Bundaberg, QLD, July 2021
My youngest sibling Nigel was kidnapped when he was overseas. It required eighteen months of my life to actually negotiate his release. So that's probably the sacrifice I made to family. That’s probably the best way to describe that.

Our family had grown grain until mum and my parents retired. At that point in time, quite a lot of wheat was going from Australia across to Somalia. Nigel was following that journey as a photojournalist. He and a Canadian girl, one of his cohorts, were kidnapped when they were actually in Somalia. They were driving from one food camp to another and were taken hostage on the roadside by al-Shabab, moved around Somalia and held for about 18 months. Initially, conditions were okay until they escaped and were recaptured. From then on they were kept in quite brutal confines. 
Initially, I worked with the Australian Federal Police the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, negotiating with the kidnappers to get them both released, and we actually raised quite a bit of money for the ransom, which ended up being to the tune of 1.3 million Australian dollars. Collectively the family sold properties to raise the ransom. Kidnapping is a pretty open and shut situation. You pay, you get the product back.
The Australian government, like most governments, don't actually facilitate the payment of a ransom. Their position was that no money was to be paid, so we were working on diplomatic routes. It wasn’t so much bribes, but endorsements for Somalia, in the form of medical supplies for hospitals and things like that.

We decided after 12 months to move away from the government and hire someone independently, a risk management consultant. We went over to Nairobi for the last two months and finalised their release. We had a couple of ex Australian and British SAS fellows go in with money and swap cash for live bodies.

I had moved away from three relatively young children and moved in with the federal police for about eight months. I was in a house away from the kids, working on phone calls and negotiating with different governments and organisations to see how we could get a release.

It was a definite sacrifice because my ex-husband had to run our business and also raise the kids pretty much full time by himself. Fortunately, kids are remarkably resilient, but I think it had an effect on all three of them. We ended up busted ass broke at the end of it, after selling everything.

It was a massive financial cost for us. But there's actually no price you can put on a family member.

It definitely put massive pressure on my relationship with my partner at the time, which culminated in a breakup.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, for any of my three siblings.
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