(NEW YORK) — Jessica Buchanan, the woman rescued from Somalia bandits by U.S. special forces, is so dedicated to helping others that she sold all of her belongings to become a missionary in Somalia.
Buchanan, 32, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated from Valley Forge University, a Christian college in Phoenixville, Pa., in 2007. She was a student teacher in Africa before graduating and her romance with the continent began.
Buchanan started as a student teacher at Nairobi’s Rosslyn Academy in 2007 because of, “God’s call on her life to teach overseas,” according to her biography on the school’s web site. She student taught first and sixth graders before being hired as a fourth grade teacher in 2008.
Buchanan left the school in 2009. She moved to Hargeisa, Somalia with her Danish husband, Erik Landemalm, who she met in Africa.
Buchanan, 32, was kidnapped on Oct. 25, 2011, along with her Danish co-worker Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, in Galkayo, Somalia. The two worked together for the Danish Demining Group, a division of the Danish Regugee Council, Buchanan served as a regional education adviser, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Over the three months of her captivity, concern grew about Buchanan’s deteriorating health, which was described as possibly “life-threatening” and a, “window of opportunity for mission success” presented itself, according to Pentagon spokesperson George Little.
The two were rescued Wednesday by the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6, the same covert group that successfully carried out the mission to kill Osama bin Laden.
Buchanan is doing, “as well as you would expect given what she has gone through,” a military official told ABC News.
Buchanan is currently at U.S. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.
According to officials, she is expected to be reunited with her family in the next day or two, however the location of the reunion remained unclear.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Megan McNulty, Deseret News