2008 Archive

"They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky" by co-authors Benson Deng, Alephonsion Deng and Benjamin Ajak with Judy A. Bernstein

About the Book
In 1987, 27,000 boys in Sudan were forced to flee when the bitter civil war invaded their villages forcing them to run, terrified, into the bush. Lost and unable to return home most walked in small bands or large groups, sometimes numbering in the many thousands, searching for refuge and clinging to hope of finding what remained of their families. Almost half of the boys died along the way.

The book takes the reader on an agonizing journey, through violence and deprivation, as each little boy bravely finds his way from one hopeless situation to another. Their story begins with their early memories as children living in close-knit extended families in Juol, a small village on the edge of the Kenyan jungle. At the center of their world was their Dinka tribal customs binding their families together and giving each boy a sense of personal identity and pride.

About the Authors
Co-authors Benson Deng, Alepho Deng and Benjamin Ajak share their remarkable true story with readers. Many years after their ordeal, the three boys, now young men, tell of their experiences in a series of compelling short essays written for their American mentor, Judy A. Bernstein. For the boys, it was a way to bridge the huge gulf between their unspeakable past and their strange new life in America.

2008 Calendar of Events

Kick-Off: An Evening with Benjamin Ajak
Wednesday, August 20; 7:30 p.m.
Lecture/Book signing featuring co-author Benjamin Ajak and American mentor Judy A. Bernstein.
East Lansing High School Auditorium, 509 Burcham Dr.

University Welcome for Incoming MSU Students
Thursday, August 21; 9:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Featuring Benjamin Ajak and Judy A. Bernstein
Wharton Center for the Performing Arts, MSU Campus (public is welcome)

Engagement Session for Incoming MSU Students
Thursday, August 21, 9:30 and 11:10 a.m.
This session will engage participants in a discussion revolving around the book, "They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky." Participants will be able to have an open and interactive dialogue about their impression of the book, and the book's impact on them.
Location: Brody Complex

The Residential College in the Arts and Humanities
Friday, August 22
Benjamin Ajak will meet with first-year students in the Residential College for Arts and Humanities.

Writing Workshop: Travelers Together and Alone: Writing About life's Journeys
Tuesday, September 2, 9 and 16; 4-6 p.m./7-9 p.m.

Movie and Popcorn: "God Grew Tired of Us" (Rated PG)
Wednesday, September 3, 7 p.m.
The award-winning story of four boys from Sudan as they embark on a journey to America after years of wandering Sub-Saharan Africa in search of safety.
East Lansing Public Library, 950 Abbot Road

From Sudan to Lansing: Lost Boys Tell Their Story
Monday, September 8; 7-8:30 p.m.
The Lansing area has one of the largest concentrations of "Lost Boys of Sudan" in the country. The panel will explore the various experiences of these young men as they went to school and/or work, and began to become assimilated to the U.S. Kellogg Center, 55 S. Harrison Road, Lincoln Room

MSU Friday Night Film Series; "Lost Boys of Sudan"
Friday, September 12, 7 p.m.
An Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Discussion following the film led by Malik Balla, from Linguistics, German, Slavic, Asian & African Languages at Michigan State University.
MSU Main Library, Room W 449

Echoes of Africa: An African Experience
Sunday, September 14; 1-2:30 p.m.
Experience the sounds of African drumming and participate in storytelling, crafts and other cultural activities.
Adams Field, MSU campus

East Lansing High School Welcomes Benjamin Ajak
Thursday, September 18
Benjamin Ajak will meet with East Lansing High School students in an all-school assembly.
East Lansing High School auditorium, 509 Burcham Dr.

Book Talk with Benjamin Ajak and Judy A. Bernstein
Thursday, September 18; 7-8:30 p.m.
Community book discussion with the authors
East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road

Reading of Works from Writing Workshop
Tuesday, September 23; 7:45 p.m.
Residential College of Arts and Humanities Theater
Snyder-Phillips Hall, MSU Campus (public is welcome)