Monday, October 13, 2008

Sudan Film Viewing

On September 23 I posted to the Sudan Team:

Last night Dean and I went to the screening of the film his friend Jen Marlow (Producer of "Darfur Diaries") is making. Another friend of our joined us. She and I are going to host a showing of the film in her home (on Sammamish Plateau) in the not too far off future to help the filmaker raise funds for its release. I'll let you know when that is so you might catch it.

The film focused on three "lost boys" who have been in the states getting their education. They made a short-term trip to return to the villages they fled when they were very young (5-7 years old). Two of the three did not know if their parents were still alive. One had talked to his mother once since. His father was shot during the war. The three have plans to return after getting their education. One wants to build a school, one is a nurse and wants to train his people in administering simple medicine. I'm drawing a blank on the third one's mission.

Two messages from the film really stuck out to me, in thinking about our upcoming trip.

-focusing on education is key (which is what our project is doing: a school to teach teachers). It's what the people want more than anything else (even food) as they see it as the only way to improve their future. I feel good about the focus of this project.

-no matter what we do, it won't be enough. These young men who returned to their village were doing all they could for their people and there was never enough to make them feel like they had done anything. Not enough thread and needles to hand out, not enough medicine, not enough mosquito nets. As many people as they delighted with their simple gifts, as many people were dissapointed because supplies ran out. This is going to be a struggle and we have to think carefully about what we bring. These people have nothing. Giving them thread and a needle is greater than any Christmas we ever gave our kids. But there will be those that don't get any when the thread (or whatever we might bring) runs out. That's going to be hard.

Also, that weekend, I lost a whole day absorbed in reading from front to back the book They Poured Fire On Us From the Sky. The book is written by three lost boys who fled their villages when they were ages five and seven. It focuses on the time from when they had to turn their backs on their families (ages five and seven folks!) to finally ending up in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. When I closed the book after reading this I had to search myself for the answer "What can I possibly do for these people?" I am so humbled and awed by the sheer tanacity and survivor skills of these people. These little boys. How anyone survives something like this can only be credited to a God of miracles.

Subsequently, I read God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau. Another book about the flight of a Lost Boy, taken from when he flees his village to his arrival at a refuge camp in Kenya, and then relocation to the US. I understand that some of the men who are enrolled in the school where I will be going in Yabus in January are lost boys who have returned. I'm glad I have the background from these books and am anxiously anticipating speaking with some in person. There is much to learn on survival and resilliance!

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