For those of you who haven’t heard, Manute Bol passed away last weekend in Reston, VA. He tirelessly worked on behalf of the Sudanese people, and is the definition of someone who truly gave all that he had on behalf of his people. He used most of the money that he made to help reconstruct war torn Southern Sudan, and gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, when he refused to let his health ailments stand in the way of his service. Nicholas Kristof wrote this beautiful column in today’s New York Times honoring this great humanitarian.
We can all honor the tremendous legacy of Manute Bol by not forgetting about the people of Sudan. More specifically, we can ensure that his work continues by contributing to his organization’s goal of building 41 schools across Southern Sudan. Please contribute through Sudan Sunrise. Next year, Southern Sudan holds an important referendum for their independence from a regime that has brutalized them and made war against them. Every day, I become a little more concerned that Khartoum’s regime, led by an indicted war criminal, will not let these people go peaceably to build their own future. I plead with everyone, that we cannot allow this to happen again. Every Sudanese person with whom I have been privileged to associate has been remarkable. In spite of tremendous hardship, they number among the kindest, most hardworking people that I have ever met. We have to push the Obama Administration to be more resolved when it comes to Sudan. I haven’t been too political on this blog in quite some time, but I cannot be silent about this.
Fortunately for me, our ward at church currently is privileged to have one of Manute Bol’s nephews serving as a missionary in our ward. He absolutely possesses that characteristic good spirit that made his uncle such a great humanitarian. I get to help him, in some small way, by helping him file for US citizenship. It is the small way that I was able to help a few Sudanese people in Seattle, through the work of the Southern Sudanese Community of Washington. My limited involvement with that organization introduced me to some of the greatest people that I have ever encountered in my lifetime. Frequently they were taken advantage of by unscrupulous bosses, requiring them to labor in unsafe work conditions, or dishonest salesmen, who took advantage of their trusting nature. Nonetheless, they remained cheerful and kind. They worked hard and spent every spare moment in pursuing their educational goals (because uniformly, they all wanted to gain a university level education to become skilled experts and help rebuild their country). Whenever they had any money at all, they believed someone else in their community was more deserving than they, and would pass the money along to others in need. That is the Southern Sudanese way, and Manute Bol was the most wonderful example of it.
Manute Bol, you will be missed, but I pray that your legacy will serve to remind us of those in Southern Sudan and elsewhere who we can help through small and simple means.