I walk to meet Dimas and Anismis Bakini and instantly notice their clothes. They are wearing nicely pressed pants and clean, buttoned up shirts. They know I’m interviewing them, so I can imagine they thought it would be gracious to dress smart. They have always been so polite.
Dimas 21, and Anismis 19, arrived with their family in Cowra, Australia in 2005. Cowra is a small country town in the Central West region of New South Wales. It is my hometown and for Dimas and Anismis, it has been theirs as well. The boys enrolled in the local public school where my mother taught and this is how I met them, that and the fact that it’s a small country town. Everyone knows everyone, especially if your family has just arrived from Sudan.
As far as I can remember I have always had a deep interest and passion for Africa and the people that inhabit such a breathtaking, yet devastating continent. I remember, in Cowra, asking Dimas about Africa, Sudan and some of the political issues that were happening there, only to receive vague replies, “It’s very complicated” Dimas would say. Interestingly, I don’t recall ever asking why the family left Sudan. I just assumed it was because of the ethnic and religious conflict that was engulfing the country. Coupled with the fact that the family was Christian, Anismis explains that one of the main reasons the family left Sudan was to “give the children a better education, and just a better and brighter future… If we were living back home, we wouldn’t be as privileged as we are now.”
In Cowra, I knew the boys separately as Dimas was in my year at school and Anismis was in the year lower. During the interview, I listened to Dimas and Anismis speak warmly of each other as brothers. It was simply wonderful to be listening to them because, personally, I remember they used to squabble as teenagers. Dimas remembered times when he and his brother would be playing competitive soccer and they’d work tactics together on the field without having to speak to one another, “we’d have a mutual understanding, me and my brother.”
Dimas and Anismis have achieved outstanding accomplishments since arriving in Australia. Both are talented at soccer and both have been heavily involved in the local community. They are passionate and driven, both pursuing a career in the medical field, with the hopes of heading back to Sudan one day. Both see the “lack of education and lack of doctors” as a devastating aspect of Sudanese life that has caused “unnecessary suffering.”
‘Brothers of Sudan’ is a story of memory, of culture, of brothers and of hopes. Dimas and Anismis’ story is important to me because it’s personal, untold stories like these, which drive me to be journalist. I want to be a messenger for these stories. I want to find them, investigate them and present them to the world.