If you get a chance, you really should make the point of watching a terrific short documentary film by director Malachi Leopold titled 22 Years From Home. It tells the harrowing and hopeful story of Kuek Aleu Garang, one of 27,000 children forced to flee to Ethiopian refugee camps by the reignited Sudanese Civil War of 1983. Adding insult to injury, Ethiopian rebel forces compelled thousands of the children to escape, on their own, to Kenya in a trek that eventually killed nearly half of them.
Garang was one of only 16,000 who survived the long journey.
Told almost exclusively in Garang’s first-person narrative, 22 Years From Home is a slickly-produced and edited accounting recalling the hopes, fears and struggles of one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” From his adopted city of Chicago, he decides to make the trip back to Sudan after more than two decades away from family. To hear Garang’s story is to truly understand what it takes to survive under the cruelty of forced separation from family and friends. It’s one extraordinary man’s reminder that every minute you have on this earth matters.
The Music Box Theatre will be presenting 22 Years from Home on one night only, Tuesday April 27 at 7:30pm. Advance sales are at Brown Paper Tickets for $10. Director Malachi Leopold, Kuek Garang, and former UN Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd in attendance for this special screening.