I am actually volunteering on Sunday though. We are making alphabet posters for a small school in Uganda. It is a very touching story-more on that after the event.
I am just about finished reading the book, "What is the What." It's been a very emotionally trying book. I enjoy the story, but it's heart-wrenching.
Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other "Lost Boys," beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment.
Hearing his life story of growing up in the Sudan during the war makes me feel like my entire life has been one of luxury.
I have never known what it is like to go a full day without food, much less a week.
I have never been walking with other children and had one of them disappear in the jaws of a passing lion. Seriously--a lion. I can't even wrap my mind around that.
I have never watched from a tree as my community was destroyed, people killed, houses burned.
I have never been separated from my family and wondered if they were alive or dead, never knowing if I would ever know.
I have never walked 100 miles in the desert with a group of 3,000 others, passing them by as they die one by one until the group has gone down significantly before reaching my destination.
I have never had to live in a one-room hut with ten other children for five years.
I have never had to barter my shirt to get a cup of rice.
I have never had to choose between being shot at or crossing a river laden with crocodiles.
I have had a very privileged life.