Amid a volatile mix of disease, war, and religious fundamentalism in the Horn of Africa, what difference could one woman make? Annalena Tonelli left behind career, family, and homeland anyway, moving to a remote Muslim village in northern Kenya to live among its outcasts – desert nomads dying of tuberculosis, history’s deadliest disease.
No one who encounters Annalena in these pages will leave unchanged. Her confounding, larger-than-life example challenges our assumptions about aid and development, Christian–Muslim relations, and what it means to put one’s faith into practice. Brought vividly back to life through Jones’s meticulous reporting and her own letters, Annalena presents us with a new measure of success and commitment. But she also leaves us a gift: the secret to overcoming the fear that pervades our society and our hearts – fear of disease and death, fear of terrorism and war, fear of others, and fear of failure.
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“People would call her a doctor, a missionary, and a nun. And they would call her a saint… Should Annalena be made into a saint? That was how I thought of her, at first. I only knew the high points in Annalena’s life. I knew nothing of the dark valleys, her secret and controversial compromise. I knew she had accomplished something remarkable, something about tuberculosis but also about love and faith…”
— Rachel Pieh Jones
“…gripping biography... …Tonelli’s example of humility, asceticism, and loving with abandon will be a revelation…” –Publisher’s Weekly
A meticulously detailed and empathetic work on a woman whose life should not be forgotten.–Mary Harper, BBC World Service, author Getting Somalia Wrong?
“A stunning meditation on love and service, this book has given me a new hero: Annalena Tonelli.” Jason Fagone, national best-selling author of The Woman Who Smashed Codes