Occasionally one encounters an individuals whose history is so different from one’s own, the telling of his life story renders our own to appear quite fortunate by comparison.
Into our lives walks Henry, native son of the Sudan and now South Sudan, that country having gained independence in 2011. There was of course, prior to this event a war, and following independence another war.
No one remains alive in the United States who lived through our own Civil War and hence the experience of the same on the native soil is not common knowledge. Additionally, the experience of the civilian population then does not include be bombed by aircraft, fleeing across the Nile River to a refugee camp in Uganda, and even then lacking clean water or any means of obtaining electricity.
We learn in this podcast Henry’s intelligence and drive as well as a bit of luck provides him with an education, and from that a position with Doctors Without Borders, falling in love with an American woman and ultimately, as a complete surprise to himself living in the Untied States.
We talk about periodic set backs as well, for example the bureaucratic foul up where the number he was issued by the UN Refugee authorities which was supposed to entitle him to a 50% tuition credit to further his education was somehow improperly recorded, requiring him to pay the entire fee for his instruction.
Something as simple as a bicycle there means he finds a way to fund his education by the transport and sale of bananas.
Henry has some specific insights on how different people are here than there, but I can say, without hesitation, he is the kind of man we need in America. And yet, he dreams of returning to the South Sudan to improve the lives of his countrymen.
South Sudan National Anthem
We praise and glorify you for your grace on South Sudan,
Land of great abundance.
Uphold us united in peace and harmony.
We rise, raising flag with the guiding star
And sing songs of freedom with joy
For justice, liberty and prosperity shall for ever more, reign. Oh great patriots,
Let us stand up in silence and respect
Saluting our martyrs
Whose blood cemented our national foundation.
We vow to protect our nation.
Oh God, bless South Sudan.