Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Young People in Ikotos

Last week I was able to talk to my coordinators, Phil and Linda Byler, on the phone (the pictures from the last post are the ones they sent me of Ikotos, via email). Right now they are in California visiting their family to see the birth of their grandaughter. So, because they are in country for a bit, I was able to ask them some questions to prepare me for my year in Sudan.

One of the things I really wanted to know was more about the people who live there, in Ikotos. Phil told me that the young adults in their mid-twenties, who have spent almost their entire life in refugee or IDP camps, are apathetic towards life. They have no hope or desire. Because I am in my mid-twenties, this pulled me. Also, this is personal to me because my Grandmother was forced to leave her home in Guatemala during WWII and move to Germany. After the war she worked and lived on an IDP camp in Munich, where she met my grandfather, who was a former 73 pound 6' tall POW, come MP for the UNRRA and political refugee. My mom then was born on that IDP camp and when she was about 15 months old they moved to the U.S. My grandmother, who passed away recently, lived the rest of her life pessimistic and apathetic to the world. So, I now know one of my part-time missions will be to get to know the people my age there and learn their stories and somehow bring hope into their lives. I can't imagine what they have been through, nor can I try to pretend I understand, but their hopes and their drive for life should not be lost to this war.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Virtual tour of Southern Sudan

Alright, well I'm not going to lie, this virtual tour made by the World Food Programme is kind of boring, however there are some good scenes of Southern Sudan. So check it out if you want to get a feel for where I'll be living.
Click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjL0sL8tShU

War Dance...the children's story

Okay, I know that these blog entries are starting to look like a mini you tube site, but here is one last video. It shows the stories of some of the children from Gulu (N'n Uganda) who are preparing for a National dance competition. Its a very moving film. I suggest you watch it. These stories are not that far off from the children of Sudan that I will be teaching. One more update: my coordinator in Ikotos says that the people in their mid-20s, who have spent their entire lives in IDP or Refugee camps, are suffering from severe apathy. They have no hope and show a lot of bitterness towards the government. Please pray for those folks. I now see a venue well-suited for me to work in-- part-time from teaching.
Enjoy the video:

Video journal

This is a video journal from Bobby Bailey, one of the founders of the Invisible Children Organization which promotes ending the civil war in Northern Uganda. Bobby lived for 2 weeks in an Internally Displaced Persons camp as a DP would actually live. Watch his first journal:

Journal 2:

Journal 3:

Displace Me video

Hey everyone, for those who were and weren't at the Displace Me event, here is a you tube video made by a church in Ohio that I extremely enjoy for its artistic features as well as its docuementorial qualities.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


This Friday I am having a fundraising breakfast for the teachers at my school. Many props to Martins Grocery store for supplying free bagels for the event. At the breakfast teachers will eat doughnuts/bagels and watch my 5 minute powerpoint presentation and learn more about what I will be doing in Sudan. I'm excited for the teachers to hear about the situation in Sudan and how important education is all over the world. I'll add to the blog for updated information after the event.

For the most recent news to the north of where I'll be, here's an article from today's BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6632959.stm (Don't worry, I will be VERY far from here...imagine the eastern U.S. and Darfur is in Michigan and I'm in Florida...yeah that far).