Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman, 90,000 Lives Changed

Hawa Abdi, Author, Sarah J Robbins, With
Hawa Abdi, with Sarah J. Robbins. Grand Central, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4555-0376-6
Reviewed on: 06/10/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Open Ebook - 166 pages - 978-1-4555-7876-4
Open Ebook - 978-1-4555-9929-5
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When Somali human rights activist Abdi was just a girl, her grandmother told her, "You will be the big trees that everyone comes and relaxes under," foreshadowing Abdi's role as physician and human rights advocate at her clinic and camp in rural Southern Somalia. In the 1960s, Abdi received a scholarship and free medical training in the Soviet Union. With high hopes, she returned to Somalia soon after independence from Great Britain and Italy, but quickly learned that change is not always for the better. A 1969 government overthrow set off decades of virulent clan warfare, looting and destruction, cycles of famine and drought. Despite the many accolades she has won (including a Nobel Peace Prize nomination) and the global media coverage of her successes, Abdi's tale is one of personal conflict, inside both Somalia and herself. Her courage remains steadfast in the face of perpetual turmoil: an arranged marriage at age 12, the loss of her beloved mother and grandmother, betrayal by her sisters, abandonment by her second husband, the mysterious death of her son, her clinic's capture by a group of religious fundamentalists. Her bottom-line message explains a stubbornness that transcends the years of violence and pain: "No matter where you have been, your home is still the best." (Apr.)
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