Saturday, September 25, 2004

REMEMBERING AFRICA

Kuir Alaak Pager is a young man in a hurry, driven by an enormous desire to succeed. A “Lost Boy” made good! He believes coming to Australia is one of the best things that has ever happened to him. And, honestly, thinks he is lucky to be here.

The tyranny of distance may not be a significant factor in Kuir’s life. But Australia is still a long way from the Majak village in the Kongar district of Southern Sudan where Kuir was born and bred.

Nevertheless, Kuir is extremely well-adjusted; and is making good progress. He is spellbound by the quality of life and the educational opportunities in Australia today. And like most migrant youths struggling for survival here, he wants to have the good things of life and the level of education he couldn’t have had in his home country.

But Africa still beckons. And Kuir still dreams of his ancestral homeland; thinking about the good times and the bad. “I miss the laughter, the broad smiles, the rhythm of community life, friends and relatives in Africa”, he says. And, of course, he misses the real life stories of the local heroes - stories of enlightenment, of struggle and survival.

In fact, he still remembers the time, in the early 1990s, when the rogue elements of the Nuer militia force killed his people and took their cattle.

“It was a terrible situation”, Kuir says. “I fled (the violence) across the border to Uganda to save my life”.

And yet, and yet , “Africa is where my heart is”, he insists. But “I like Australia” and the Australian way of life.
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