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Copy of Marial Bai (1980-1987)

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Shelley Marie Windsor

on 10 October 2016

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Transcript of Copy of Marial Bai (1980-1987)

Presented by Eve Edelberg, Miles Hawthorne, & Shelley Marie Windsor
WHAT is the WHAT

Valentino Achak Deng is from a small village, Marial Bai, in South Sudan, Africa. He has many pleasant memories of his life in Marial Bai before his village is attacked and burned to the ground by the Arab government.
Marial Bai (1980-1987)

Middle Childhood
Early Childhood
South Sudan
Early Adulthood

Valentino leaves Kakuma in Kenya and arrives in Amsterdam. His flight to the United States is set to depart on September 11, 2001. However, his flight is delayed for several days because of the 911 attack on America. When Valentino arrives in Atlanta, he is given money for three month’s rent and groceries. He accepts charity from people from churches, and he does not understand the generosity shown to him. He speaks about the situation in Sudan at the churches.

Valentino arrives in Atlanta in September 2001. He is given money for three month's rent and groceries. He accepts charity from people from churches, and does not understand the generosity shown to him.
Valentino moves into an apartment with Achor Achor. He receives a gift of Tinker Toys from an old friend. The toy reminds him of the shelter he built at Pinyudo, which makes him and Anchor Achor laugh.
He meets Mary Williams, who is the founder of the Lost Boys Foundation for Sudanese refugees. Mary introduces him to famous people. Valentino begins raising awareness for the refugees at Kakuma. He begins to accept invitations to speak publically about the situation in Sudan.
It is the beginning of war. Valentino is separated from his family and joins a group of children marching to Ethiopia. He is hopefull of refuge.
Valentino reaches Ethiopia and everyone is disappointed because it is in the same condition as Sudan. At the Pinyudo camp in Ethiopia the group of boys is always hungry. Valentino first meets Achor Achor and reunites with Moses. When Valentino is 10 he becomes close friends with a group of sisters he meets.
In the refugee camp, many of the boys are beginning to join the SPLA to fight, but then the soldiers begin to become more hostile and violent towards the refugees. Valentino and his friends run away because it is not safe anymore. After going through two more camps, Valentino makes it to Kenya and escapes from the SPLA soldiers.
Young Adulthood
Eve Edelberg
Hi my name is Eve Edelberg, and I worked on the What is the What presentation behind the scenes. As I read the book, I verified the timeline provided by the instructors and put things into the proper order. I worked with Miles Hawthorne and Shelley Marie Windsor on making sure that all the proper breakdowns of the biopsychosocial model were correct for our section of young adulthood. In addition, I assisted in helping finalize the Prezi presentation created by Shelley Marie Windsor, in terms of color, content, and proofreading. I formatted the references by following the APA Manual. I will continue to provide input on ways to edit the Prezi presentation as needed.

Miles Hawthorne
Hello, my name is Miles Hawthorne. In addition to narrating this presentation, I assisted Eve Edelberg with editing the biopsychosocial breakdowns, and with research for this project. I also provided input into this Prezi, created by Shelley Marie Windsor.
Shelley Marie Windsor
Kudual, my name is Shelley Marie Windsor. I assisted with research, writing, and creating this Prezi presentation in collaboration with Eve and Miles.
Valentino meets Tabitha, the love of his life. They begin to date in the traitional Sudanese way. They are never alone together.
Valentino joins a drama group at the camp and travels to Nairobi. Before leaving for the Nairobi trip, he finds out that his mother and father are alive. He is torn between going on the trip and rushing back to Marial Bai. In Nairobi at a mall, Valentino and Tabitha are alone for the first time; they kiss.
In the year 2002, Valentino gains employment at Best Buy, he works hard but can barely pay his bills. He takes a temporary, second job handling fabric swatches for a furniture showroom. He is disappointed by how difficult it is to get into a four year college and he begins classes at Georgia Perimeter Community College.
Valentino suffers disappointment because he had expectations about what school would be like in America. Socioeconomic factors are closely tied to the expectations an adult student may have about courses and future career choices (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Valentino felt privileged to be chosen to interact with famous people, yet at the same time he felt badly that his peers were jealous of his success and material possessions. According to Santrock (2013), jealousy is an emotion that requires one to be cognizant and self-aware. Loneliness has left Valentino, and he develops friendship skills. Due to Valentino’s culture, he should only interact with males until the time that he is of an age to marry (Eggers, 1997), so he wondered about why he had so quickly become friends with Allison. However, peers can help an individual develop a healthy social identity (Broderick & Blewitt. 2015).
He reunites with Tabitha, who he knew from Pinyudo, and Valentino falls in love. Valentino meets Phil Mays, who becomes his sponsor. Valentino used the name Dominic Arou until he could afford to change it to Valentino Achak Deng three years later. In 2003, he meets Bobby Newmyer, a movie producer, who wants to make a movie about the Lost Boys. Tabitha is murdered by her boyfriend, Duluma. Phil and Stacy move to Florida, and Bobby dies in 2005 from a heart attack, before the film is ever begun. The Lost Boys Foundation ceases operation in 2005. Valentino questions his desire to live after so many losses.
Valentino is robbed and attacked in 2006. His assailants beat him badly. Valentino is bound with his arms behind his back and his feet were bound. Unfortunately, he must wait for the arrival of Achor Achor, which did not happen until much later.
Valentino is taken to the hospital by Achor Achor after the attack, and Valentino is angry because of how long he has to wait for treatment. Valentino gets an MRI done. He leaves without getting treated. Valentino wonders if he wants to live, but then is grateful to be in America. The attack causes Valentino to begin reevaluating his life.


Broderick, P. C., Blewitt, P., (2015). The Life Span: Human development for
helping professionals, (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Eggers, D., (2007). What is the What? New York, NY: Random House
Francis, R. C. (2011). Epigenetics: The ultimate mystery of inheritance.
New York, NY: WW Norton.
Ismail, M. A., Osman, M. A. (2012). Factors influencing the adoption of e-
banking in Sudan: Perceptions of retail banking clients. Journal of Internet Banking and Commerce, 17(3), 1.
Khattab, I., Balola, Y., Eldabi, T. A. (2012). Factors influencing branchless
banking for microfinance in Sudan: Theoretical perspectives and future directions, presented at European, Mediterranean & Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems 2012, Munich, Germany, 2012. London, UK: Brunel University Research Archive
Nawyn, S. J. (2006). Faith, ethnicity, and culture in refugee resettlement.
The American Behavioral Scientist, 49(11), 1509-1527.
Santrock, J.W. (2013) Life-Span Development (14th ed.). New York, NY:
McGraw Hill
Sikes, A., Hays, D. G. (2010). The Developmental Impact of Child Abuse on
Adulthood: Implications for counselors. Adultspan Journal, 9(1). 26-35
Ungar, M. (2015). Practitioner Review: Diagnosing childhood resilience - a
systemic approach to the diagnosis of adaptation in adverse social and physical ecologies. Journal of Child Psychology Pssychiatry, 4 - 17.

Valentino is thin because he grew up and lived in impoverished countries. Besides just being thin, famine can have an impact on the health of the developing fetus and later on the health of the growing child. When food sources do not provide protein and, essential vitamins and minerals, the physical, socioemotional, and intellectual development can be compromised. Although some problems with long term consequences, such as anemia, can have immediate and long-term consequences, it seems epigenetic alterations are the cause of these problems (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). A study comparing children before and after a Nazi imposed food embargo on the Netherlands in WWII found that long term consequences from epigenetic changes include increased rates of schizophrenia and depression, high blood pressure, and coronary heart disease (Francis, 2011).
Valentino suffers from confusion in the airport in Amsterdam because the language and signs are unfamiliar. Tools are things “that people [use] to help them think and learn, such as numbering, or writing systems” (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015, p. 109). The most important tool in the opinion of Vygotsky was language (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).
According to Nawyn (2006), the United States government only gives short-term help to refugees so non-government organizations pick up the slack. These organizations are often religious in nature (Nawyn, 2006). Valentino faces challenges of intimacy vs. isolation, as he arrives in Amsterdam. Another challenge is to become a competent, self-maintaining adult. In Kakuma, he has proven himself as a harder work and developed a sense of productivity.
My personal reactions to What is the What by Dave Eggers, consisted of anger, frustration, disgust and extreme sadness. What occurs to Valentino, such as life-threatening danger, the deaths of friends, and hunger and thirst as he walks with The Lost Boys through the forests and deserts demonstrates some of the horrors that occur during time of war. When the SPLA resorted to taking boys and girls and making them into combat weary soldiers I felt it was a despicable act and it disgusted me that some humans can be so callous. Learning of how The Lost Boys lived meagerly with little to no sustenance along the way, made me angry at the Sudanese government that started the atrocities. Each village The Lost Boys passed through, they had to resort to begging, which is not something anyone wants to see a child endure.
When Valentino begins losing his vision, the young boy pressed on placing one foot in front of the other. That is a feat that I do not think I would be able to accomplish. The fact that Valentino, and all those other children, had to live life under such duress just saddened me to the core. Valentino would dream of a brilliant place to live where he would be free, and yet he arrives in America only to be disillusioned. America is not the place he once dreamt it would be. In America, there is ugliness here in the forms of racism, oppression and violence. Valentino had to assimilate many things in the new environment. Despite all the obstacles that he faced after coming to the US and despite all the difficult times he endured, he decided to remain in America. I do not know if I could have done the same.
Yet, through even toughest of times when Valentino wanted to just die and be done with the misery, there was a spark of life to him. What makes Valentino and others like him survive is resilience! Resilience is learning to live life not as a damaged individual, due to dysfunction or maltreatment, but to celebrate one’s growth and the mastery of the challenges one has faced. Rather than blaming or finding fault with the way your childhood went, a resilient individual gets revenge by living a healthy and productive life.
The factors of resiliency are insight, independence, healthy relationships, initiative, creativity, humor and morality (Wolin & Wolin, 1994). Having insight means having the ability to look within yourself and understand what is going on around you with clarity. Independence is being responsible for oneself. Establishing healthy relationships is a must; therefore, getting the support and nurturing that one has not had before is crucial for somebody to remain healthy. Initiative involves having the strength to push for normalcy in one’s life and relationships. Creativity is the ability to carve something new and good out of something old and bad. By having a sense of humor, one learns to laugh at oneself, and morality is making something positive from something that was a negative or bad. Valentino’s life can help me to professionally remember that I am not dealing with a damaged individual, but instead I am dealing with an individual with damage in his or her past. I wish I could thank Valentino for reminding me about resiliency, and if there is one thing I could say to him, it would be to tell him that he is remarkable in that the type of resiliency that he shows is very rare. Kuddos to Valentino!

Eve Edelberg
Miles Hawthorne

Shelley Marie Windsor
What is the What Introduction

This presentation is about the book What is the What, written by Dave Eggers. This story is about the life of Valentino Achak Deng, who was a young boy in war torn Sudan. The book follows Valentino from before the first attack on his village by the then Arab run Sudanese government through to adulthood. We will be showing a basic timeline of events or situations from Valentino’s life, while concentrating on the phase of his life known as young adulthood. Eve Edelberg, Miles Hawthorne, and Shelley Marie Windsor took this phase of life, and broke the information down according to the spheres of information that concentrate on Valentino’s life from within a Biopsychosocial Model. Please, sit back and enjoy the presentation!
“So the first man lifted his head to God and asked what this was, this What. ‘What is the What?’ the first man asked. And God said to the man, ‘I cannot tell you. Still you have to choose. You have to choose between the cattle and the What.’”

Deng Arou
Dinka Creation Story
When Valentino is remembering Pinyudo, he is engaging his episodic memory. Episodic memory refers to a type of declarative knowledge, which is knowledge of events that have happened to us (Brodrick & Blewitt, 2015). Valentino suffers from migraine headaches from an automotive accident and is taken by Jane Fonda to the doctor. The migraines are most likely the result of a Traumatic Brain Injury that was sustained in the accident.
Valentino felt privileged to be chosen to interact with famous people, yet at the same time he felt badly that his peers were jealous of his success and material possessions. According to Santrock (2013) jealousy is an emotion that requires one to be cognizant and self-aware.
Being in touch with someone also from Sudan brings him joy. In addition, he takes comfort from rooming with Achor Achor, since Achor is more knowledgeable about culture and customs in the United States.
He feels friendly, yet confused as to the attention he is given. He forms an attachment to Mary Williams.
Valentino is faced with making his way in a culture he has only learned about second hand. He has reunited with a familiar person, Achor Achor, one who can identify with the hardships he has endured. He is involved in community activities, speaking at churches, about the plight of Sudanese refugees.
Valentino demonstrates that he is capable of doing work that requires fine motor skills.
He feels sexual urges.
Valentino suffers disappointment because he had expectations about what school would be like in America. Socioeconomic factors are closely tied to the expectations an adult student may have about courses and future career choices (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015.)
Valentino experiences strong emotions. He had met Tabitha in Kenya. He is using episodic memory remembering how they met.
Valentino comes in contact with other students and coworkers. He does not feel like he fits in.
Valentino finds employment, menial work, that does not meet his aspirations. He finds life difficult. He starts to feel a helpless pattern with work and going to college. Tabitha and Valentino reunion. The intimacy and passion are there but not the commitment. When Tabitha is murdered by his romantic revile, he feels love lost.
There are injuries sustained during the robbery. He suffers from a head injury, hematomas, and cuts. Sikes and Hays (2010) cite Renner and Slack (2006) with stating that if a child experiences maltreatment or witnesses violence, then that individual is likely to become a victim in adulthood.
Changing his name was a chance to help establish a new identity. Valentino is despondent and experienced what he felt was his “…darkest thoughts…” (Eggers, 2006) that he had ever known after Tabitha was murdered. Spiritually, he loses faith in God. He becomes depressed and does not move for days at a time. He blames himself that he was the cause of God allowing bad things to happen to the people around him and contemplates suicide. He questions his faith and his life. Valentino feels like he is bad luck for himself and those that he knows, which is a theme in his life. He longs to return to Sudan, because he is disillusioned with America. Since “Sudanese men never kill women…” (Eggers, 2007), he partly blames America for Tabitha’s death. He wonders if he wants to commit suicide. When he gets robbed, he is denigrated, by the fact that a young boy, Michael (a.k.a. TV Boy), who watched over him while Powder and Tonya were away, dropped a phonebook on Valentino’s head. The symbolism is remarkable in that it demonstrates that Valentino is considered less of a human. He is in fear that they will kill him, and then later is in fear of the boy dropping more heavy books on his head. Mentally placing himself in the boy’s shoes reminds Valentino of his childhood, which brings psychological pain. Valentino remembers the slavery that the Arabs perpetuate against the Dinka. He “vacillates between calm and great agitation” (Eggers, 2007), while waiting to be rescued. Anxiety fills Valentino as no one attempts to rescue him, and he grins and cries in his frustration. Valentino is sure it has been days that he was bound this way. He feels the ordeal will never end.
While Valentino is being robbed and beaten, he examines his life and wonders about the people he encounters. If they would be able to survive what he has. He has an agreeable personality, which puts him at risk for victimization. He questions his life and if it is worth living. The attack is a catalyst for reevaluating his life.
What an amazing story and an amazing life. Against all odds, Valentino has created the kind of life he wanted. In looking at his life through a developmental perspective, his early childhood was a significant protective factor for him. He knew unconditional love and belonging in Sudan and was part of this culture (Ungar, 2015). In looking at his resilience, one must first look at the severity of the adversity. I would say, he experienced severe and chronic adversity. Individual temperament, personality, and cognition, as well as his ability for self-regulation were also significant protective factors. Along the way he had individual, family, community, and political resources available to him. While not in the traditional sense, individuals he connected with such as Dut, family was Gop, Kakuma was his community, and the UN his political resources. These resources were enough to nurture and maintain a sense of wellbeing in his environment. Valentino was able to change and integrate new ways of meeting his needs.
The group process in creating this presentation was amazing. As a group, I saw how we went through layers of human thinking, feeling, and behaving. Our communication skills improved throughout the project. We were able to resolve conflicts and recognize that each of us had our parts to play. During the creation of the Prezi we drew upon our individual strengths in each component. I had such fun in building the Prezi and incorporating each piece, like putting together a big puzzle.

After reading “What is the What”, it made me feel what it is like growing up in Valentino’s culture; it is easy to imagine how the circumstances would impact someone growing up in them. I feel I know who the boys were, and were with them during their journey, and the famine, war, and murder that they witnessed, and in the compelling voice, of Valentino Achak Deng. What stays with me the most is what a universal concept “the what” is. I see the same thing in other cultures; in Western culture, for example in Ibsen’s play “The Dollhouse” what was called “the wonderful”, and the briefcase in Tarantino’s pop culture movie “Pulp Fiction”, in Eastern culture, Buddhism’s second noble truth is that craving leads to suffering. Whether at the micro level of the individual or the macro level of a society, when we pursue undefined goals that may be unobtainable without any plan, it leads to suffering. Despite this universal knowledge, people continue to seek the intangible, unnamable, possibly unattainable, and full of risk. As a counselor, it is our most important job to help people learn to meet their needs as humans by helping define what “the what” is, decide if it is something that they realistically can obtain, and how they can get it, or to accept that what they have truly makes them happy.
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