My friend Sean and I were in Nashville today when we ran across Issah (pronounced Ee-suh). Issah just got to Nashville a few days back on an international flight from Sudan. I asked, "So, what are you doing here?" He looked to the side and after taking a breath he said, "The United States approved a Visa for me because I was in the middle of the fighting."
In South Sudan, fighting between rebel forces and the government has contentiously been violent. Part of the fighting in South Sudan is over the few remaining functioning oil fields as their currency collapses. The United Nations reported to America on Sunday that South Sudan in Africa is in the midst of a famine and 12 million people are in need of assistance. Ongoing civil unrest has prevented farmers from planting or harvesting their crops, which led to the food shortage. Over 10,000 people have been killed and 1.6 million are now homeless.
Issah told me that he had not eaten all day (Memorial Day), but he will be staying at the Nashville Rescue Mission while he looks for work and starts a new life, violent free. After a short talk we took him to Jacks BBQ not thinking about the fact that most from Sudan have never eaten pork and grow up steering away from it. So, we got him smoked chicken, baked beans, macaroni and cheese and a slice of freshly made fudge pie. Needless to say, he loved it and ate as if he had not eaten in days.
As we left, the 42 year old man looked up from his plate of southern goodness and stated, "God Bless You."
Today, Issah is all alone in the world. He has no family or even friends in America. Everything he owns is on his back.