In 2011, Jessica Buchanan was an aid worker in northern Somalia, helping to raise awareness about how to avoid land mines. The north was the relatively safe section of the country; that October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern region for a training. The night before she left, she texted her husband, Erik Landemalm, also an aid worker in Somalia. She asked him a question: "If I get kidnapped on this trip, will you come and get me?"
Now a story of "Impossible Odds," that's the title of a new book by Jessica Buchanan. She's an American aid worker who was kidnapped in Somalia back in 2011. Her new book recounts the terrifying experience. It's co-written with her husband and fellow aid worker, Erik Landemalm. The couple was based in northern Somalia, considered the safer part of a country that to this day they feel an affection for.
A health worker weighs a Somali baby on scales at a medical clinic in Mogadishu. Babies in Somalia have the highest risk of dying within the first 24 hours after birth.
Credit Carl de Souza / AFP/Getty Images
In the developing world, a baby's first day of life is often the most perilous.
Roughly 3 million newborns die each year, the nonprofit Save the Children reported Tuesday. Most of these deaths occur in the first week of life, and more than 1 million babies pass away within 24 hours of being born.
Although the report calls for some big changes in health care systems to prevent newborn deaths, it also says that some simple, inexpensive things could save many lives.
Imagine the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, in the 1980s. You can't, right? Neither can most music critics. That's why the recent re-release of a record by a popular '80s-era Mogadishu dance band has caught the attention of critics lately.
The founders of Dur-Dur Band now live in Columbus, Ohio. Weekends on All Things Considered asked members Abdinur Daljir and Sahra Dawo to go to a studio there — accompanied by an interpreter — to talk about the newly reissued record and the story that precedes it.
For the past six years in Somalia, Western countries have been putting up the cash and African nations have been supplying the soldiers, a formula that has pushed back al-Qaida-linked militants and allowed Somalia to elect it's first democratic government in 20 years.
"We can fix our problems in Africa," says Brig. Michael Ondoga, a contingent commander with the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM. "All we need is your support."
It's not at all hard to see why this plan is so agreeable to the American government.