Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today is Rememberance Day here in Canada. Even though we live in the nation's capital, we didn't make it down to the hill for any of the ceremonies. Simon and Andrew both seem to be coming down with something and taking them out into crowds seemed like a terrible idea didn't seem like the best idea. However I didn't want to let the day go by unmentioned.

My grandfather fought in both WW1 and WWII (Yes, I said "grandfather and, yes, there is a story there.) My uncles fought in the Vietnam War (I think? Yeah, that was the one.). My dad tried to enlist, but was turned away for medical reasons. Many of his friends didn't come home. Peter's older brother was a US Marine for four and a half years, and his younger brother is currently deployed with the US Navy (we miss you David!).

We also have friends back in Calgary who are refugees from Sudan. These friends of ours, now grown men, were once part of the Lost Boys of Sudan. As young boys (between the ages of 4-10), they fled from their homes in central South Sudan when their villages were systematically attacked by the northern militias. These young boys survived the attacks because they were away from the villages tending to the cattle and were thus able to escape. Slowly they found each other and started the months long trek through the wilderness and deserts of Sudan until they reached Ethiopian refugee camps. After war broke out in Ethiopia, they were chased back into Sudan and began walking, again, hundreds of miles to another refugee camp in Kenya. All told, they walked some 1,000 miles (MILES!) before reaching their final destination. Over 27,000 boys arrived in Ethiopia, yet by the time they reached Kenya their numbers had been reduced to 10,000. Many died along the way due to thirst, starvation, attacks by wild animals, insects, disease, or having been forced into service as child soldiers in one of the most bloody wars of the 20th century. According to Wikipedia, experts say they are the most badly war-traumatized children ever examined.

The story of the Lost Boys has touched me on many levels. We know some of these Lost Boys personally. I've heard their stories, seen the bond they share from growing up together in the camps, and witness their passion to find their families and help rebuild their country. I've also seen the very real scars they bear with my own eyes.

After being introduced to some of the Lost Boys in Calgary during the summer of 2007, I began to research and read first-hand accounts including What is the What, They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan, and God Grew Tired of Us. I remember reading They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky late one night in Regina, not able to put it down. It's an amazingly moving book, but reading it is a lot like watching a train wreck. It's horrible, but you can't look away.

As I read the stories of what these young, young boys went through, I thought of my own sleeping almost-five-year-old and felt my heart break into hundreds of pieces as I imagine him, my baby, enduring what those boys lived through. Yet they were all someone's baby, too. It also hit me that these Lost Boys, now in their late twenties and early thirties, were the same age as me.

While I was living a happy, healthy, protected and privileged childhood in this great country of Canada, this war was happening. This war that killed and displaced countless MILLIONS. This war that saw tens of thousands of young boys separated from their families, orphaned, killed, or forced to kill as child soldiers.

We are so lucky.

So today I think of my grandfather, my uncles, my brother-in-laws and all of the other brave men and women who fought and served -and who fight and serve- to make our country as great as it is today. And I think of the billions of people who were not so lucky as to be born on this continent, in this country.

We. Are. So. Lucky.

(This is a video I put together after Peter's trip to South Sudan in November 2007. He went with a group of men from Okotoks and Calgary to install water filtration systems in one of the areas that was hardest hit in the civil war that lasted from 1983-2005.)


  1. Wow! Powerful video! I'll email you some things that are being done to aid the situation. Yes, we are incredibly blessed!! Undeservedly so! That also means that much is required of us. Praying for those that are defending our country and those that can't defend themselves. Love, Mom/Mora/Nana

  2. Thank you Amy for your post! What an incredible reminder or what we have and how thankful we need to be. I always wonder why God gave me the parent's and life that I have. I didn't pick them and yet I am so blessed. Thank you for honoring our military, it means the world to us! Love you, Kristi

  3. What a powerful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. That video makes me want to cry. I can't imagine... I really can't.

    I remember when in Calgary, hearing a young man's testimony in church about travelling during a war, just like the men you described. He is going to school to learn what he needs to go back and help his people. It was a powerful testimony...


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