I’ve just seen another one of those “must-see” movies—about the Lost Boys of Sudan entitled God Grew Tired of Us. I’ve been reading in the Fargo Forum since 2001 about the teenaged immigrants who were resettled in the U.S. from Sudan (with an annual average temperature of 100 degrees). Some were sent to Fargo, North Dakota, in January—yes, January, in below zero weather and were expected to assimilate into the climate and the culture at a polar opposite of their own.
Although the movie doesn’t follow the Fargo group, it does tell the story of other Sudanese boys who went through many of the same struggles in other parts of the country.
The movie helps understand what led to the cause of the thousands of Lost Boys to begin with—the civil war in Sudan, the order to kill all boys in Southern Sudan ages 5-18 because they were potential soldiers, their subsequent pilgrimage/flight to Ethiopia and then to Kenya, the refugee camp, the U.N. resettlement program. Very interesting, very sobering—but underneath it, a resilience and humor that is pretty amazing.
These boys formed families when their own families were killed or separated from them. And although we Americans egocentrically believe that America is the answer to every immigrant’s dream, it’s a tough place to come with its unfamiliar processed food that causes stomach aches, unfamiliar technology that sometimes frightens, and less-than-welcoming citizenry (picture a group of black Sudanese faces on the streets of an all-white Fargo neighborhood).
It’s a documentary, but it’s told like a story. I will never again read another article in the Fargo Forum about the Sudanese immigrants without thinking of this movie, God Grew Tired of Us.
Sometimes I’m embarrassed for myself and other Americans about how little we know of what’s going on in the rest of the world.