As the Rivers Merge

A Story of Love, War and Perseverance Across Continents

When the Nigerian Civil War crept to his quiet college town, Matthew Mamah’s global journey began. His father, an Anglican priest who survived smallpox, had always urged him to “aim high and shoot high.” Matthew knew that his quest for excellence could take him to the horizon’s edge, but he never imagined himself in Budapest, Hungary.

Daniel Mamah (Photo: Courtesy of the author)

Yet, it was there he met the love of his life.

The grandniece of famed composer Béla Bartók, Judit Koós grew up in the shadow of Hungary’s bloody Revolution, its tank fire shattering her home as her family cowered in the basement. But perhaps her most tragic obstacle was being denied the opportunity to follow her own dreams of excellence—as a religious Catholic, she was barred from teaching music in Communist Hungary.

Written by their son, Daniel, “As the Rivers Merge” is a true story of Matthew and Judit’s unlikely union, which catapulted them into lives that would show them the best and worst of humanity.

About the author

Daniel Mamah, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and director of the university’s Washington Early Recognition Center.