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From L to R: Peter, James, Unknown, Greg Crawford

“. . . It doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded.”

A lonely boy named James.

 

So take that look out of here, it doesn’t fit you.


Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded.


Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming.


Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.


 -“In a Big Country” *

*Complete lyrics at end of post

From L to R: Peter, James, Unknown, Greg Crawford
From L to R: Peter, James, Unknown, Greg Crawford

 

“I found him out here sleeping on the ground. He had no one.”

I glanced from the narrator to the young boy. He was maybe ten or eleven.

“His name is James.” Peter, the narrator, swung his arm around the camp.  “He’s the only Anuak in the entire refugee camp.”

I thought of how far it is from the home of the Anuak people along the Ethiopian border to this area of NW Uganda. How did the boy get here? Does he even know?

Peter, a Dinka Bor, said, “My family took him in.  I don’t know how he got here or what happened to his parents, but he’s with us now.”

We’d only met Peter thirty minutes ago but already I’d formed an opinion.

He is a man of peace.  A leader of the current refugees at the border camp.

I don’t think it’s too much to suspect he might really be an angel.  People who take in strangers in the midst of their own troubles certainly are angelic in my humble opinion.

I grinned at the irony.  Everyone warns us, “Stay away from those Dinka. They’re bad people.”  I’ve found that each tribe has angels. Sadly, the unraveling of our country has also shown each tribe has demons and agents of hate.

I’ve decided to identify and chronicle the angels around us. 

They don’t make the BBC News but have the better stories to share.

Last week, I visited in another Angel Home.  Pastor John is Murle (another South Sudan tribe).  As I visited his temporary home in Entebbe, he introduced his own four children, then his three nephews/nieces living with him. “We still don’t know where their parents are.”

Next he pointed out three more children,  “These were the children of my best friend.  When he and their mother were killed, we took them in.”

 

Murle John with refugees in Jonglei State
Murle John with refugees in Jonglei State

 

Angels.   Murle John is another angel.

Among the Murle, a tribe with a fearsome reputation among their neighbors.

After spending two weeks with American pastor Tim Lee, I was reminded of two Louisiana angels I’ve always loved,  R.L. and Margie “Cooter” Willis.  These residents of Ten Mile Community raised over four hundred foster children including Tim.

Yep, an angel can even be named Cooter.

It’s right up there with Clarence Oddbody  ACS (Angel Second Class).

Angels around us.

Ten Mile Creek. Does anyone know how it received its name?
Ten Mile Creek. Does anyone know how it received its name?

 

Peter and his family plus Anuak James have probably arrived at Rhino Camp, the refugee camp on the west side of the Nile, or maybe the larger Adjumani camp across the River.

When I visit the camps this week, I’m going to find them.

Don’t tell me I can’t do it. 

I’ve got their full names and am determined to follow their story.

I’m going to visit with the lonely Anuak boy who has been rescued by a Dinka Bor angel named Peter.

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Lyrics  “In a Big Country”:

I’ve never seen you look like this without a reason,

Another promise fallen through, another season passes by you.

I never took the smile away from anybody’s face

And that’s a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child.

CHORUS:


And in a big country, dreams stay with you,


Like a lover’s voice, fires the mountainside..

Stay alive..

(I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered

But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered)

I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,

But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..

CHORUS [x2]

So take that look out of here, it doesn’t fit you.


Because it’s happened doesn’t mean you’ve been discarded.

Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming.

Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.

I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered

But you can’t stay here with every single hope you had shattered.



I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,

But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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