South Sudan is a fairly new independent country, and it made me think I will never be able to find a book to read for this challenge. I was surprised to find one very quickly, in fact my library has one. I try to look for fiction, but sometimes I have to settle for nonfiction. God Grew Tired of Us by John Bul Dau is a true story of one of the lost boys from Sudan.
The first thing I think of when I think of the country of Sudan is the terrible recent history, and out of these terrible times South Sudan emerged. Sudan today, northern Sudan back then, has a Muslim majority and the south has a Christian and traditional beliefs majority, which is one of the main topics behind the split. John was a young southern boy when he had to flee from his village to survive.
He fled many times for his life with different people or groups from Sudan to Ethiopia to Kenya. He went far and wide until he finally ended up at a camp in Kenya. John started first grade at school at the age of 18. He was an eager student and he realized early on that this was the path to freedom and success. He was one of the lucky ones who ended up as a refugee in the US. He worked hard, and even started several NGOs to better the lives of Sudanese people.
It is an interesting read, and I felt like I learned a lot about lives of people fleeing for their lives in Sudan. I have read about the conflict, but this was the first book about the subject from the point of view of someone who lived through the terror. It is a thought-provoking story, and you can feel the pain, worry and fear the lost boys must have gone through. “Surveys of the boys in Kenyan camps found that 74 percent had survived shellings or air raids, 85 percent had seen someone starve to death, 92 percent been shot at, and 97 percent had seen someone die in violence.”
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Africa, conflicts, recent history, or to someone who would like to understand what happened to the lost boys. It is a quick and easy read. There are some terrible things explained, but it is not too descriptive. I absolutely love it that even after everything the boys have gone through there is hope in this world, and there are many ways to get a better life and help others getting better lives as well. I especially enjoyed reading about the experiences in Africa, but also the new beginnings in the US, because everything was new and weird. I can’t imagine being surprised by seeing an elevator or a woman driving a car.