Fundamentalism and Forgiveness: A Look inside “A House in the Sky”

As an avid reader and traveler, I enjoy finding books that will not only entertain but educate me. Most books I read are not always the most pleasant topic matter and give a rather intense look at the world. I try to read a lot on women’s rights and current events around the world, and occasionally throw in a poetic piece of fiction for fun.

Last night I completed reading “A House in the Sky“, a harrowing account of Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout’s 460 days held hostage by Islamic fundamentalists in Somalia.  Co-authored by The New York Times Magazine’s Sara Corbett,  A House in the Sky is one of the most intense books I’ve read in years. A book that by the end, left me in tears.


Beautifully written in reflective, poetic prose the book starts off slowly with Amanda’s story of how she was raised by a dysfunctional, poor family outside of Calgary and how she used her money as a waitress to support her wanderlust and see the world. To be honest, there were many times over the course of the first 100 pages of Amanda’s back story that made me want to put the book away and stop reading. Oftentimes I find personal narratives a bit narcissistic and vain such was the case with reading the best-selling books “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Wild“. Yet something in Amanda’s story kept me reading it, wanting to get to the story of her abduction and subsequent 15 months in captivity by Somalian jihadists.

Global Issues SOCIAL GOOD Women and Girls

Interview with Dr. Hawa Abdi of “Keeping Faith Alive”

“Dr. Hawa Abdi is the fiercest, most compassionate frontline humanitarian and doctor on the planet. The story of her extraordinary life, which defies imagination, instills courage in each of us” – Eliza Griswold, journalist and author of Tenth Parallel


Portrait of Dr Hawa by Pieter Hugo.

Last week I received an email from ONE Moms, a nonpartisian group I work with as a Community Partner to advocate against extreme poverty, that an inspiring humanitarian, doctor and human rights lawyer was coming to town. Dr. Hawa Abdi known as “The Mother Teresa of Somalia” and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee was coming to Minneapolis to speak on the release of her recent book co-authored by American writer Sarah Robbins, “Keeping Hope Alive” which is an incredibly moving memoir about how Dr. Hawa along with her two daughters has helped 90,000 of her fellow Somalis remain safe, healthy and educated for over 20 years during a time of intense turmoil, violence and destruction in Somalia.

I had never heard of Dr. Abdi or her work before yet I was immediately fascinated. The thought of one woman saving so many people’s lives by building a hospital and a community of over 90,000 people in her backyard during an extremely dangerous civil war seemed unfathomable. I had to hear her story.


Outside a popular Minneapolis bookstore where I heard Dr. Abdi speak on her moving, unbelievable memoir.

CULTURE Global Issues Global Non-Profit Organizations and Social Good Enterprises Poverty SOCIAL GOOD