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Stronger Than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa

4.52  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Somalia's Mother Teresa chose love over fear.

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 deadlies
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Plough Publishing House
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Jill Dobbe
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Stronger than Death is Annalena Tonelli's story of living and working along with the sick, hungry, and destitute of Kenya and Somalia in the 1980's. She was a courageous, down-to-earth, and humble Italian woman who left her homeland and family to spend her life assisting the poor and eradicating TB from those countries.

Despite living near Annalena in Somalia, the author commits to knowing her better through letters, research, and visits with family members, friends, and former medical personnel
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Singular. Annalena Tonelli is unlike anyone I’ve ever met on the pages of a book. She is completely independent in a way I’ve rarely encountered. She’s not tethered to an organization or a profession or a family. Somehow she lands in Africa with the purpose of curing TB, a notorious killer among the poor with a treatment demanding a rigor and discipline that requires the determination of someone like Annalena. She’s not a doctor or a nurse, not a missionary, but somehow all of these things at on ...more
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was very moved by this book. The author tells the story of Annalena Tonelli and her 34 years of service to the Somali people. I don't recall having heard about Annalena, maybe of an aid worker who was killed in 2003, but nothing specific.

I think everyone should know what it looks like to really love your neighbor as yourself, which is what Annalena did and in the greatest humility. The story of her time in Africa is beautifully written and gives a glimpse into the life of what I would call a
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
STRONGER THAN DEATH tells the story of Annalena Tonelli, a woman from Italy, who was passionate about serving the poor, especially those affected by tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa. If you should Google Annalena’s name, you’ll find that she pushed the limits in most everything to accomplish all that she was involved in and honestly became well known in the world of humanitarian aid work. She has been described as a humanitarian aid worker, a missionary, a nun, and a social activist, though af ...more
Lauren Fee
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
An inspiring story about a fascinating lady who found a way to successfully treat Tuberculosis among nomadic pastoralists. Annalena made me wrestle. She truly took the form of a servant to serve the poor, sick, war-torn, and even those in leadership positions. She embodied an action-able and self-emptying love in everything she did. She is admirable, yet she wouldn't want to be admired. She would want you to do likewise in your context. However, as a follower of Christ with a broader definition ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Annalena Tonelli was a remarkable woman and yet it appears that very few people have heard of her. It is to be hoped that this excellent account of her life will bring her to wider renown, as she certainly deserves to be better known and acknowledged for her selfless devotion to the poor and sick of Somalia, particularly those suffering from TB. She spent over 30 years serving the disadvantaged, and was fearless and determined to do what she considered right. Her faith informed her life and work ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After reading an excerpt of this book in Plough Magazine, I knew I had learn more about this extraordinary woman’s story. She devoted her life to nursing ostracized Somalians who had been diagnosed with tuberculosis or HIV/AIDS, and was assassinated in her own hospital by Islamic extremists after three decades of serving in Somaliland. It wasn’t the first time she had faced down a gun. The author, Rachel Pieh Jones, was living in Somaliland at the time of Tonelli’s death and shares an intimate k ...more
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa
Challenging and inspirational. Annalena served with love through relationships in Kenya and Somalia for 34 years. She refused to follow security guidelines and refused to live like an expat (big house, armed guards, comfortable budget), believing that to love the poor, you must live among them. Because of her proximity to the people she served, she helped develop a culturally appropriate (and therefore effective) way to treat TB in nomadic Somalis, but her legacy is so much more than that.
Thelma Fountain
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in a Librarything giveaway. I found this book to be very thought provoking. Annalena's story is very moving I admire her ability to love deeply, her commitment to her faith and the people she cared for in Africa. I love to read biographies like this one because I always learn important lessons on how to be a better human being from individuals like Annalena. Highly recommend. ...more
Lauren Lieberman
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a powerful but sad story. Annelina Tonelli was an incredible person with a strong will and a clear purpose for her life. A very good story that every child should learn about!
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book follows the extraordinary life of Annalena Tonelli, an Italian woman who spent years in the Horn of Africa, specifically, Northern Kenya and Somalia, trying to help eradicate Tuberculosis. Although she wasn't a medical doctor, she was able to find ways to improve access to treatment for some of the regions poorest inhabitants. While Tonelli was not a nun or a missionary in the traditional sense, she was a woman who followed her heart and the teachings of Jesus. She felt love was what t ...more
Audrey  Adamson Stars in Her Eye

Stronger than Death tells the story of what real missionary work should be. There is more than just religion, there was action, their care, and love of the poor. TO read this story shows me this world has people who are truly good.
Annalena treated TB in places like Kenya and Somalia. she faces down violence every day but never stopped caring for those in need. She knew that religion called for care and love for the needy. Unlike many of the biggest "missionary/pastors", Annalena didn't live in o
Amber Thiessen
The life of Annalena Tonelli is remarkable. She was a woman who was brave and compassionate, carrying a servant's heart, willing to suffer and persevere in the midst of chaos.

"Stronger Than Death" is a biography of her life, through her journey serving the poor in northern Kenya, Somalia and Somaliland. Her primary effort was treating tuberculosis among the nomadic people living in the horn of Africa, which is a highly difficult thing to do, given the infectiousness of the disease. She developed
Michelle Kidwell
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stronger than Death
How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa

by Rachel Pieh Jones

Plough Publishing

Plough Publishing House

Biographies & Memoirs , Christian

Pub Date 01 Oct 2019

Stronger than death is the remarkable story of Annalena Tonelli, known as Somalia’s Mother Teresa, she unselfishly perhaps even heroically risked her life to help those in Somalia who were suffering from Tuberculosis, knowing that if she ended up with the disease it would ending a painful death
Olguta Iordache
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about a memorable human being
May 2019

How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa
by Rachel Pieh Jones
Coming October 2019

The author describes the unselfish life of Annalena Tonelli who dedicated all her life to helping the poor, and the accomplishments of her life's work, having in the background a no ending civil war zone.

It is an interesting book about an unselfish human being.

It is a story from what you can teach about faith and
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Stronger Than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa by Rachel Pieh Jones is the story of an amazing and inspiring women. I never would have heard of her if this book had not been written. Even her grave leaves no clues of the many lives that she saved from tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa, Somalia and Northern Kenya.

She had many challenges, not a nurse and doctor or a nun, she loved and wanted to serve the poor. She grew to love the desert and the ho
Becky Galambos
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book from Plough Publishing through Librarything's Early Readers program.

I must admit, before reading this book, I had a very vague idea who Annalena Tonelli was. It seemed like a good book to request because I am trying to expand my knowledge of recent history. Most of what I know of what went on in Kenya, Somalia, and other places in the world in the late 80's and early 90's was what had been sanitized enough for those current events filmstrips that we saw at school.

Annalena To
Pamela Barrett
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it

This was a difficult book for me to review, not because of the writing, but because of the content. It’s about Annalena Tonelli, a woman who ministered to nomadic tribes in Kenya, Somalia, and Somaliland from 1969-2003. The people had Tuberculosis and because of their nomadic culture they didn’t want to stay in one place. No one could get them to rest long enough to take the full course of medications until Annalena was able to convince them.

Then there were civil wars raging, a massacre covere
Kelly Johnson
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating story of a woman who was not only committed to helping those most in need, but voluntarily living at the same level as poverty. She was religious, but did not push her religion on those she helped, most of them were Muslim and initially did not want her in their community. I had two opposite sorts of feelings reading this - the first of immense gratitude that I was born where I was - in a place with basic health care, in a place where if a woman is sleeping outside it's not assumed s ...more
Cathy Morgan
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'd never heard of Annalenna before I picked up this book, but she sounded interesting. Inspiring may have been a better word, though - what she achieved was amazing, her work ethic was incredible, and the conditions in which she lived horrific. Having said that, she couldn't have been easy to live with, for those very reasons. Well, this book brought all that out in a way that felt informative and interesting, but as much as possible unbiased. The author is careful to give the sources of her in ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As an avid reader and former ex-pat myself, I was completely surprised to have never heard the moving account of Annalena Tonelli's life and work in Somalia. Journey with writer Rachel Pieh Jones as she weaves her own story of living in Djibouti with Annalena's story. At times I was encouraged. At times I was shocked. And at times I was amazed. This is the incredible account of one woman's desire to live out her convictions and love for mankind. It was so inspiring to read of her life and dedica ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Deeply moving and challenging

Raw and honest. What makes this book so remarkable is that while Anna Tonelli achieves incredible things, she is always portrayed a real human being. She does not fit any convenient mould and thankfully Rachel Pieh Jones does not try and make her either. Anna’s life, her dedication to the poor are utterly inspiring and deeply challenging. She displays unbelievable courage and determination in fighting disease in a very hostile environment, while genuinely loving and
Stronger Than Death by Rachel Pieh Jones is a compelling read about a figure that could be called so many things, yet would prefer none of them. I learned so much while reading this book and cannot believe that I had not heard of Annalena Tonelli before this book. Annalena was what many wanted to be but most will never achieve. She defied the many dangers of Somalia to do what she felt called to do without being held back by governments and NGOs. This account tells of the many things she achieve ...more
Jodie Pine
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent account of Annalena Tolleni, who invested her life in the people of the Horn of Africa--through TB hospitals, schools for the deaf, and FGM reforms--and was martyred in 2003. Rachel Jones' intensive research, interviews, and her own family's personal accounts while living in the same area at that time make this a fascinating read.

"Journalists called Annalena the Mother Teresa of Somalia, but Somalis never called her that. They called her hooyo, mother. She wasn’t a saint to them; s
Denise Anne
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have served in Kenya for more than ten years as a community health worker and missionary. I recognise parts of me in Annalena and parts of me in Rachel, the author. I serve with mixed motives and in the paradox of following the call of Jesus to love my neighbour as myself as well as the person that desires recognition and praise for living overseas. This book rekindled in me the original passion and drive that brought me to Kenya to serve the least of these. Thank you, Rachel, for your excelle ...more
Courtney Birkbeck
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a story of amazing courage, strong women, people who were willing to sacrifice their lives to help others. I can't stress enough that this book is a must read for anyone who wants to serve as a missionary, or helper with UNICEF or something like that overseas in 3rd world countries. It's one of those books that you won't put down, that you won't want to stop reading and might stay up all night reading! (That's what I did!). I actually purchased this book before finding in on NetGalley, s ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
We need modern-day heroes--both within and outside of the church. Annalena Tonelli can serve as a role model for us all. Rachel Pieh Jones does a lovely job telling Tonelli's story, using good writing and excellent research skills, and not shying away from asking tough questions. This biography is inspiring, engaging, and it forces the reader to introspection. I recommend it be widely read. Would be excellent for a book club, in addition to individual reading. ...more
Sep 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
I struggled with a number of things in the book. That doesn't mean it is a bad thing.

Is loving Jesus enough? The theme seemed to be that loving Jesus was what Annalena did and implied that is enough. Yes, we need to love Jesus and from that love flows are actions and our words.

She encouraged the teaching of the Qua'rn in the schools she established. She had a Hindu burial.

I felt the book dragged on and on.

Thanks to netgalley for this book. The review and opinions are my own.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful story about an unbelievably selfless woman! I read this book in two sittings and I am still in a state of self reflection.
We strive to be Christlike however will we ever measure up? Annalena lead the Christlike life that we strive for.
Thank you Rachel Pieh Jones for entrusting us with her story....
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had to skim some of this biography or I'd have gotten bogged down and wouldn't finish. While some of her work was definitely interesting, the book was a bit repetitive, especially about her faith. Her credo was apparently just to love people, especially the poor and the sick. Altho a Catholic, she didn't attempt to convert people as Mother Teresa had, but to just be there to help and heal. ...more
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