Erica Harris makes wonderful collages about life. I love her work! She wrote a post about rummaging around in India for supplies in my old blog, one of the last posts there: Scavenging in India. Erica has traveled around the world, working on many humanitarian projects, always translating those experiences into her art.
She is at it again, this time raising funds for the Duk Lost Boys Clinic in South Sudan. If you don’t know the story, several thousand boys between the ages of 3 and 10 trekked for three years through deserts and horrible conditions until they finally settled in relative safety at a refugee camp in Kenya. They were there for many years until humanitarian efforts helped relocate some of them to the West, including the United States. It’s a sad, yet powerful story of resilience and hope.
John Dau, one of the surviving boys, was also one of the oldest and tallest and was in charge of a group of them along their terrible trek. One of the things that he had to learn at the young age of twelve years was how to dig a grave and bury the children who died along the way. He and two others were featured in a documentary about their arrival to New York. It includes footage of their time in the camp and then later years of them as adults. I watched it last night on Netflix, but the full version is also available on YouTube. These young men had to learn how to turn electricity on and off, how to use the toilet, dispose of garbage, about new foods, and the whole shebang.
Can you even imagine how overwhelming it would be to transition from nothing to our overabundance? I have met many new immigrants, just “off the boat” and it is so interesting to see what they pick up from our culture and how they re-define themselves. The Tibetan community in Chicago, for example, started to look very Puerto Rican…. an, uh, interesting choice of assimilation! Anyway, here is a clip of the documentary:
John, the tall guy who buried all those kids, went on to learn the ropes and make the connections until he fulfilled his dream of helping those who had been left behind, a promise he makes in the film. He started a foundation which has a clinic and Erica would like to contribute to the effort. YOU can help, too! Here is the email I got from her:
You are invited to participate in a Fantastic Fundraiser!
30% of any purchase of artwork from my Etsy shop will be donated to The Duk Lost Boys Clinic in Jonglei, South Sudan, from now until July 15th.
Founded by the astonishing John Dau, this clinic provides absolutely free healthcare in a region where there is no medical doctor for 75 miles, and where virtually all travel is on foot.
Your contribution will be funding salaries for medical staff, medicine for patients, and outreach programs that train midwives and vaccinate children.
Please join me in supporting them. They are doing such good work.
(Need a push? Take 20% off your total at checkout with this coupon code: SUDANFUNDRAISER2012)
To clarify: You get a 20% discount, The clinic gets another 30% from the total and Erica gets half. Everybody gets something! Her Etsy shop is below. If you happen to read this after the deadline (July 15, 2012), you can still support the clinic with donations and from Erica with purchases. You will feel good AND get great art!