A post on the Booktagger discussion board asks if you have read any books that have changed your thinking. I immediately thought of two autobiographies by Waris Dirie, "Desert Flower" and "Desert Dawn".
The first starts with Waris hiding from a lion as she escapes from her nomadic tribe in Somalia, where her father has sold her at thirteen to a sixty one year one man. She miraculously locates family in a city when she has never visited such a place and ultimately ends up in London, illegally and unable to speak the language.
Showing how life can change most dramatically, Waris is picked to pose in the famous Pirelli calendar and becomes a sought after model.
However, what changed my way of thinking was her descriptions of the contrasts between her two lives that she still struggles to balance. Growing up every drop of water and crumb of food was precious, but in developed nations we can forget to turn off a tap or mindlessly eat while watching a movie or waiting for a train. Since reading this book I have been unable to leave the tap on while brushing my teach or eat while walking place to place. It taught me to respect the essentials in life no matter how easily they may come to us.
When writing this post I was excited to learn Waris has written two more books. "Desert Children", which documents her work to combat female genital mutilation, and "Letter to My Mother", a most personal epistle prompted by her mother became seriously ill and travelled to be with her daughter in Vienna.