Posts Tagged 'Kenya'

This Place Called Earth

The Boston Globe outdoes itself again with this photo montage of our fair planet, Earth. These pictures are like the documentary Planet Earth, except in pictures. After seeing them, it made me want to travel the world. I also learned that I haven’t travelled nearly enough. Check out the pictures here

All the pictures were taken by the world renowned french photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. He specializes in aeriel photography using subjects that span the entire globe. Can we say: coolest job ever?

Changing the World and Taking Names – John Dau

John Dau has an amazing story to tell. Most of you out there have no idea who he is, what he has gone through or the things he has done.

John Dau: Changing the World and Taking Names

Born in Sudan and at the young age of 12, he was separated from his family and forced to flee from the the Muslin-controlled government involved in the Second Sudanese Civil War who were fighting against the non-Muslims of the south. Dau was forced to travel on foot thousands of miles along with 27,000 others (most of them children). Dau himself led thousands of these “Lost Boys” across the arid African desert to relative safety in Ethiopia. More than half of these 27,000 “Lost Boys” would perish on the journey.

There were times where John and these Lost Boys would have to drink mud water for sustenance. They were constantly chased through the dangerous wilderness, often having to navigate through lands entrenched with lions or hyenas. Once, when being chased by gun-welding government forces, the Lost Boys had to swim through alligator-infested waters. John remembers about 3,000 people, many of them children, dying during that one event.

John lived in Ethiopia for four years until violence broke out once again in the region. Faced with disease, starvation, violence and seemingly insurmountable odds, he fled once again to Kenya where he eventually had the opportunity to attend school. In 2001, he would be among the 3,800 refugees that resettled in the United States.

Once in America, he worked 60 hours a week as a security guard to receive a post-secondary education at Onondaga Community College. John is currently pursuing a political science degree from Syracuse University. He has founded three non-profit organizations: the Sudanese Lost Boys Foundation of Central New York, Duk Lost Boys Clinic and the John Dau Sudan Foundation. Through the John Dau Sudan Foundation, he has been working towards bringing medical clinics that do not exist for most of the populations of Duk, Twic East and Bor South Counties in the State of Jonglei in Southern Sudan.

You may not have heard of him before, but people like John change the world. The things he has endured we here in North America may never experience, but that does not give us license to idly sit by.

The civil war in Sudan is a forgotten war, even though two million people lost their lives and many more are still affected by it. Now there is yet another war, in Darfur, and the typical American isn’t even aware of it. The U.S. being a big melting pot, Americans can walk the streets without noticing all the different nationalities. That is a good thing. On the other hand, it means Americans stop asking questions about their neighbors and stop learning about their problems – John Dau

Read this interview with John here. Just take a moment to at least learn about someone who is larger than life and who has led a life that most others do not lead. People like John should be on the front page of the news or on magazines, but instead we have Britney Spears and her inability to take care of her children, Lindsay Lohan’s first foray into lesbian relationships or Matthew Mcconaughey’s new baby. Wake up people, everyone has parental problems, babies are born every second and lesbians aren’t shocking.

People like John doesn’t want to be a celebrity and nor does he request it. His focus is to show the importance of surviving against all odds and fighting for the human rights for all people (especially among the Sudanese people). He is the real hero, the real celebrity deserving of our attention. That will never happen, but in the meantime, we have the ability and the freedom to learn about the world around us and the real things that actually matter.

Changing the world can be done by everyone, the first step is to learn about the world around you. Changing the world doesn’t require a certain age, sex, education, circumstance, environment or race. Changing the world starts with you choosing to change the world.

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