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Today in My History

2000: Videotapes and Web Cams
2001:  Who Invited All These Tacky People
2002:  Impatience is a Virtue
2003:  Wack-a-Mole

2004:  Growing Old is NOT for Sissies
Fairy Revels

2006:  Show Off

2007: Movie Meme 
2008:  Life Such as It Is

Avenue Q

Books Read in 2009
Updated: 2/28
"The Thunderbolt Kid" 

Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(created 2/12/09)

Home Remedies


The "Royal" Puppies from Bev Sykes on Vimeo.

and on You Tube

Look at these videos!
Ode to Joy
Spot with Transgender Woman
Jon Stewart v. Jim Cramer
The T-Mobile Dance
Over the Rainbow--Second Verse
Come to Australia

New on My flickr_logo.gif (801 bytes)

Bri's Christening

Mirror Site, for RSS feed:
Airy Persiflage

Bev's 65 x 365

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21 March 2009

This is probably how I'm going to start my next feature article -- or something like it.  I'll try it out on you first!

I left the house today in my air-conditioned car, drove to the mall and grumbled because I had to park half a parking lot away from Peets Coffee.   I waked to Peets, grumbling because the parking lot needs resurfacing and the ground is bumpy and uneven and, in spots, uncomfortable to walk on.

I went into Peets and ordered an iced cafe mocha and took it outside to a table, where I was waiting for my contact, film maker Jared Martin.   I was early, so I took my new iPod Touch out of my purse and tried to send a Facebook update, grumbling because I needed an access code and had forgotten to get it while inside the cafe.  But that was OK because I had the James Patterson book on the Kindle app, so I sat and read my book until Jared arrived.

It didn't take long into the interview before I was feeling very guilty.

Jared has made a short film called The Lost Boys of the Sudan, which he is entering in the 6th annual Davis Film Festival next month.   This is a film he started 5 years ago, when he was 14 and visiting his aunt on a summer holiday.

The aunt knew that he liked to play around with making movies and suggested that he might like to interview five of the young men from the Sudan who were being sponsored by her church group.  The eleven-hour interview he did with them was edited down to 45 minutes and last year edited again into a 7 minute documentary.

From "Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan" :

Imagine you’re a young boy—maybe as young as three or four—separated from your family by civil war, traversing deserts and mountains with little food or water, no medical care, and no protection from wild animals.

Imagine watching hundreds of boys perish around you from hunger, disease, injury, and exhaustion. To most of us, it is unimaginable, but this was reality for “The Lost Boys of Sudan,” thousands of young boys who were separated from their families and forced to travel for more than two years and 1,000 miles to find refuge from war and certain death.

In 2001, approximately 3,800 Lost Boys were granted refugee status in the United States, and through a program with the United Nations and Lutheran Social Services, 85 of the boys came to Jacksonville in the summer of that year (We now have 135) .These young men needed instruction in the most basic requirements of daily life, such as how to flush a toilet, use running water, sleep on a bed with a blanket and pillow, and use electrical appliances such as lamps and stoves. Although it has been difficult, the boys have worked diligently to assimilate into American culture. Education, which is granted only to the wealthy in their native Sudan, has become a beacon of hope for these young men, many of whom work two jobs so they can pay tuition expenses.

Because the boys have been malnourished for most of their lives and have also been subjected to a variety of life-threatening illnesses and disease, most still suffer from health and dental problems. For this reason, Joan Hecht founded the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan Foundation in 2004, to assist with the medical and educational needs of the Lost Boys living both in the U.S. and Africa.

Jared added that the boys were between the ages of 3 and 15 when they began their 14 year search for a safe place to live.  Many died from starvation or disease or were killed by animals or soldiers.  To add insult to injury, when they finally arrived in the United States, many were adopted by church or community groups around the United States, but the government took responsibility for several of the groups, essentially dumping them after 6 months, leaving them to fend for themselves.   Imagine arriving in this country not even knowing how to sleep in a bed with a blanket and in six months be expected to have learned the language, learned how to function in a world with indoor plumbing AND have to find a job in order to pay for food and lodging.

Jared's film has already won acclaim at several film festivals and he hopes it will do well in the Davis Film Festival. 

I asked him what he hoped to accomplish by his film, since the "boys" in question are now in their middle to late 20s and the program is not in need of funding.  He said that he just wants people to be aware of what these kids went through to get here and to be a little more understanding of the difficulties they are having adjusting to life here.  Those who have jobs are trying to earn enough not only to pay for their upkeep here, but to send money home to family in Sudan, to relatives who have the sense that their children are living in luxury (in comparison, I suppose they are).

When we finished our interview, Jared invited me to come to the screening, which I hope to do. 

Then I got back into my air conditioned car, drove to the big supermarket to buy expensive baby food for one of my puppies, and then came home to my computer and my television to write about the plight of some very brave boys who have known more suffering and challenge than I would bet any one of us reading this entry could even imagine.

I hope not to take things so much for granted any more....but, being human, I probably will.  And that's sad.


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