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Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed Hardcover – April 2, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* We wanted so badly to feel human, writes Abdi in this quietly devastating memoir of life in Somalia. As the first female gynecologist in her country, Abdi is also a lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and Glamour’s 2012 Woman of the Year. She grew up in the hopeful first postcolonial days and endured a disastrous first marriage as a 12-year old bride; the death of an infant and, later, a grown son; years of loneliness attending medical school in the Soviet Union; and every terrifying moment of her country’s wars, famine, and destruction. Her determination to practice medicine in a rural area and build a prosperous farm with her second husband is evidence of her refusal to give up, even when everyone else, including entire governments, are willing to quit. As inspiring as Abdi’s story is, however, none of it would be memorable if it was not conveyed so effectively. She packs a robust social and political history of Somalia into her narrative, taking readers deep into the heart of a country that was betrayed by its leaders, military, and far too many of its people. Compelling does not begin to define this story; it is simply, sadly, impossible to put down. --Colleen Mondor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455503762
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455503766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dr. Abdi worked for many years to save the lives of and shelter her fellow Somalians amid the continued conflicts and war in this country. I live in Minnesota in a city that has a large Somalian
population, and this book was very helpful in understanding what these people went through in
their homeland before settling here.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A telling story about resilience and strength, for whom they called a saint in Somalia! She manages to work through the many transitions in war torn Somalia, for decades helping who needed her the most! In addition to, legacy building through her (2) remarkable daughters who are also doctors. To read the stories during these hard times, was remarkable. She is a lion. I love Learning more of the beauty and the heartbreak of Somalia, while as Dr. Hawa Abdi challenges us "To Keep Hope Alive".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The UN Women/USNC Gulf Coast Book Club met on Monday, September 14, 2015, to discuss Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman, 90,000 Lives Changed, by Dr. Hawa Abdi with Sarah J. Robbins. Dr. Hawa Abdi is a heroic Somalian woman who studied medicine in Kiev under a scholarship from the Women's Committee of the Soviet Union, and also earned a law degree from Mogadisu's Somali National University. In 1983 Abdi opened the Rural Health Development Organisation (RHDO) in the Lower Shebele region of Somalia, which evolved into a 400-bed hospital. During the civil war in the early 1990s, Dr. Abdi established a new clinic and school for the displaced and orphans. In 2007 the RHDO was renamed the Dr. Hawa Abdi Foundation, and expanded into a relief camp which, during the 2011 drought housed 90,000 people, providing shelter, water and medical care to mostly women and children, aided by volunteers, fishermen and farmers who live on the compound. During endless civil wars in Somalia, Abdi and her vast compound have been invaded many times by henchmen of brutal warlords who attacked the hospital and surrounding buildings and fields, killing tenants and devastating property. Dr. Abdi has courageously defied soldiers who threatened her life, and politicians who tried to destroy her mission.

A history of Somalia is included in this book, from pre-colonial days to Italian and British occupation, along with accounts of Somalian clans. Outside aid from the UN, International Red Cross, and other agencies is recounted, including her friendships with several people involved. The American “Blackhawk down” debacle in Mogadishu is poignantly remembered. There are photos of George Bush's visit in 1992, as well as pictures of hospital staff and family.

Dr.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Compelling, real and yet unbelievable! The tale woven is awe inspiring. What this woman and her daughters accomplished against horrific odds is truly beautiful. If you are ever feeling sorry for yourself or feeling quite satisfied that life is as it should be...maybe this book will open your eyes to new possibilities. Truly a beautiful book.
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Format: Hardcover
Hawa Abdi has been caring for others most of her life. This book tells her story from her youth through her adult years as she works as a doctor in Somalia while the government and the country has been falling apart. Dr. Abdi, her family and the people who work with her have given medical help , food and much more, to thousands of people and done so for thirty years while living near the often violent city of Mogadishu. This story is Hawa's story, in her voice, telling her personal trials and how she overcame them. She started life as a traditional African girl, was married as a young teen to someone of her parents choosing and had a baby very young. Life's tragedy began early for her but she became a medical doctor and developed the skills which would enable Dr. Abdi to give life giving and tradition changing help to many thousands. She passes her skills along to her daughters and they continue to provide medical care and life sustaining aide as she has.
Somalia's thirty year unrest and violence among tribal groups has been a cruel tragedy with many groups trying to stabilize the country with limited success. The deaths and starvation of multitudes of citizens is hard for us to comprehend and to read about but Hawa's persistence is inspiring. The writer, Sarah J. Robbins, who tells the story in Hawa's voice, has done an excellent job. The writing is always Dr. Abdi's voice; it is clear, and moves forward with vivid narrative energy, bringing the reader with her to learn about Hawa's dedicated efforts and personal dilemmas and griefs. Ms. Robbins' writing makes this a story which grabs us with its energy and compels us to keep reading this sorrowful but hopeful story. J. Kabat
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is hard to imagine Dr. Abdi's life, and the level of personal and family sacrifice she experienced to save so many of her fellow Somalians. This is a short, emotionally wrenching book. At the end I felt great relief that she had survived, and that her work continues. Her co-author successfully writes in Dr. Abdi's voice, which is not so easy to do. In addition to it's historical and human rights information, Keeping Hope Alive is a useful reminder that despite our daly challenges, we are really very fortunate, and should do everything we can to maintain a stable, functioning government. Things do fall apart, and when thèy do, life can become dire very quickly.
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