What Is the What: Eggers & Deng

SnarlsSnarls Posts: 2,537Registered Users
I had a chance to see/hear Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng speak about What Is the What and Valentino's foundation. This was the most moving and inspiring event of the year for me. I highly recommend going to any talk by Eggers or Deng if you have the chance (they're each good but very funny together also).

I was a little afraid that the whole presentation would be little more than a fundraising effort, but there were no requests for support. It was fascinating to hear about what Valentino has done for his home town and how he went about it (he has built a secondary school for boys and girls, although very few families are wiling to let their daughters go to secondary school). The slides they showed really gave a sense of how the project unfolded.
formerly Castella
(my dogs aren't snarly, my hair is)


  • ninja dogninja dog Posts: 23,780Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I like Dave Eggers a lot (don't know Valentino other than the subject of the book, which he was, right?). Lucky you for getting to hear the two of them.
  • NarlyNarly Posts: 23Registered Users
    That is one of my favourite books. I recommend it to everyone. I missed seeing Eggers the last time he came here, but I'm going to try my best for the next round. I love him. And I would have loved to hear Deng speak too!
  • SnarlsSnarls Posts: 2,537Registered Users
    Eggers was very funny, but for the most part he took the back seat and let Valentino talk about the school he has built in Sudan. A number of teachers from the US went there last summer, since the local teachers requested more instruction on how to effectively teach their students. They get books from Kenya and have a science lab. They don't have computers (there's no electricity source to run them) but all in all, it's amazing how much has been done using local labor and resources.

    There was some followup on what has happened to other lost children of the war, and where they are now. A number of young girls were abducted and sold as wives. Usually the purchasing husband keeps these women hidden because there are laws to protect them, if their situation is exposed. Eggers explained that usually, even if the women are able to escape and obtain the right to leave, they are not able to take their children with them. He had a hard time talking about these women having to leave their children. Valentino also talked quite a bit about how hard it is for young women, since they perform so much labor and are typically denied opportunities to get an education. I am personally moved by Valentino's strength of spirit, but also by how he has been able to work with the local elders to bring a school and some change to his community, with their approval and support. Another update: Valentino is now married and has had his first child!
    formerly Castella
    (my dogs aren't snarly, my hair is)
  • susususu Posts: 767Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'm so jealous! I posted this in my "books you couldn't put down" thread. Where was the event?

    By the way, is Valentino's wife anyone we would know from the book?

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