Dateline   |  September 06, 2013

Kidnapped, Part 6

Amanda and her mother are reunited and Amanda takes up a cause.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to a new group and that unpredictability of what might happen to me was so terrifying.

>> narrator: one night they came to her room guns drawn, she feared that was it, she and nigel would be passed off to another group.

>> they produced a small saw and gang sawing through the chains that had been on my ankles for ten months.

>> nigel and amanda were thrown into the back seat of a car and driven into the dark somali night and thrown put into another car.

>> we're both certain that this is our new crew. then that car drives for 30 minutes and then it stops. then about four men with guns surround this car that we're in. and i think, this is it.

>> narrator: what they couldn't know is what had been engineered back in canada. for more than a year, amanda 's mom continued to hold secret fund-raisers. the kidnappers said they would accept $360,000 for both amanda and nigel .

>> he phoned me and said, the gang has agreed. i think i started screaming. and i was thanningiking him.

>> amanda and nigel 's family flew to somalia .

>> three days later, they're still there, it's dangerous for them, they've got all this money.

>> narrator: at the last minute, the deal had hit a snag. the kidnappers wanted more money than they had agreed to. the family made a difficult decision, call off the deal and bring the security team back to kenya.

>> we need the kidnappers to know that we were serious. we're not going to leave our money just sitting there.

>> narrator: lorinda is forced to renegotiate with the kidnappers.

>> we renegotiate, come to an agreement again, send our team back in with the money.

>> that was the very same night amanda and nigel found themselves crying in that car with no idea what was happening.

>> and then i smell cigarette smoke.

>> why does that register with you?

>> because al shabab is a group of extremists. i'm pretty sure none of them would be smoking.

>> tobacco is forbidden?

>> yes.

>> you're smart enough to go, wait a second, maybe it's not what i think.

>> and a man appear at the window.

>> narrator: what amanda didn't know was this man was a somali middle man sent in to broker their release.

>> he says to me, why are you crying? here, talk to your mother. then he hands me his phoning and my mother was on the other end and she said to me, amanda , you're free.

>> amanda and nigel flew out of somalia and landed in nairobi, kenya. they were whisked away to a hospital and lorinda finally got to see her daughter after 15 1/2 months.

>> people asked me what that was like the first time i saw her and i know what they're envisioning, like us running in slow motion and, you know, laughing and crying. but i barely recognized her. it was relief, it was joy and it was hard, heart ache, to see her like that.

>> we took a moment to just look at each other. she's never looked more beautiful to me than she did in that moment.

>> narrator: amanda and lorinda went home to western canada , she took time to heal her body and mind and to reconnect with friends and family.

>> i think i took a lot of time to re-evaluate the life that i lived and to figure out what really matters in life.

>> one of my big regrets was itches always wanting to be out in the world, not maybe taking care of my family. could i have given more thought to who would be affected by the choices that i was making? absolutely.

>> narrator: in her darkest hours in captivity, she made a promise to herself. if freed, she wanted to help oth others. to fulfill that promise, she started an organization that educates somali women and children . her best friend kelley is proud.

>> amanda has gone on to do incredible things since she was released. i think that's a key part of her healing. amanda being raped and not having a voice, she was that much better able to help the women of somalia .

>> narrator: amazingly, just a year and a half after her relief, she did the one thing no one thought she would. she went back to somalia on a relief mission.

>> what are you feeling?

>> honestly, i feel ready. i feel ready for this.

>> narrator: we met up with her on her way over the border. somalia was still a dangerous place. there were still men with guns on every corner.

>> you look at the little kids here. and that's the whole reason.

>> narrator: as difficult as it was going back, it's been part of her healing.

>> when you were in captivity, you said you always thought about the sky. this is a sky.

>> yeah, this is a sky.

>> narrator: amanda still travels, but she no longer feels the pull to get away. in fact she now lives just a stroll away from her mom.

>> i would not be here now if it was not for my mother. she devoted her entire life for those 460 days to bringing me back home. so there's a really special and new bond because of that, my mom gave me life and she saved my life.

>> what would you say about her?

>> she is the strongest person that ever met in my life. her strength is inspiring.

>> narrator: amanda is sharing her inspiring story with the world. she's written a book "a house in the sky" the title a reference to how she survived.

>> there's been this theme in my life, it seems, of houses and moving houses, i moved around so much as a child and then as a captive in somalia and now i have found my house, my place in the world. this is my house in the sky.

>> that's all for this edition of "dateline." we'll be back