Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Friday, May 06, 2005

Manute Bol: Being a Blessing

Not to many times do you hear the name Manute Bol in conversation. For those NBA illiterates out there, Bol was a 7 foot 7 inch giant hailing from the Sudan region in Africa. Sure he had the second most blocks in league history in only his rookie season and played 11 seasons in the NBA, but he was probably most known for his freakish height. I mean the first time he dunked a basketball he got his teeth stuck in the net.

What some might not know about this unique human being is his involvement with his country during a nasty civil war pitted against southern non-Arabic tribes. Bol spent about 3 million dollars he earned in the NBA to help free the country of its fighting, enslavement and famine. After a shaky peace treaty from rebel factions and the Sudanese government, Bol moved to the capital to work with the same people who had fought his own people. Furthermore, officials promised him a job in their government to seek reconciliation. The only problem was he had to go against several of his principles and convictions to be hired. Opting not to do so, he lived in fear of the government because they feared that he would leave the country and continue his anti-governmental activities. Interestingly enough, Bol lobbied in Congress 3 months about the fertile terrorist grounds in Sudan in the early 90s.

Finally Bol returned to the states, only his fame was eradicated from him as well as his funds. Broke and saddened by what he had witnessed back home Bol continued to give back to his people. In 2002, Bol boxed in a celebrity-boxing match against William “The Refrigerator” Perry of the Chicago Bears. From the match he collected a cool $30,000 that was entirely donated to a Sudanese relief fund. He works with his charity, the Ring True Foundation, which helps Sudanese refugees, mainly living in the United States. Most of these are the Lost Boys, young males who have lost their families in the war torn region of Sudan.

In his native dialect (Dinka) Manute Bol means “blessing from God.” He now resides with his wife and child in Connecticut, living off the generosity of his friends. He is not living the high life, in the sense of living in a massive mansion, driving fancy cars, and wearing designer suits. But he is living the high life of being a blessing to others.