One of Pamela’s pieces from a few years ago…
Can that happen?
I went to this wonderful screening. I’ve seen many movies about developing nations and crises, and this one was unique. God Grew Tired of Us is an award-winning film, produced by Christopher Dillon Quinn, Molly Bradford Pace and Tommy Walker, detailing a horrific genocide in Sudan. It entailed
history, hurt, humor… and heart.
God Grew Tired of Us details the exodus of thousands of young boys over a period of five years. Starting in the 1980s, more than 25,000 young boys aged 3-15 fled Sudan because the Muslim north had ordered them killed. The conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudanese Government led to the mass exodus of these boys from Southern Sudan.
These boys walked 1,000 miles through scorching desert to rest in Somalia for 3 years, but the leadership became so turbulent they had to walk back to the desert to get to a refugee camp in Kenya. 65,000 strong were in the refugee camp, with some, at times, being repatriated to the United States.
They journeyed from a green, overflowing land of abundance, open homes, warm families, and playing in the Nile…
To a desert with limited water, scorching sand, sun, and rarely any food.
And it wasn’t just the climate that was so arduous. Families separated, and young boys age 12, carried their 3 year old brother or sister on their shoulders. Pre-teens became the parents who were gone: they had to feed themselves, their brothers, sisters and any member of their tribes. They shouldered responsibility before they even reached adolescence themselves.
What a heartfelt journey of survival, the refugee camp. Every week a list was posted of where people might be placed. The United States was the only country willing to repatriate them. They would go to Atlanta, Rochester, Omaha…
Many of them were grateful for the opportunity. And yet, upon entrance to our country, they were overwhelmed by so much.
The grocery stores with overabundance.
The rooms they visited: “How many people per bed, two or four,?”… “No, each person has their own bed.”
Introduction to the toilet, professional clothes, silverware and unfortunately, the entrance of awfully unhealthy, processed food: from potato chips, considered an “efficient” way to have potatoes, to frozen hot dogs.
Our culture can certainly do better than that, and yet that is how we ‘repatriated them’ to our way of living. There were no coaches or counselors through the process.
Freedom, safety, a land of opportunity. We have so much to be grateful for in the United States. We can think and dream. We strive to reach, and often do, our intimate goals, dreams, inspirations.
The heart of Sudan’s culture was missing…
People such as John Dau, one of the leaders of the Lost Boys, spoke of longing…
For the ability to play in the Nile, with your mom but 20 feet away;
“We have doors in Africa…
We just keep them open.” – John Dau
As he described the contrasting experiences he had in Sudan and the United States, he noted how, “You don’t call past 9 pm in America. It is not appropriate to do so. But in Sudan, people visit any time, late at night.”
He essentially was saying… “We never ask… you just come on over. Our home is open.”