News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 9, 2013

‘Lost boy’ to speak at CANDLES Museum

Gabriel Bol Deng found success in U.S., then returned to build school in Sudan

TERRE HAUTE — When Gabriel Bol Deng was 10 years old, his life was turned upside down. His home village of Ariang in southern Sudan was invaded by northern Sudanese militiamen, who killed the villagers and burned their homes.

He fled into the forest and became a refugee, a group known as the “‘Lost Boys of Sudan,’” eventually reaching a camp in Ethiopia where he achieved an education despite the harsh living conditions.

That was 1987, and Deng would evenually make it to America to continue his education and become a United States citizen.

He will bring his survival story to Terre Haute today during his “Power of Hope” presentation at 6 p.m. at the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, 1532 S. Third St. His presentation will be free and open to the public.

“I want to share with people the experience I have gone through because I hope when people hear it, they are inspired, and they learn that they, too, can overcome obstacles from their childhood,” Deng told the Tribune-Star on Wednesday in a telephone interview from his Syracuse, N.Y., home.

Deng credits his parents with telling him from a young age that he could move all obstacles if he had hope and he worked hard.

“You sometimes have obstacles, but if you keep hoping and perservering, then you can overcome them,” he said.

Along with the photos he shares of his village, he tells how he returned to his former home 20 years after he fled. He found two brothers and uncles who had survived the genocide. His parents had not.

By then, Deng was college-educated, but poor, and he wanted to help the Ariang people, but he did not know how.

“When the war has ended, it doesn’t mean that peace has come,” Deng said. “It’s just a real beginning of a new war to fight poverty, provide health care and build a national identity. I realized the best way to rebuild my own village in southern Sudan was through education.”

He said he saw children attending school under a tree, but in the rainy season — which lasts about five months — the children cannot go to school outdoors. He decided to build a school, and he promised the youths there that he would find a way to do that.

Deng said he came back to America and talked to a college professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., about his hope for Ariang. With some initial seed money from the professor, Deng raised enough funds to have six wells built near his village. They provided the people with safer drinking water and a shorter journey for the children, who had to search for food and water every day.

In fact, one well was drilled next to the new school location so that girls could take their water containers with them on their way to school and after classes could take much-needed water home with them. He found the well being located near the school to be an incentive for adults to send the children to school.

“Part of my approach is involving people in the village in rebuilding it,” Deng said. “These people lost their loved ones, but they have the desire to have a better life.”

The local people made 300,000 bricks to construct the local school, and as they rebuilt their village, they rebuilt their lives with hope, he said.

“It is more about helping the nation’s economy, and involving the local people in that. They will take initiative and ownership because they have put in effort,” he said. “When you sweat for something, there is value to it. There is dignity.”

Deng is the first speaker in the 2013-14 speaker and film series at the CANDLES museum, where founder Eva Kor said the message of hope regularly inspires visitors.

“We are always trying to reach beyond the story of the Holocaust,” Kor said. “Any story that relates to genocide [of] people who are being attacked and killed because of who they are should be interesting to anyone interested in the Holocaust.”

Kor says she finds Deng’s story inspiring, and she can relate to his story of being a child refugee and fleeing for his life to escape genocide. She was the same age — 10 — when her family’s safety was changed by the Holocaust.

“In his case, it was his parents who instilled him with an idea of hope and education,” Kor said. “I don’t remember my parents doing that, by I do recall my mother saying ‘My girls are going to be educated’ to my father.”

With all of the hardships and challenges of surviving during World War II in Europe, Kor said, her mother remained hopeful and inspiring.

“Now, he is inspiring young people in his home country,” Kor said of Deng. “He is building schools for girls and boys. Everyone who wants to be inspired by his story of adversity and hardship and how he overcame it and helps others, should come and hear his story.”

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET 070914 GARDEN 01LARI.jpg Plentiful harvest

    Along the southern bank of Otter Creek near Clinton Street, across the street from North Terre Haute Christian Church, some rocky soil has proven to be fertile ground for new seeds.

    July 12, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071014 GARDEN 01DIEMER.jpg Meeting need for fresh foods

    There’s something about watching a zucchini go from seedling to soup that is satisfying for Jean Diemer.

    July 12, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071214 60 YEARS.jpg Celebrating 60 years of pride at Hulman Field

    The buildings may have changed, and the mission has certainly changed, but the pride remains the same when those celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard came together Saturday at Hulman Field.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET071214 treasure sign.jpg Treasure-hunters forced in doors

    Rain on a Saturday morning can be a big bummer for yard sales.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tank wiring said to be cause of oil-field fire

    An electrical short has been blamed for a Friday night fire at the Pinnacle Exploration oil field on Fruitridge Avenue south of Hulman Street.

    July 12, 2014

  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends

    Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.

    July 11, 2014

  • Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool

    Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.

    July 11, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 11, 2014

  • New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum

    VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

    July 11, 2014

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • 071014 meth lab items.jpg Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute

    Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • UPDATE: Ethics panel approves $5K fine against Bennett

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Raw: Sirens Blare Over Jerusalem Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme UN Calls for Israeli-Palestinian Ceasefire
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity