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Walk Toward the Rising Sun
Cover of Walk Toward the Rising Sun
Walk Toward the Rising Sun
From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace
The amazing autobiography of a young Sudanese boy who went from a child soldier to an international peace activist, a struggling refugee to a Hollywood actor. Sudan, 1980s: Ger Duany knew what he...
The amazing autobiography of a young Sudanese boy who went from a child soldier to an international peace activist, a struggling refugee to a Hollywood actor. Sudan, 1980s: Ger Duany knew what he...
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  • The amazing autobiography of a young Sudanese boy who went from a child soldier to an international peace activist, a struggling refugee to a Hollywood actor.
    Sudan, 1980s: Ger Duany knew what he wanted out of life—make his family proud, play with his brothers and sisters, maybe get an education like his brother Oder suggested, and become a soldier for his people when he's old enough. But then his village was attacked by the North Sudanese military, death kept taking his loved ones away, and being a child soldier was not what he thought it would be. Amid heartbreak, death, and violence, can this lost boy find his way to safety?
    America, 1990s: After boarding a flight without his family to seek refuge in a foreign country, Ger worked tirelessly to adjust to a new life. It wasn't long before he was thrown into the spotlight, as people discovered his talents for basketball, modeling, and acting. Yet the spotlight wasn't the only thing following him, as he battled the effects of PTSD, resisted the siren call of the excesses of fame, and endured a new kind of racism in America. Amid fame, trauma, and the memory of home, can this lost boy find himself?

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    Belonging

    I was about six years old when I sat in the dirt clearing of Liet Village center in 1983 or '84, amid a few hundred other villagers, frozen in silence, watching my mother's youngest brother, Tut, lay his full six-foot, six-inch frame down in the dirt. The wind whooshed through the high grass, sorghum, maize, and tobacco on our subsistence farm, which surrounded our mud huts, and cattle lowed in the distance. Tut crossed his arms over his muscular chest and placed his shaved head inside a depression dug into the earth specially to catch the blood. He lay there without a trace of labored breathing or a single tremble while one of our village elders delivered a booming speech about courage, a man's responsibility to provide for his community, and his right to take wives.

    ELDER 1: This young man will be marked into adulthood this morning. God protected him from many battles so that he might receive this honor in front of his elders and peers.

    Another elder rose and gestured with long, graceful arms as he spoke.

    ELDER 2: Today is a blessing. It is important in our culture to mark every Nuer man, so when the world looks upon him, they will know he is the bravest of all men and will protect his people at all costs. There have been many courageous warriors throughout history, each one a legend: Muon Kem Joak, Ger Pathot, and Buth Diu, who spearheaded the self-determination of southern Sudan. On this day, Tut will join their storied ranks.

    A third elder, known for steady hands, pulled a ceremonial knife from its place among the coals of a small fire (where it was first sterilized). The lines on this elder's face deepened as he wiped the knife with a cloth, leaned over Tut's face, and frowned in concentration. The shadow of a hawk in flight flashed across the sunny clearing, and the elder cut a line all the way across the blank canvas of Tut's forehead.

    Due to the knife's sharpness, the blood did not come right away. It was almost as if its edge hadn't even slid across his brow. Clean, precise, imperceptibly thin, like a paper cut. Then I saw a line, the line turned red, and after another second, the blood began to drip into Tut's ears. By the time it started gushing from the wound, the elder had already carved a second line below and begun a third, parallel to the first two. He didn't stop until he had carved six lines across the brow, and by then torrents flowed into Tut's eyes and all across his cheeks. The blood darkened the already-black earth beneath his crown and brightened Tut's dark complexion with a crimson sheen.

    Of course I knew he was a living, breathing man, but while the cutting took place, Tut could have been obsidian, or the casket of a pharaoh, he was so perfectly still. Had Uncle Tut shown even the slightest twinge of pain during the ceremony, the entire assembly would have shuffled away in silent shame, but he had been the very embodiment of bravery, so the village exploded into a wild trill.

    VILLAGERS: Hulululu!

    I wasn't afraid at the sight of all that blood, for I knew this was only a ritual and Tut was not mortally wounded. My elders were there, my aunties, my uncles, my mother, and my father's other wives, and if they condoned this rite, I knew it was okay.

    Having proven himself by receiving the cuts in silence, Tut stood, hands at his sides, eyes closed behind a curtain of blood. The cuts, which would heal into proud scars, bled out naturally as the elders led the newly initiated warrior into a hut where he would rest and recuperate.

    Tut was actually too old to undergo this rite of passage and should have completed it when he hit puberty. But he had recently returned to Liet...

About the Author-

  • Ger Duany is a survivor of the tragic exodus of an estimated 20,000 Sudanese children, the "Lost boys of Sudan," and has been appointed as UN Goodwill Ambassador. Born in the town of Akobo, Ger was caught up in Sudan's north-south civil war and was forcefully recruited as a child soldier. At the age of 14, he managed to escape to neighbouring Ethiopia and was eventually resettled to the United States from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. In 2014, UNHCR helped Ger reunite with his mother and other family members in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp. He is also a model and actor. To learn more about Ger, his inspiring life story, and his constant work to help refugees around the world, visit GerDuany.com or @GerDuany on Twitter.

Reviews-

  • AudioFile Magazine Ger Duany narrates his life story, detailing his remarkable journey from child soldier to South Sudanese peace activist. With unflinching honesty and a matter-of-fact tone, Duany recounts the horrors of his childhood, which was filled with hunger, displacement, and brutality. Eventually resettling in the United States, Duany overcame racism, educational barriers, and near-crippling PTSD. With pride and wonder, he recounts how he landed a career as a model and actor and was later able to travel back to Sudan to speak on behalf of the Sudanese people. Duany's distinct accent and somewhat unusual pronunciations may require greater listener focus, but they are an important element in this audiobook, bearing testament to his experiences and the courage that he has demonstrated throughout his extraordinary life. S.A.H. � AudioFile 2021, Portland, Maine

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Walk Toward the Rising Sun
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From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace
Ger Duany
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