now interested in the Pacific island.

The first call was from a New York Times photo editor in Hong Kong who arranged to publish some photos from her archive in the next day’s paper and then put her on assignment.

The floodgates opened. Within the next 24 hours, more than 30 publications contacted Ms. Borowick via email, phone and social media, she said. Now with more assignment possibilities than ever, she had to demur since she was…

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