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Elissia Paniagua
ABS 426
June 30, 2016
God Grew Tired of Us

1. A benefit of this documentary lies in the opportunity to view our own (American) culture
through the eyes of the Dinka. What aspects of our culture, which we may or may not
take for granted, could potentially make immigrants feel marginalized or not a part of the
American culture?

Christmas for example, John questioned how Santa Clause and the tree connected to the birth of
Jesus, asking if it was part of the bible. I can easily relate to this, as I still have family who live in
Mexico. I have in the past spent the Christmas holiday with family in Mexico. They do not
practice the use of Christmas trees nor do they ever speak of Santa Clause. In Mexico, Christmas
day is spend in church and at family members homes praying the rosary and giving thanks for
the birth of Jesus. Gifts are not given until the day of the three kings, even then it is said that the
gifts represent the gifts the kings gave to baby Jesus. I know Mexico is much closer than
traveling from Africa, although the culture is so very different from the American culture in the
United States. As for the Christmas tradition in the Kakua, Kenya refugee camp they celebrated
on a more spiritual level than the American culture.

The simple things such as eating with their hands, according to John it will surprise many people
to see them eating with their hands, although to him it is traditional which makes them look more
Dinka, which they are still proud of. John also states, A person without a culture is like human
being without land. I found this to be very interesting, John will continue with his traditions as
he states it is good for his culture.
In Pittsburg Daniel works in a bank. He discusses that life in America is tough all work and no
time for family and people are not friendly. He does not quite understand if everyone is
American then why arent they friendly to each other and visit each other at each others homes.
He states if he were to just walk in to someones home in America they will call the police on
him. In Sudan they would be asked if they were lost and offer help and have a conversation with
them. The culture is very different from back home where everyone in the village is seen as
family.

2. What scene(s) stood out to you? Why?


In the year 1987 the government ordered to kill all male children in the South regardless of the
age. Children of all ages were shot on sight. It was said at the age of 16 they can even take a
needle they come and make your tests (testicles), make a hole in their tests. They want to make
you sterile when you grow up. I cannot imagine a young child having to fear for their live.

Another scene that stood out to me was when the boys were given the news that they would be
traveling to America. The questions and concerns they had, they wondered if they had to travel to
a river to bath or questioned what an apartment was and shocked from the use of electricity.

Before the boys began their travels to America they all gathered amongst each other. One boy
describes his fear, being that he has heard some Americans to be lazy and not like to work. He
fears that they will be asked to work in a farm. They discussed if they had the same opportunity
to come to America they would work very hard. Although the boys are very happy to be coming
to America they too were sadden of leaving their family the Lost Boys.

3. Was there anything that surprised you as you watched the film?

When the village was attacked at night, it is said that all the small male children were placed in a
house, locked in and burned the house with the children inside left to burn to death. All the men
found were killed. Escapees were told they could not go back to their village or they too would
be killed. After the attack nearly 2,700 villagers fled many were orphan boys from the ages from
5-10 years old. When the boys fled, they left everything behind, they had no water or food,
nearly starving during there long travels through Africa. They were left to eat mud and drink
urine.
When the boys reached the boarder of Ethiopia they arrived in skeleton like appearance as they
were starving to near death. In Ethiopia a camp was formed for the boys until the government
collapsed three years later in 1991. They boys were left to flee once again, this time arriving in
Kenya with a reduced number of 12,000.
In Kenya the boys were placed in Kakua, Kenya refugee camp.
In the camp there were times when the boys did not have food for days at a time, although
instead of being sad they gather around each other to entertain each other, not allowing their
struggles to affect them. In the camp the United Nations provided them an education.

The boys expressions when they are in the air plane, they are almost like mesmerized by the
simple things for us, like the light above their seats and the seat controls/phones. They question
the voice on the intercom wondering where it is coming from. The packaged food was also very
strange to them.
Once arriving in their apartments the boys are once again puzzled by the use of electricity like a
lamp switch, light switch, water faucet, shower, toilet, and radio alarm clock.

The scene when they arrived at Brussels and had got on the escalator reminded me of the time I
was in a mall in Mexico and a lady was nearly crying saying she was afraid to get on. At the time
I was only 11 years old and told her it was going to be ok and helped her on. She was an older
lady although she was afraid.
At the grocery store the boys were shocked with all the food and of course junk food like donuts.
The way the random man at the store looked at them also caught my attention. He looked to be a
bit puzzled by the boys presence.
Daniel at the age of 13 was in charge of a group of boys, that was when he learned to bury boys
as that was part of his job. He would have to bury is fellow brothers. I cannot imagine taking in
that hardship and baring the pain let alone at the young age of 13 years old. It must have been
very difficult as a young child to endure so much pain.
In Pittsburg, the boys were asked to not travel in groups as it causes issues and fears the local
residence, I find this to be very annoying and discriminating. These young men are here to work
and do better for themselves.
I nearly came to tries when John discovered his family was alive, a family he thought he has lost
many years back. Although they shared sad news on their current situation he was very happy to
know they were alive and able to reach out to him.
The reunion with his mother was very emotional I cannot imagine being away from my son
for so many years not knowing if he were alive or killed.

4. How were the boys lives better when they got to America? How were they worse?

The American government provided them with a housing allowance for 3 months until their
work permits and social security numbers are processed in order for them to find jobs to support
themselves. Assisted by church organizations and refugee services, John is provided with work at
a factory. In having a job John states he is able to generate money so he can help his people. This
is an opportunity that John never had in his homeland. John is very hard working, also works at

McDonalds. He later attends a local community college. John is able to bring awareness of his
countrys struggles as secretary of the Lost Boys. He has also worked in raising money for boys
and girls to be able to go to school. John explains that the boys on the United States can all do
something much better than just working a factory job. They have the opportunity to attend
school to be better for themselves, an opportunity they did not have back home. They have an
opportunity to restart their lives in America.
Panther works at a hotel where he seems to be happy, he expresses how little by little he is
learning about the American culture.
Daniel joined the Peace Cor to help pay for school and place him with a job.
Although the Lost Boys, were given the opportunity they were given to come to America they
were faced with a great deal of loneliness as they were away from their fellow brothers and
culture.
The discovery of his family being alive he decided to not attend school but work more so he can
provide for his family this is an opportunity he did not have back home. He also has hopes in
bring his family to America.
I believe the boys were being too hard on their selves, sending nearly all their savings to their
family and fellow brothers in camp. They are taking in too much responsibility. All of the boys
are, they spoke about the multiple messages they receive from back home many asking for
money. I feel as though they feel obligated to help because they have the opportunity to do so,
almost like a duty to give back to their people.

Not all of the Lost Boys took advantage of the opportunity, as John states as a Sudan man his is
obligated to help his people. This also pertains to the Lost Boys in America who are not
conducting themselves and heading away from their culture. He is referring to the boys who
arrived at the reunion dressed in an inappropriate manner such as baggy clothes.

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