Refugees enter the United States from all over the world every year facing an uncertain future in America. Follow the lives of four men from Sudan as they spend their first year in the United States. God Grew Tired of Us is a feature length documentary narrated by Nicole Kidman that shows the struggles refugees face settling in America. The men in the documentary are considered “Lost Boys” having fled their homes years ago due to violence in Sudan and settling in a refugee camp in Kenya before being sent to the United States.
The men struggle to adapt to American food, alarm clocks, showers, and other basic necessities that Americans take for granted. Some of the challenges they face are not so obvious such as living with only three roommates and facing discrimination because they are used to walking around in large groups. In many ways it helps Americans to see the parts of our culture that may be strange to people from other countries especially those who are not used to our sense of individualism. Working several low wage jobs the men strive to reach their goals to attend college and survive in a foreign place.
The message of the film is complex. On the one hand, they are leaving a refugee camp to come to the United States, a wealthy country with many opportunities. On the other hand, they are thrown into a foreign culture where they often feel lonely and out of place. In some ways the refugee camp seems like a happier place for them although there were no opportunities for them there.
Full of hope and love the men work to achieve their goals of attending college and reuniting with their families.
God Grew Tired of Us is available on Amazon and Netflix.
- National Geographic has several lessons and maps related to the Lost Boys of Sudan and God Grew Tired of Us.
- Have your students examine the question “Should the Lost Boys have been brought to the United States?” stating evidence from the film about the pros and cons of the Lost Boys living in the United States.