Earlier this week, I watched a newly added instant documentary on Netflix, “God Grew Tired of Us.” The film was recommended by an old friend of mine from high school who harped on its inspiration and eye-opening features. When we watched it, we were astounded by just how real this documentary was to us. Most importantly, how much we take for granted as Americans every single day.
The Lost Boys of Sudan, as they’re known now, were a group of boys who traveled by foot through countries of Africa in the late 1980s. I am referring to them as boys, being 11 to 15 years old, but they refer to themselves as “men,” because where they are from, a boy is a “man” at such a young age. They fled from the war in Sudan, which continued until 2005 (according to Wikipedia), and ended up in a small village in Kenya, most without their parents or siblings. The boys lived their lives in this village, without any strong structural buildings, stores, running water, or electricity. But they were happy to be there because to them, it was certainly better than Sudan.
Thanks to the help of the U.S. government in the early 2000’s, a few hundred of the Lost Boys were able to come to America to live. When the boys (now most are men, by our standards) do so much as step foot on the airplane, they are amazed by the overhead light fixtures. They are staring at the televisions installed in the headrests of the seats. The flight attendants have to explain to them how to use the bathrooms and even how to lock the door. It is incredible to see the looks on their faces during this time. They are amazed.
When they arrive at their respected locations (Pittsburgh and Syracuse, namely), the apartments that are provided to them aren’t “nice” by our standards, but they become so happy to be sleeping on a mattress (as opposed to the ground), to take a shower, and to cook food. Their reactions to light switches, a bag of chips, or even a Christmas tree can be amusing to us, but it is also unbelievable to think, as someone who was raised with all of that from the beginning, that there are so many people in this world who aren’t given as much luxury.
The boys eventually get jobs once they are issued social security numbers and obtain their legal right to work. They have jobs at places like warehouses and McDonald’s, but they are so incredibly happy to work. They work hard every single day, some even working as much as three jobs at a time. They make comments about their apparent lazy co-workers. They want to work so hard and they do not complain about anything. They work to pay their bills and one man, John, wires money every chance he gets to his family in Africa that he has not seen in 15 years. That was amazing to me. I think about all the money I was making at my job before I was laid off a few weeks ago, and how selfish I was with it. Thinking about taking vacations, saving for a pair of Louboutin’s for my wedding, or having a nicer apartment. Why does any of that matter at all to me? It shouldn’t. I really, truly feel as if I am being selfish with my money (when and if I have a job, that is) when there are so many people struggling in this world.
I could write so much more about this documentary, but I feel as if that would become a boring piece quickly. I would love to hear reactions and comments to those who have also seen this film! And I really want to help these boys in any way that I can. They deserve it so much more than I ever will.