God Grew Tired of Us – Day Forty – #40movies40days

GGTU1When I selected this movie on NetFlix Instant Watch I thought it was a drama.  It’s a documentary as riveting as any drama.  I decided to keep watching and I’m glad I did.  It’s an amazing and uplifting way to end this Lenten project.

God Grew Tired Of Us chronicles the arduous journey of three young Southern Sudanese men, John Bul Dau, Daniel Pach and Panther Bior, to the United States where they strive for a brighter future. As young boys in the 1980s, they had walked a thousand miles to escape their war-ridden homeland, and then had to make another arduous journey to escape Ethiopia.
During the five years they walked in search of safety, thousands died from starvation, dehydration, bomb raids and genocidal murder. Finally, they found relative safety in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. In 2001, 3,600 lost boys, including John, Daniel and Panther, were invited by the United States to live in America. Assisted by Catholic Charities International, the three boys uproot their lives and once again embark on a journey, leaving behind thousands of other refugees who, in the course of their traumatic odyssey, have become their adopted extended family. They must now learn to adapt to the shock of being thrust into the economically intense culture of the United States, learning new customs, adapting to new and strange foods, coping with the ordeal of getting, and keeping a job, or multiple jobs, while never forgetting the loved ones they left behind in Africa. They dedicate themselves to doing whatever they can to help those they left behind in Kakuma, and to discovering the fate of their parents and family.
God Grew Tired Of Us was produced, written and directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn, executive produced by Brad Pitt and narrated by Nicole Kidman. The title of the documentary is a quote from John Dau discussing the despair he and other Sudanese felt during the civil war.[1]
God Grew Tired Of Us chronicles the horrific journey of three young men, John Bul Dau, Daniel Pach and Panther Bior, across Sudan and finally to the United States.
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These three were among the 27,000 young boys who set out for the Sudanese border to escape the civil war that destroyed or separated their families making them all orphans. All the boys who made the trek were between the ages of 7 and 17 (some were even younger).  They traveled over 1,000 miles by foot across bleak war-torn terrain.  It was a line of children that stretched across the horizon.
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The older boys took care of the younger ones, they foraged for food, fought off hyenas, searched for water, avoided soldiers, ducked air strikes and buried their dead.  Only half survived the journey.  These boys spent three years in a refugee camp before being forced to escape again.  Finally, they found relative safety in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp.
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3,600 lost boys, including the subjects of the film– John, Daniel and Panther, were invited to live in America by the State Department (and sponsored by a variety of American charities). They were uprooted and once again embarked on another arduous  journey.  They left behind thousands of other young refugees who were the only family any of the boys had left. Incredibly close bonds were formed during the course of their privation and suffering.
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But even in the midst of unimaginable circumstances the boys still found joy.  They organized a “parliament” to sing, dance and play games when the food, water of fuel ran out in the refugee camp (as it often did).  They told each other stories and devised other distractions to take their minds off their hunger and want. Finally, a few were offered asylum in America.
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god-grew-tired-of-usThe three boys featured learned to adapt to the shock of modern life and the high-octane pace of life and culture of the United States. They dedicated themselves to doing whatever they could to help those they left behind in Kakuma, and to discovering the fate of their parents and family.
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God Grew Tired Of Us was produced, written and directed by Christopher Dillon Quinn, executive produced by Brad Pitt and narrated by Nicole Kidman. The title of the documentary comes from a quote from John Dau relating the despair and abandonment he and other Sudanese children felt during the civil war.
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Yet, the boys never completely lost their faith.  They believed they were of value and worth and were put on this earth to do something with their lives. They are proud of their own culture and customs and are dedicated to easing the terrible plight of those left behind.   Each succeeded in large and small ways.  It was a slow step-by-step process.
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The film is a testament to the invincibility of the human spirit and the generosity of heart that helps us transcend even the worst horrors imaginable.  It has filled me with hope and gratitude. There is the opportunity for grace in even the most evil of circumstances. A sense of community can lift everyone up,
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The film speaks eloquently to the importance of family (biological and chosen) and the need to slow down and appreciate all the minor miracles in every day life. The boys puzzle at the isolation and rush of American life– and so do I.  I need to slow down and adjust my own life balance.

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