By James Yang, The Executive Navigator Summer Program participant
As humans first appeared on the Earth, they appeared to be the same, farming strenuously to
support their families. However, with the development of the world, the destinies of different
people came to be totally different. Some people were forced to leave their homes for an
unknown place. They had to give up their present lives, such as the lost boys from Sudan. Some
people were good at writing so they wrote famous books with popular characters. For example,
the boy Christopher was created by British writer Mark Haddon in his 2003 novel The Curious
Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Unlike them, l am only an ordinary person in this modern
world, and not known by so many people. However, we all have experienced many obstacles,
which we had never expected. The most important thing is that our adverse destinies are behind
us and we now have the power and strength to lead in our future calling.
During the Second Sudanese Civil War, from I983 to 2005, the government of Sudan used
modern weapons to kill innocent tribal peoples. According to the survivors, the government
poured on them fire from the sky. This period of grievous history is described by three surviving
boys from Sudan in their book, They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky - The True Story of
Three Lost Boys from Sudan (by Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, and Benjamin Ajak).
Most of the survivors did not want to mention this history again, however these three young
men wrote a memoir of their experience. These boys were from the Dinka community group.
Their community was attacked one day so their large family had to be separated to flee. They
experienced hunger, thirst, serious diseases and for some, even death.
However, with their strong wish to be alive, these three from Sudan got to a refugee camp at
last. Eventually, they went to the United States to build a future and a successful life. They
had experienced suffering which they shouldn’t have at a very young age, but they managed to
overcome their past and find a new life, finally.
The main character of the book The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-time, Christopher,
also overcame challenges. Christopher is actually a boy with Asperger’s. He is really smart with
math and physics but he is afraid of meeting people in the community and being touched. He is
so logical that he doesn’t want his life to have even a slight change. Therefore, this book is about
some thoughts and habits of Christopher and also his behaviors when his normal life begins to
change. It precisely shows the pain and suffering he got when he tried to solve his problems step
by step. Finally, he uses his amazing intelligence and detective thoughts to solve a mystery. It
is just like he suddenly met a thunderstorm but he came through it so he became stronger and it
I, James Yang, am an average person. I came to the United States one month ago to study
further. Since the day l came here, a lot of obstacles have come without even a break. l had to
adopt the food in America, such as eating cereal, milk and cheese every day. l had to face the
foreign culture and accept it, such as asking questions as long as you have some problems and
taking responsibility for mistakes you have made even though the mistakes were not made
deliberately. Throughout this one month’s life in the USA, l have gradually adopted Western
life and culture. I know there will be more difficulties for me to overcome but at least I have
overcome many already.
Destiny gives everyone what they have and experience, including both challenges and
understanding. Through both challenges and experiences, we have a full and complete life.
Though we are different – a famous fictional Asperger’s boy, the three boys from Sudan, and
an ordinary student from China, we all have had the challenges that destiny has given us. By
overcoming our challenges, we carve a new life and become new people – stronger and wiser in
James Yang from Shanghai completed The Executive Navigator summer program and is now
enrolled at Breck School as a 10th grader. He read They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky - The
True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan (by Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng, and Benjamin
Ajak) and Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as well as many