I would like to acknowledge “International Women’s Day” with the final paragraph of my book, 128 Degrees:

“After I returned home to the U.S., I felt more resolve than ever to finish my story. To me, after feeling that I had ultimately bottomed out there, it was a healing exercise to finish the book. I had certainly lost myself in the Magical Kingdom for a while, but ultimately and somewhat ironically, I found my voice there, and it occurred to me that it could serve to give a voice to women in a part of the world where they rarely, if ever, have a voice, or an opportunity to share their realities. Out of all of my experiences and the people whom I met, it is Lamia that I carried home with me in my heart.  I pray for her and for her path. she made an indelible impression on me and my spirit. I have done a lot of humanitarian work with women all over the world, and she remains one of my most inspiration stories of hope and courage. To me, she is a bright star in a dark place—shining and radiant as her name in Arabic confirms—and such a wonderful example of grace, strength, courage and perseverance while having to essentially swim against the current every day of her life. Despite all of the odds against her, little or no support from her family, and all of the terrible things she has had to endure, she persists. I dedicate this book to her, and to all women who persist and stay strong in dark places.”

To every woman out there…stay strong…stay courageous…be you!