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Old 06-18-07, 11:00 PM   #1
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Hey.. My buddy got his photo in the papers! Now he's like a celebrity. :D

Read Article and see photo here --> http://www.townonline.com/belmont/news/x434193642 <--






Majak continues to help African village


Isaac Majak continues to help out the African village where he grew up. GateHouse News Service.

Thu Jun 14, 2007, 09:32 AM EDT


Belmont - Amidst the gunshots, the screaming women, and the fire-ravaged village you can hear the soft pitter-patter of shoeless feet moving. Listen closely, and you hear another pair of tiny feet join. As the small feet move onward, thousands more join in an effort to get away from the screaming, the suffering, the dead. The soft pitter-patter becomes a deafening roar upon which the world continues to turn its blind eye.

These are the footsteps of frightened boys who have witnessed atrocities unimaginable to the world outside Africa.

Belmont High School graduate Isaac Majak was one of those boys.
When rebel insurgents began their war against the Sudanese government in 1983, it marked the beginning of perhaps the most brutal and savage civil war in history. Troops from the government raped, enslaved, and killed their way through Sudan. In their blood-soaked wake thousands of young boys and some girls were left to fend for themselves.

These children became known as the “Lost Boys,” a group that totaled over 30,000 at one point. After fleeing from southern Sudan, the Lost Boys embarked on a journey filled with unspeakable horrors.

Oftentimes, a smaller member of the traveling pack would simply drop dead of exhaustion or starvation and be left for dead. The Boys would move on, every so often glancing backward at the vultures pecking at the fallen boy’s body.

With only sporadic help from the Red Cross because of the widespread violence, the Lost Boys trekked toward refugee camps in Ethiopia. For three years, the children stayed in the refugee camps before being chased out by the Ethiopian government.

Forced to journey on foot once again, the Lost Boys began to make their way back through Sudan and into Kenya. Along the way they were forced to cross the treacherous River Gilo, where thousands of boys either drowned or were devoured by crocodiles.

Upon reaching refugee camps in Kenya, only 10,000 of the original 30,000 children remained.

Isaac was one of those survivors.
Isaac is a tall, skinny man with short-cropped hair and eyes that depict no hint of the horrors they have witnessed. His face is kind and his smile contrasts brilliantly with his dark features. Isaac is humble and shy, friendly and intelligent. When you meet him, you wish that his troubles never started, and you really wish that they ended when he reached America.

Alas, Isaac had the incredibly difficult task of trying to assimilate into a society with which he had no prior experience; he did not know the language, and he did not know the people.

“[Isaac] and all the other Lost Boys were asked to become part of our culture,” said Community Service Coordinator Alice Melnikoff. “They were really straddling two worlds. As a survivor he felt strong ties to his culture, but American society was looking for him to assimilate. It was tough. Because of his experience and his perseverance, he has become an inspiration to many of us.”

Isaac had to overcome obstacles greater than the language barrier or loneliness growing up in Sudan. His brothers and sisters were killed when they were trapped in a burning school building.

After four, sometimes difficult years, Isaac graduated from Belmont High School and was the recipient of a scholarship to attend the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, where he could pursue his dream of becoming an electrician.

He put his dream on hold. Shortly into his college career at, Isaac decided to put his education on the backburner. Isaac had visited the surviving members of his village in Africa, including his mother, and came back to Massachusetts with a mission.

Struck by the comparison of his old village to the United States, Isaac resolved to help.

He approached Melnikoff, who was more than happy to assist. Melnikoff’s class last year launched an enormously successful drive with the support of the Belmont community that provided clothing and school supplies to Isaac’s village.

After visiting a second time, Isaac identified three more needs that Americans might take for granted. First on Isaac’s list were fabrics and a sewing machine in order to make school uniforms. Many children in Isaac’s village go to school naked or are adorned with rags. Next, Isaac asked for bicycles for the eight teachers who need transportation to commute to and from school. Isaac also hopes to build a proper school-building in the near future, in place of the huts where classes are taught.

Currently, Isaac works three different jobs. One hundred hour weeks are the norm, as are numerous sleepless nights in a row. Sometimes, if Isaac does not have enough time in-between jobs to get rest in a bed, he will sleep on a bench at Alewife train station. All of this not for his own benefit, but for the multiple people he supports in his village.

“Quite a feat for a lonely boy who works at Dunkin’ Donuts,” said longtime friend and provider Ellen Morgan. “He sends all his money to Africa, rarely spends a penny on himself.”

Isaac and Belmont High School need help.
This year’s Community Service class has raised over $1,000 from various fund-raisers, but Isaac and Melnikoff are looking to widen the community involvement.

If you wish to donate you should send checks payable to Belmont High School, noting “Isaac’s Village” in the memo line, and mail them to Alice Melnikoff at Belmont High School, 221 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478.

Even if the world’s eye is blind, yours is open wide.


—Submitted by Josh Levin-Scherz
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Old 06-18-07, 11:34 PM   #2
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*BUMP*



come on ppl.. I know a guy who got his own *exclusive* feature in the news. He's now 'famous' (locally) - so that makes me the guy who is friends with a famous person. Doesn't that mean 'anything' to you ppl -? (for real).
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Old 06-18-07, 11:38 PM   #3
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Well, if anything it means to me that you have an amazing friend. It sounds like he is in for a lot of hard work, and that he's going into it completely selflessly. I love that quote at the end. How did you meet him?
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Old 06-18-07, 11:51 PM   #4
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Man, we go 'way back'.. If he make it 'big' I might even become his agent or a director of his charitable foundation or something. . . Yeah, he is hard working for real. Contrary to the article however, his english is not bad at all. What else.. He is single, if there are any single attractive young women with a good heart and good income - who can cook, (and who live in the area) PM me, maybe we can arrange something.


btw, why so melancholy in your new avatar, Shadiyah?
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Old 06-18-07, 11:56 PM   #5
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Well, I am sure he is lucky to have had you as a friend for so long! That is truly a rare treasure.

Melancholy? Hmmm I guess I didn't really think of it that way. My friend took a bunch of pictures of me and I thought the expression on my face was an interesting, thoughtful one. Perhaps contemplative? Anyway, I guess it explains one of the many moods I was feeling throughout the whole process.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:00 AM   #6
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yeah.. probably because it is B&W maybe. I see it different now since you mention. Btw, what do you think of the picture of my friend? You know of any east coast young women who *might* be interested? Genuine nice guys like him are a rarity indeed.
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Old 06-19-07, 12:05 AM   #7
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I think he's a fine looking young man! I wish I knew of some women that fit the description in the area, but alas, I don't.
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Old 06-19-07, 02:14 AM   #8
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Hey. . what happened to the title of the thread. I believe it was originally:


''Hey.. My buddy got his photo in the papers! Now he's like a celebrity and ****''


He's not just 'like a celebrity' .. -he's like a celebrity and ****. Absolutely.
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Old 06-19-07, 02:41 AM   #9
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Yeah ok, you bumped it in like half an hour you ding-dong.

Hey, that is pretty cool though - he sounds like one hell of a guy

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He's not just 'like a celebrity' .. -he's like a celebrity and ****. Absolutely.
For real. Uptight mods.
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Old 06-19-07, 03:22 AM   #10
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Living vicariously eh, Red?

Congrats to your buddy.
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Old 06-19-07, 06:51 AM   #11
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Hey, Red! Tell your friend I think he's doing great work and that makes him a celeb in my book anytime!
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Old 06-19-07, 06:52 AM   #12
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Uptight mods.
Huh????????????????????????????????????????????????
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Old 06-19-07, 06:57 AM   #13
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Very nice Red!!!

You friend sounds interesting and amazing. Our world needs more people like him out there.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:48 AM   #14
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Wow! What a great bloke.

What's he doing hanging out with a weirdo like you? Are you sure you really know him?
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Old 06-19-07, 10:01 AM   #15
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Sounds like a good guy. Can't imagine what he's gone through to get this far.
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Old 06-19-07, 10:23 AM   #16
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Yeah he seems like a pretty cool guy!


What's he doin' hangin' 'round wit YOU?


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Old 06-19-07, 10:23 AM   #17
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We had a kid at school here least year - who was from the same area/same predictament - and while he was finishing school he had already started a fund and was raising money to build water wells to the area he was from. There was a lot about that in our college newspaper and also the media got a hold of it too - especially when he got the first well built. Great people!
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Old 06-20-07, 12:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
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We had a kid at school here least year - who was from the same area/same predictament - and while he was finishing school he had already started a fund and was raising money to build water wells to the area he was from. There was a lot about that in our college newspaper and also the media got a hold of it too - especially when he got the first well built. Great people!


Y'up.. Truly, adversity breeds the very best ppl. Isaac's father and four of his sisters and brothers were murdered by the northern sudanese islamic army forces, - which were ordered into southern sudan to kill every living thing in the villages such as his during the North/South civil war. Only Issac and his younger brother survived - by running and hiding in the bushes when the trucks of army soldiers came. He and his brother and some other children from the village who managed to escape were then trailed by the Sudanese army forces day and night as they made their way east toward ethiopia (the army ppl didn't want to let the survivors escape - becz then they could speak out about the atrocities that they were commiting). When they got to the ethiopian border, the ethiopian junta regime had already set up a blockade consisting of thousands of soldiers at check points along the border to prevent the passage of refugees.. so Isaac, his brother and a few others had to befriend some ppl who knew of ways to cross the border. After escaping from the Sudan into ethiopia, he was forced to relocate to Kenya. He came to america in 2001, six years ago. When the sept. 11 attacks happened he wanted to join the army and go fight bin laden in afghanistan - but his school teachers and counselors advised against it and wanted him instead to pursue a college education. He now works 105 - 115 hrs a week (nearly every waking moment) to save for money to build a school for his home town in Sudan. His village still has not recovered from the effects of the two decade long civil war and there is still huge poverty there and many of the ppl lack the basic necessities. If you would like to help Isaac and the ppl of his hometown or read more about them, pls visit his website @;



--> www.pajaaktiok-southsudan.com <--

-> http://pajaaktiok-southsudan.com/ind...id=2&Itemid=29 <-





Last edited by red house; 06-20-07 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 06-22-07, 10:21 AM   #19
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Very cool.
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