TITLE: “Impossible Odds”
AUTHOR: Jessica Buchanan and Erik Landemalm
As teenagers unknown to one another Jessica and Erik had dreams of helping the human misery in Africa. Both had experienced failed marriages when they met at a dance in 2007 and after dating a 18 months they were married. Soon their dream of working together in Africa became a reality. Erik had already been in Somalia for two years when they met. Jessica was a teacher and her concerns were for the neglected girls and the child soldiers. In 2008, they returned to the United States so Erik could meet Jessica’s family before a marriage proposal took place. They were married in 2009 and on Oct. 25, 2011 their lives changes drastically when she and a colleague were kidnapped by pirates. They were held captives for a high ransom for 93 days. Despite Erik’s protest to her returning to Africa without him she got his blessings to go back.
There were many phone conversations between Erik and Matt from the crisis management team after the kidnapping. Was Jessica in lethal danger? Was her health failing? Would she think he had abandoned her? Would she feel betrayed? How was she treated being the only woman by the attackers? What were the intentions of the attackers? What was the Defense Department doing to plan her rescue?
Their story is told in detail of the emotional ordeal Erik suffered as he kept up with the plans for a rescue. Much more details shared about Jessica’s frightening ordeal included her eating tuna using a tampon applicator as an eating utensil. Her medications had been taken away from her. The abuse took the form of aggression instead of torture. She and Paul were concealed during the day but at night were ordered to lie on the ground in the open. Sometimes they were separated. How sophisticated were the kidnappers? Why was the ransom set so high?
As the days turned into weeks, and weeks became months, Jessica and Paul had no clue about the extensive work being done in the U.S. to get them out of Africa alive and safe. The FBI, military forces, crisis management team, the Defense Department, Jessica’s family and Erik worked around the clock for the heroic rescue by 24 Navy Seals on Jan. 25, 2012. Who was the leader of the three African clans involved in the kidnapping? For what reasons? How is life like for Erik and Jessica after the dramatic rescue?
This is a true story that is a “must” to read. Once you start reading it you won’t put the book down too fast!