The Completion of Rome…

As usual, I have another story of traveling in Nigeria. It started with a delayed flight from Abuja (from 12:10pm to 1:40pm), a race between the domestic terminal and the international terminal in Lagos to catch our next flight and a small “tip” (that’s what I’m calling it) to ensure we caught our Emirates flight on time. All in all, it was probably one of the most stressful departures I have experienced in Nigeria (even both Christmas departures) …and it happen in the third degree of hell…better known as Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.

But that is not what this blog is about. This blog is about Jacob Mach. If you are an avid reader of my blog, then you might remember a blog I wrote in 2014 about Jacob Mach. Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day…it  was built in two

In January, 2014, I ran across a video on the New York Times website that profiled the trials of Jacob Mach.  Jacob was one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan”, a group of boys who were displaced during the Sudanese civil war. Thousands of Sudan’s “Lost Boys” were settled across the United States. In 2013, Mach was interviewed by the NY Times for a profile about the lost boys. At that time, he was putting all of his energy into becoming an Atlanta Police Officer. Sadly, he did pass the basic training required to be a police officer. However, because of his determination and good nature, he was hired by the Atlanta City government to enforce housing codes. And earlier this year, he got his wish as he passed the police academy basic training and recently started as an Atlanta Police Officer.

His story is such a moving testament to his strength and persistence. He never gave up on his dream and was able to overcome so many challenges from his childhood. Jacob is the face of how the American dream and experience can work to change someone’s life. He once found himself fighting wild animals to stay alive and now he is protecting and serving a community that gave him a new life and new opportunities. Sadly, there are very few positive stories coming out of South Sudan. For months, international organizations have warned that certain areas in the newest country in the world were on the brink of famine. Last week, the United Nations declared a famine in South Sudan. The conflict that started when I living there in 2013 has disrupted farming and food production and forced people to flee the country. Nearly two million people have been displaced because of the conflict and tens of thousands killed. The stories that I hear and read coming out of South Sudan are so bad that most times, I am able to get to the end of the article without shedding a few tears.

Jacob’s story (and the stories of other “Lost Boys”) is a testament to the overcoming nature of the human spirit. However, the carnage at home is a reminder that South Sudan faces a long tough journey to stability and prosperity.

*Picture was taken from WABE 90.1 (http://news.wabe.org/post/refugees-story-lost-boy-sudan-apd-officer)

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