The challenge was to read a book from a country whose literature you have never read anything of before and tag it as #gvbook09. Many still criticize that print media is in debacle and so are books. However, this is a good opportunity to recall that science and all information we enjoy through the internet today, was only possible thanks to the books that jealously were saved in ancient libraries, monasteries, universities and lately the world wide web.
We have been reading The Translator: A Tribes Memoir of Dafur. written by Daoud Hari. While looking out for which book we should pick to read for this challenge, what caught our attention was the its title, The Translator. It called our attention because we too, translate for 'one of the largest volunteer-based online translation communities in the world.'
As Claudia Giampreti puts it, "The Translator is a suspenseful, harrowing, and deeply moving memoir of how one person has made a difference in the world - an on the ground account of one of the biggest stories of our time. Using his high school knowledge of languages as his weapon - while others around him were taking up arms - Daoud Hari has helped inform the world about Darfur."
And it really is. But to understand better the circumstances under which Sudan was living and was built, I will suggest you start reading its Appendix 1 (A Darfur Primer). In about 200 pages, once you start the book, you do not want to stop anymore. It is the vivid conversation two people can have while sharing the sadness of genocide of his people or even your own family. You learn about the Zaghawa tribe and terminology only spoken by these people. What Daoud had to endure while a refugee in the Chad and all his trips around Cairo and Israel.
There is a special paragraph that i really liked. It's a lesson of how saving money sometimes can save your life specially when you are in prison. Daoud and his co-writers wrote:
- ...When someone asks if you have any money, you will put hands in there again. This time, after so long in prison, after wearing these old jeans for many months in the vilest of prison cells with nothing to do but stand in the heat and put my hands in my pockets, I somehow let my thumb slip into the tiny watch pocket above the right pocket of my jeans -a forgotten pocket. I felt the edges of something. Folded into a small square was an Egyptian hundred pound note..."
Otherwise, he will never contact his cousins in Great Britain and would ever return home. A small lesson our kids and we teachers should encourage in school.
The author now lives in Baltimore. He was involved with the savedafur.org and starting whith his high school English language knowledge, he helped major news organizations including The New York Times, NBC, BBC, UN and some other aid organizations.
You can buy his book here and a review is up at A Little Bit of Change.
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