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Fontbonne University

Mary Alice- Hopes To Bring An End to the Violence

by Fontbonne University on November 20, 2008

in Campus Community

This year I have attended many of the Dedicated Semester events.  My favorite Dedicated Semester fontbonnemaryaliceevent was listening to Benjamin Ajak speak.  Over the summer, the freshmen were asked to read the book They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky.  This book is about three of the Lost Boys from Sudan.  The book talks about their journey of traveling from the fighting and war going on in Sudan.  I had read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it and when I heard that one of the co-authors was coming to speak I was very excited.  When I listened to him speak about the troubles he faced and the hard times he went through, it really made me think about my life and how fortunate I am.  When listening to Benjamin Ajak speak about his journey through Sudan and then over to America it truly made me realize that life is real.  You can hear things on the news and see things on the internet but they do not hit home because it is not affecting you.  You see on TV that Darfur is not a safe place to be right now, but it does not even faze us because we are in America, the land of the free.  We do not have to worry about what we are going to eat for dinner or where we are going to sleep.

I read the book, They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky, and yes it was very sad and touching but at the same time again I was not realizing it was happening today.  It was heartbreaking to hear about all of the little boys fighting for their lives at the age of five.  Even though when I was reading the book it seemed so real it still did not hit me.  Seeing Benjamin up talking in front of us really made it sink in that it was real, he survived it, and he has to live with those memories every day.  I still know that I do not understand the situation these “lost boys” were in and how much they went through.  I complain about having a bad day when I get a flat tire, but I have a cell phone to call someone with, insurance who will come and fix it, and if all else fails my mom could come pick me up.  They are wandering the desert without parents fighting for their lives, it is just unimaginable.  Listening to Benjamin can at least give me a better idea of what he went through and having him standing there in front of me really shows he did go through all of this and there is living proof of what is going on in Sudan.

I have heard a little about what has been going on in Sudan and Darfur from movies or the news.  When Benjamin said that the reason no one hears about it is because they will not let you take any news outside the country.  This to me was outrageous.  There are over 2 million people who are dead and no one knows about it.

I did like to hear his stories about coming to America and all of the new things he saw.  We do not even realize how much we take for granted here.  I cannot even imagine not having lights, they had never had one before, when the sun went down, it was time for bed.  I had to laugh at the movie they showed when all the boys got on moving sidewalk in the airport; the looks on their faces were priceless.

To hear Benjamin talk about education and how important education is it made me think about why I am at Fontbonne.  Am I here because my parents are making me go to college and I just like Fontbonne better than any of the other ones?  Am I here because it is the norm in our society to go to college?  Am I here because I want to get a good education and be able to hold a good, steady job when I am out of college?  It really made me think about that.  I think all of these questions I answered yes to.  Listening to him talk about education, that was his only ticket to America.  We just go to school because it is required.  Many people who are in school would rather be doing something else.  Education is just another thing Americans take advantage of.

Seeing Benjamin speak really makes me thank God for what he has done to make sure that people like Benjamin, who want to end this war, make it to America so that he can speak about it and bring awareness to the situation.  It is a horrible thing that has happened in Africa, but with the help of others like ourselves we can work to bring an end to the violence.

Check out the last dedicated semester activities for your chance to be involved!

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.