Saturday, January 8, 2011
"God Grew Tired of Us"
Last night I watched the movie "God Grew Tired of Us." I had seen a preview for it several years ago but was never able to find it. I finally found it on Netflix and it came in the mail yesterday. It's a documentary about the "Lost Boys" of Southern Sudan who fled their country and at the ages of 3-13, walked 1,000 miles over the course of a year to find refuge in Ethiopia for a couple months and then in Kakuma, Kenya for over a decade.
In 1987 the government announced they would kill all men in southern Sudan, regardless of age. There's more than 27,000 "Lost Boys" who likely survived the attacks on their villages because they were away tending herds or escaped into the jungles.
The movie starts with you meeting several young men in the Refugee camp in Kakuma, you get to see what their life is like: limited food, no electricity, friendship and family are highly valued. About 3800 of the refugees are preparing for a new life in America. They've been accepted as a part of a refugee resettlement program. Before they leave, they are all gathered together talking and joking. One of them says he will go to America and his belly will get big! Despite their excitement for a new chance at life, they are sad to leave their "family." About 90 boys are on the plane that this camera crew follows and they did a great job of documenting so many firsts! First time on a plane (obviously), they have to show them how to lock the bathroom door, their first meal on the plane, you see one young man eat a piece of butter & he says it "does not taste good, it tastes like soap!" Once they get off the plane in New York, you see them learn and stumble as they get onto escalators and experience the motion censored water and paper towel dispensers in the bathroom. Then we see them in their apartments, a man teaches them how to use a trash can..."Don't throw it out the window", how to use the toilet & shower, refrigerators and probably what we most take for granted, ELECTRICITY! Back at the Refugee camp, they had asked the camera crew about water, "do we have to go get water from a well?" and "electricity seems to difficult for me, I do not think I will use it"
A couple months after their arrival, their work visas are approved for them to begin working. A volunteer drives 2 of the young men to work, at a factory. They are dropped off at 5am but the factory doors don't open until 7am! You also begin to recognize some of our American insecurities. We are such an independent people group. In Africa, they do so much together and the boys have to be talked to about not entering stores and other places in large numbers, it's making the people nervous.
This was a great movie/documentary. I laughed, I cried, I tried to look at our American ways (they are so easy) through the eyes of someone who has had nothing. We have such an abundance!! I also appreciated that the movie also showed how selfless this people group is. These young men worked 2 or 3 jobs in order to send money not only to their families but to their friends in the refugee camp! Perhaps we should learn more from them and how they care for their own people.