No matter how hard we try, we can never fully feel the experience of a person who was once held captive in a foreign country, by people speaking a different language, and in a state of hopelessness while your captives abuse you on a daily basis---well, until you go through such experience.
Amanda Lindhout, a young brave woman from Canada, is among those who not only went through that grueling experience, but is someone who is doing amazing things trying to overcome her fears and help the very country which once held her captive: Somalia.
Lindhout was taken captive by Somalia warlords in August 2008. At the time she was working there as a freelance journalist. The scene of the capture was painful enough. She was detained by a group of teenage boys.
"They ordered us out of the vehicle, made us lay face down on the dirt, guns pointed at the back of our heads," she later recalled. "We were then put back into the vehicle. And then what followed was many months of moving around, actually all over south central Somalia in different houses, but always with the same group."
Lindhout was held for fifteen months in dark rooms, taken from one place to another in Southern Somalia, abused on a daily basis, and suffering from various diseases, including dysentery and a broken tooth. She was able to reach the media finally and plead for help---which fortunately worked.
Although in a state of despair and helplessness, LIndhout still thought of Somalia and the ways of helping the country. "I found that the most positive way to spend the time was really to think about programs that I could create that would one day transform Somalia into a better place,” she says, “a country that would not be producing these generations of young people that grow up knowing nothing but violence.”
When Lindhout returned to Canada, she immediately started working on a foundation (http://www.globalenrichmentfoundation.co
But then there was famine that changed her opinion. The sight of extremely malnourished children in a refugee camp in Kenya that she visited was too much to bear. She realized that those who were most in need of help were the ones inside Somalia. That experience compelled her to return to the country which once held her captive with a convoy of aid.
And while helping the poor was the main reason for Lindhout’s return, it was also a chance for her to confront the fear which had been haunting her since her release one and half years ago. "I think it is an opportunity for me to look at that fear and maybe let it go,” she says, “this fear that I have been carrying around with me for some time."