Monday, September 18, 2006

They Poured Fire On Us...

Yesterday I finished the book They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The true story of three Lost Boys from Sudan. After finishing the book, I arrived home to some mail from CARE, requesting a donation to help the starving people of Africa. Having just read about the terrible conditions some people face there, and having read The End of Poverty a few weeks earlier, I could not in good conscience turn down the request.

Looking at Jacob 2:19, the inspiration for this blog, I think most people would agree that there are "sick and...afflicted" people in the world. However, I bet many Americans doubt whether there are truly "naked," "hungry," and "captive" people in the world today. After reading the book, there's no doubt in my mind that such people exist, if no place else, in Africa.

One of the "Lost Boys" in the book recounted that, as a young boy of perhaps four or five years old, his father bought him his first article of clothing -- a pair of red underwear. As this boy was wandering across Sudan, braving the elements, the animals, the guns, etc., he had only his lice-infested underwear -- no shoes, no shirt, etc. Certainly he was extremely naked the first several years of his life, and he was at least moderately naked (but I would argue he was still extremely naked) when he only had his underwear.

The Lost Boys were also extremely hungry, often scrounging for leaves or whatever they could find, and in extreme cases they drank their own urine. Even though many Africans are quite poor, the Lost Boys felt like many of their countrymen looked at them in shock at how thin they were.

The Lost Boys were also held captive by their own people, who forced them to build roads and would punish them for trying to escape. They were poorly fed and were not clothed, and the boys who escaped to a refuge camp in Kenya did so by stealth and/or deceit.

I enjoyed reading the book and feel an even greater sense of urgency in helping to eradicate extreme poverty in the world.

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