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Sorry folks. I have been out of the blogoshere for a bit and now coming back with a focus on some more serious and important issues than pillows. My blog today will introduce you to my friends Gabriel Bol, Koor and Garang and the documentary that chronicles their journey back to Sudan after 20 years. As small children, Gabriel Bol Deng, Koor Garang and Garang Mayuol fled their villages in South Sudan due to civil war. They became a part of a group of thousands of other boys with a similar story, nicknamed “The Lost Boys” upon resettlement in the USA in 2001.

In May 2007, Gabriel Bol, Koor, and Garang, now in their twenties, embarked on a journey back to Sudan to discover whether their homes and families had survived, what the current situation is in South Sudan, and how they can help their community rebuild after devastating civil war.  The film has won numerous awards and been selected for international film festivals.

The next local screening will be in the Cape Cod Museum Screening room in Dennis. MA on August 18, 2010 . Gabe, Koor and Garang will all be in attendance. So contact me now for tickets!

Filmmaker, Jen Marlowe ( Darfur Diaries), traveled back to Sudan with the men to chronicle their story.

Many of you may have heard of Gabrel by now. Gabriel Bol Deng lives in Syracuse, NY. He graduated from Le Moyne College with a Bachelors in math education and philosophy in May 2007 and finished the course work for his master in education in December 2008. He received the 2006 Distinguished Student Teacher of the Year and the 2007 Le Moyne College Social Justice Awards. With only a box of t-shirts to sell, Gabe founded the NGO Hope for Ariang in order to help his village build, maintain and support a primary school. That box of t-shirts began what is now an eight room school building in his home village of Ariang. Gabe is a huge inspiration to students all over the world as he spends his time touring and telling his story of hope and perseverance. He spent three months in Ariang this winter overseeing the construction project of the new school. Gabe continues to work on development for sustainability of the school including teacher training, food supply and adult education,skill development.  For the first time, the people in Ariang have hope for their future.Koor Garang
lives in Tucson, AZ. He finished his course work to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and is continuing with his Associates Degree and hopes to become an RN. Koor raised thousands of dollars to bring medical supplies and treated mosquito nets on his initial homecoming trip; then returned to South Sudan to provide training to nurses working in a newly built clinic in Akon. He began the NGO Ubuntu to provide health education and services to people in South Sudan. Koor just returned from 45 days in Africa and an arduous trip to South Sudan to deliver medical supplies to the clinic in his village of Akon.  Alone,  he went through interrogation in many  countries to convince people of the importance of getting hundreds of kilos of medication to this remote village.

He then made a trip to Ariang to take photos of the school being built  there through Gabe’s organization, Hope For Ariang. Unbelievable effort Koor! Welcome back!

The building behind these children is the first school building they have ever seen. They have been attending school under a tree all their lives. Thanks to Gabriel,  the people of Ariang and surrounding villages see hope for the future.

Garang Mayuol
lives in Wheaton, IL. He received his Associates Degree in May 2007 and is continuing his studies in order to receive a degree in business management. On his first trip home to South Sudan, Garang realized that a clean water system in his village is a critical step towards preventing cholera and other water-bourne diseases. He launched the Lang Water Project and returned to his village in February 2009 to begin drilling wells. The wells have enabled young girls to begin to attend school for the first time as they no longer have to spend their day on 3 hour walks to get water from the dirty river. There have been no cases of cholera in the village since the wells were drilled, a disease that has wiped out many people there every year.
Garang is currently in Uganda where he is taking care of his the health and well-being of his family. He will return to Chicago in August and make a trip to Cape Cod for the film screening on August 18.

There is not a day that goes by when I am not amazed by these three men. They have found peace and stability in the US and could be satisfied to just live their lives and take care of themselves. But they do not sleep at night because they dream of a better life for their people in Sudan. They work night and day to make a difference back home while maintaining a life in the US as well. If you think of something to complain about today, please think  of Gabe, Koor and Garang….the incredible hardships they endured and the difficulties they continue to face to make a difference for others.

They are the inspiration that moves me to make a difference while I am on this earth.

THANK YOU  GABE , KOOR and GARANG. Never give up hope!!!!