Friday, March 21, 2008

Awe. Then Panic. Later Action.

What? Am I insane?

Did I really let my TO DO list get to me so much that I considered not going to that amazing event last night? So I could do laundry? Really?

I was completely fortunate to have a wonderful invitation from a lovely new friend to go to the event One Book One Philadelphia at the Free Library last night.

It was amazing. Awe-inspiring. I was in the first row, just feet from Dave Eggers, Valentino Achak Deng, and Mary Williams - Three people who have known each other for years, but seem to have come together quite by chance.

Where does the story start? It starts in the south of the Sudan in the 80's when the Islamic fundamentalist government first started to send militia into the south to destroy homes, take girls into slavery, kill villagers, and orphan thousands of young boys.

Valentino Achak Deng's story begins in a such a village. He is one of the Lost Boys. The boys who were orphaned or separated from their families, who walked from Southern Sudan to Ethiopia and eventually to Kenya to find refuge. In 2001, after spending his entire adolescence in refugee camps, he was brought to the United States.

Mary Williams had worked for International aide and refugee organizations in Africa, and had heard the stories of the Lost Boys. She started by connecting some of them to volunteers and jobs in the Atlanta area, and eventually started the Lost Boys Foundation.

Dave Eggers wrote their story, What is the What.

In those three people, to make a long story short, you have all that I want to do with my life: 1) Work in international aide, with refugees, women, and other struggling populations. 2) Use whatever platform I have in my life to help those people trapped in situations that are killing them. 3) Write good stuff that helps good people and educates and elevates.

I was so overwhelmed I could barely function. Halfway through I thought I would faint. Seriously. It was amazing.

No comments: