By Rege Behe
Hanifa Nakiryowa does not want pity. She will not plead for help, and will not lament her fate.
Even though no one would think less of her if she faltered just a little, the weight of the unthinkable violence she suffered, so unforgiveable, so horrific, causing her to collapse.
But she is unbowed — the scars on her face, her neck, her arms, her shoulders, the remnants of an acid attack she suffered in her native Uganda — marking her but not defining her.
Nakiryowa, emerged from the attack with her psyche strong and her faith in God renewed.
“When you talk about faith in God to some people it doesn’t make sense,” she says. “To me it does make sense. There is always that spiritual power around us that directs our way. Unless you have the ability to listen to that voice, you get lost.”
That power has brought her to Western Pennsylvania where she lives. She studied for a master’s degree in international development and human security at the University of Pittsburgh.