Monday, May 17, 2010

what comes after

the week before alex was born, a canadian woman, a freelance reporter named amanda lindhout, was kidnapped with her friend, photographer nigel brennan, in somalia, while on their way to visit displaced somalis.

they remained in captivity for 15 months.

this story affected me for reasons i can't really put into words.
there was just something about how amanda, basically a kid from out west,  immersed herself into the journalistic milieu, in lands i have never visited, with a confidence i would never have had at her age
( i was too busy with a baby already...) that caught my attention. and my i would have loved to have taken off like that...youthful exuberance flowing, the tedium of the everyday left behind, the road to adventure wide open and inviting. who doesn't dream of doing that?

but then to have her snatched and held in dangerous and likely extremely brutal conditions
( she has still not given many public details about her time in captivity), putting an abrupt end to her life as she knew it, as well as opening up her character and decisions to debate and judgement...well, it was both terrifying and sad.

i had a lot of time during those 15 months. alex was an infant, and having a very hard time adjusting to this world, so i followed the story as often as i could, looking for updates, hoping for news, shocked at the opinions of a few and ever hopeful that the video released and the threats made were only empty cries for money...and that amanda and nigel were actually just tucked away, perhaps uncomfortable but safe, until some sort of negotiation was worked out.

it appears that that was the case. kind of. negotiations were held with australia and canada. they were indeed being kept alive for money. but it was not safe. not one bit.

i have no idea of the brutalities that amanda and nigel endured. i can be brought to tears just thinking about it...the pain, the loneliness, the fear of never seeing your family and friends again, the not knowing. these are all the things i imagine went through their minds...i can not fathom the reality.

fast forward to today.
well, yesterday but it hit the news today.
from the pulpit of her grandparent's church, amanda made an announcement - she is creating a charity dedicated to educating women in somalia.
the "global enrichment foundation".
she has taken the pain and damage that was given to her and has chosen to turn it into good. she believes that if women in somalia have the opportunity to receive an education, then the society they live in will be positively impacted. she intends to send 10 women to university this upcoming fall, with plans to send 100 more in the next 4 years.

where does amanda find this strength? her captors may have beaten her and mistreated her in a horrific manner, but they did not break her spirit. she is something else.
in referring to how she sees the future for women in somalia, given the chance to succeed and move forward with education, amanda made the statement, “These women can be a source of inspiration. They can achieve greatness".

amanda, you are the inspiration.
and you will be creating greatness.

***here is a link to amanda and her story***

and to the night we found out that she had been released:)


heathre said...

so inspiring - thanks for sharing Ang.

Margaret said...

wonderful. her strength, and your heart.