Readers rarely get a chance to explore the setting of their favorite book. For fans of What Is the What, Dave Eggers went back to the African village where the book’s hero once lived, creating a ten-minute video about the trip.
Sponsored by the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, the video will help raise money to build a new school in the Sudanese village where Valentino Achak Deng was raised. Eggers’ novel tells the story of how Deng fled his home in 1986 during violent conflicts in that region. Click here to see the Foundation’s main video.
Following his own call for writers to work with neighborhood schools, the video series explains how the foundation will build a school near Deng’s old home. Greg Larson, a McSweeney’s editor and foundation leader, explained the project in a GalleyCat interview.
“The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation is working directly with Southern Sudanese communities to help rebuild education in the region, beginning with our educational complex in Valentino’s hometown Marial Bai … We are still raising funds to finish the secondary school in Marial Bai, and every donation goes directly toward bricks, timber, and other building materials; once construction is complete, we will rely on donations to operate the school and to supply it with books, electricity, computers, and other educational materials,” he explained.
“Countless advocacy organizations are actively working to spread awareness of the atrocities that have been committed in Sudan, and to push the U.S. and other governments to respond by pressuring the Sudanese government. We have a list of ‘Ten Things You Can Do For Sudan’ on our website, which outlines these advocacy efforts and other ways people can help,” he concluded.