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A Great Wonder: Lost Children of Sudan Resettling in America cover image

A Great Wonder: Lost Children of Sudan Resettling in America 2003

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Two Shoes Productions
Directed by Kim Shelton
VHS, color, 61 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Multicultural Studies, Urban Studies, Sociology, Human Rights

Date Entered: 07/13/2004

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

One of the major characteristics of Sudan is that military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments have dominated national politics since its independence from the UK in 1956. Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war for all but 10 years of this period (1972-82). The wars are rooted in northern economic, political, and social domination of non-Muslim, non-Arab southern Sudanese. Since 1983, the war and war- and famine-related effects have led to more than 2 million deaths and over 4 million people displaced. The ruling regime is a mixture of military elite and an Islamist party that came to power in a 1989 coup. Some northern opposition parties have made common cause with the southern rebels and entered the war as a part of an anti-government alliance. Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-03 with the signing of several accords, including a cease-fire agreement. But with more than 2 million Sudanese dead in the longest uninterrupted civil war in the world, now in its 20th year, another 5 million civilians have fled their homes to escape the fighting.

A Great Wonder is an autobiographical journey of “three young Sudanese orphans who have spent the majority of their lives either in flight from the Sudanese war or in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Northern Kenya. Having navigated the hazards of warfare, disease and starvation, their quest and resettlement in Seattle, WA, is not your average immigration story. A Great Wonder explores the motivations that drive these young people to rebuild their lives.”

Over the course of 18 months, these “lost boys of the Sudan” have recorded their own experiences through their own eyes and in their own words using digital video cameras. We meet Abraham, Martha, her sister Tabitha, Santino, all refugees whose resulting "diaries" serve as a personal thread throughout the film. First-hand accounts of their experiences in war hit home for the viewer in contrast with their radically different lives as immigrants in Seattle, Washington. A story of survival in its most elemental form, A Great Wonder takes a hard-core look at war, and its impact on the lives of these young people, the families they left in Sudan, “concepts of loss, faith, community and freedom as it bears witness to the spirit that drives these young people to rebuild their lives.” Highly Recommended