Don’t Cry Me Sudan

by Aaron Choi, staff blogger

Whenever I’m free of the pressure from any impending ‘gradable experiences,’ I usually surf the news to see if there are any worthy happenings in this world to take a glance at. And tragically, majority of these headliners are testimonies of authority corruption or some other forms of moral decay in this crazy society.

This week, however, I ran across a documentary that boldly stood against the odds. How appropriate that I happen to stumble upon this video during a week I spent so fervently lamenting the serious lack of selflessness in our world (woah, I almost sound like Holden Caulfield.)

This 50-minute movie documentary, so to say, is centered on a South Korean doctor/priest named John Lee. As a graduate of a prestigious medical school in Korea, Lee troubled his proud mother when he announced to his family that he was going to relinquish the security of his future to become a Catholic priest and visit Africa. Few years later, he kept his words and for the first time set his feet on the continent of Africa. Having settled in the broken city of Tonz, Sudan, Lee stood aghast at the miserable conditions in which the indigenous people were surviving in. This experience took a toll on Lee’s already radical perspective of the world, and Lee firmly decided to dedicate his life for the people of Tonz (Sounds a lot like Albert Schweitzer, huh? That’s his nickname, in fact).

He started small by becoming familiar with the costumes and traditions of the people. Next thing you know, he was already constructing a hospital in the middle of a barren African savanna. From then ’till his death, Lee literally lived among the Tonz people and offered them 24-hour medical care. He as the only staff and doctor, the hospital was open to any one and in a nation whose people were and still are broken by warfare and malicious diseases, it was a haven and Lee was “an angel.” He refused to turn down patients and once a week set out to seek for the sickest of the sicks in a specially abandoned village (the “Untouchables” if one insists).

He self-taught himself all the different instruments of a musical band and in turn taught these instruments to the youths of Sudan. Before that, Lee constructed a school and a boarding system for the many far-underprivileged students in the village.

I’ve read about many luminaries who gave up their promising careers in order to help the needy (for instance, Dr. Paul Farmer of Haiti and of course Mother Theresa etc.)

Not to discredit the greatness of their work, I was personally touched to know that a person of my nation, of my heritage stepped outside his comfort zone to administer to the needs of others. His passion for the people of Tonz might not have been infectious but it certainly tingled something inside me.

Here’s the week’s food for thought. There are subtitles in English, though not provided by GOAL.


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