Rescued Aid Worker Loved Africa

Details emerging on Jessica Buchanan, saved in Navy SEAL raid
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2012 12:47 PM CST
Rescued Aid Worker Loved Africa
This undated photo taken at an unknown location and released by the Danish Refugee Council on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 shows American Jessica Buchanan from the Danish Refugee Council's de-mining unit.   (AP Photo/Danish Refugee Council)

Jessica Buchanan, the American aid worker rescued in a Navy SEAL overnight raid, first came to Africa as a student teacher in Nairobi. "That experience just planted in her a love and passion for Africa," says the president of the Pennsylvania Christian college from which Buchanan graduated in 2007 with a degree in early childhood education. "She could hardly talk about Africa without tears in her eyes." She was hired at the same Kenyan academy where she worked as a student, and taught there for two years.

After meeting her husband, the 32-year-old became a regional educational adviser for the Danish Refugee Council's de-mining unit. It was during a visit to a project site in central Somalia on October 25 that Buchanan and fellow aid worker Poul Thisted were kidnapped by pirates and held for three months, CNN reports. Though officials say Buchanan's failing health played a role in triggering the rescue, the college president spoke to her family and says, "She is strong, she is healthy, she is in very good condition." Click here and here for more on the raid. (Read more Jessica Buchanan stories.)

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