VOLUME 23 #2

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Ordinary Life, Extraordinary Event

Cover of book - 90 Minutes in Nairobi

ALUMNI & FRIENDS | On Sept. 21, 2013, when unidentified gunmen attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Francis Strazzella, AS73, and his wife, Susan, were checking out the price of Adidas sneakers on the top floor of the mall. “Suddenly, we hear[d] the unmistakable sound of gunfire,” he wrote.

In his book, 90 Minutes in Nairobi: An extraordinary event in an ordinary life, Strazzella recounts their harrowing experience. “It is [a story] about a mere 90 minutes of a life; a miniscule, indistinguishable fraction, really, out of over 32 million minutes (So far),” he states in the book’s prologue. “But most of all, it is about what you learn from experiencing an horrific event, about yourself, about brave souls, about friends, about those you love, and what matters.” From the book:

12:38PM—Nairobi, Kenya

…and now it begins, and I thought, maybe ends. Explosion. Screaming. Panic. A grenade, unquestionably something the average person doesn’t hear every day. I had a fleeting thought; wow, that was really loud. I look for Susan. She followed directions and is crawling under a car bumper, also something you don’t see every day. I thought this is it; we are going to die, not the way I thought. A really frightening thought, a little surreal. Nor panicked, but accepting…. I felt surprisingly calm. However, deep humankind genetics jolt me alert; flight or fright, time slows down, vision narrows, decisions happen in micro seconds.

Strazzella is a retired marketing executive. He and his wife have traveled extensively, visiting more than 50 countries to date.

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