Tag Archives: Sudan

Book Review: Running For My Life – by Lopez Lomong (Olympic athlete)

Book: Running For My Life: One Lost Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games
Author: Lopez Lomong with Mark Tabb
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Date: July 17, 2012
Genre: biography & autobiography; sports
Pages: 240; hardcover
Price: $24.99
My rating: An inspirational true story of hope and courage.
 

I received this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

When I saw the blurb about it I wanted to read this book – not because I’m an avid sports fan (because I’m not) but because I am always interested in how people overcome adversity. This book did not disappoint.

Lopez Lomong was born in the Sudan. He was one of a family of four children, but the only one with his parents in the open-air church service that Sunday morning in 1991 – the day the rebel soldiers came for the children. He was only six years old. That was the day he was violently separated from his family with dozens of other boys and girls, the day his life was forever changed.

Lopez tells the story of his kidnapping, of not knowing what happened to all the girls that were taken at the same time, of the prison camp where boys were trained to be child soldiers – but he was too small to become a soldier so he was left in the hut, probably to die as so many did. The difference for him was that he was rescued in a dramatic way, which to this day he firmly believes was God’s hand on his life.

Lopez tells about his escape with three other boys, how they ran for three days, always miraculously finding food and water when needing it, where he ended up as a refugee instead of where he thought he was headed – home to his mother, and the ever-challenging experiences he had there that would shape him into the man he would become.

His parents had named him Lopepe, which means ‘fast’, and he lived up to that name because he loved to run and always ran as fast as he could. This trait would be one thing that kept him alive, one main factor that would shape his life and eventually help him immigrate to the United States where he continues to run. In an unlikely place his heart was set on the Olympics when he was a boy. I read Running For My Life during the London 2012 Olympics, which seemed appropriate since Lopez Lomong was running for the USA.

As I read through this book as one looking in from the outside, I could recognize God’s guidance and protection as Lopez trusted Him with his life. He tells his story with painful honesty, later revealing a sense of humour that caused me to laugh out loud several times.

Lopez Lomong has a passion, not just for running, but for helping the people in his village and South Sudan. He now has a charitable foundation called 4 South Sudan set up to achieve his goals of providing clean water, education, nutrition through better farming methods, and basic health care that will save lives. Because World Vision already has a presence in Sudan, he partnered with them to set things in motion. Also, part of the proceeds of the sale of this book go to his foundation. 

Check it out: www.LopezLomong.com/foundation

  Give Running For My Life a try, my guess is you will enjoy it.

You can find Running For My Life listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

Book Review: A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk – by Jan L. Coates

Book: A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk
Author: Jan L. Coates
Genre: Young adult fiction
(based on a true story)
Pages: 286
Publisher: Red Deer Press;
distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Released: October 2010
Price: $12.95 CDN
My Rating: A gripping, moving, hard to put down must-read!

 

In 1983, southern Sudan was thrust into civil war and thousands of boys were displaced. Families and whole villages were destroyed, torn apart, lost forever.

This story is based on the true story of Jacob Deng who was a child of the Sudan. The author, Jan Coates, has masterfully woven fiction around the deeply moving, horrific story of a young child running for his life. Jacob was only seven years old when his village was raided and he barely escaped certain death. Having to leave his mother behind, along with everything he knew, he began walking for what turned into many months, and along the way he joined up with hundreds of others – all boys – on the same journey. After crossing a crocodile-infested river the survivors became refugees in another country, but even there they were not safe.

This is such a gripping, well-written story that at times I gasped, aloud said, “oh no!”, and winced at the suffering and struggles those young children endured. Hungry, afraid, and without their parents, they did what they knew to do – stay together, keep walking, keep ahead of the enemy, and somehow survive another day of exposure to the elements and wild animals. This is one of those books that was truly hard to put down – when eating and sleeping seemed a nuisance while reading a story in which both food and sleep were hard to come by for those children.

A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk is not overly graphic to read, but at the same time it is real. Jan wrote a powerfully descriptive story that pulls the reader into the life and climate of Africa where daily existence is fraught with the challenge simply to survive. And this story is a story of survival and the strength of the human will along with an underlying faith to rise above one’s circumstances.

The amazing gem is that Jan Coates met Jacob Deng here in Nova Scotia, and after talking with him she felt compelled to write his story. The result, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk, has gained well deserved attention, now listed as a 2011 finalist for the Governor
General’s Literary Award.

In the back of the book there is an interview Jan had with Joseph Deng. There is even a glossary to which the reader can refer to understand the meaning of some African words, such as abaar, which means orphan, and wadeng – a Dinka word which means look always to tomorrow; it will be better.

This book is an excellent way to learn about the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Proceeds from the sale of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk are shared with Jacob’s charity Wadeng Wings of Hope, which is another good reason to add this novel to your personal library.

BONUS: As soon as we can complete it I will be posting my interview with Jan Coates. Stay tuned! After the interview you will have the opportunity to try to win a copy of her book.

You can find A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂