Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Community Celebrates the Life of an Elder

The Ayuaal Community joyously celebrates the life of our beloved community elder, Uncle Dengdit de Lueth-Kethakoy who passed away on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at around 5:00pm. Uncle William Deng Lueth, as he was often called, was born in 1906. His generation witnessed the historic war between Kongor and Ayuaal around 1918-1920. His generation, named Chol Ayuaal, symbolizes the need to fill the gaps that the losses of this war created.

Ayuaal Community elders testify that only two other individuals of that generation remain alive: Atem-Lonhdit de Adoor and Adoor Juach Loi. His age mates were Joh Deng Bior and Akoi-Lonhdit de Jurkuch. Deng Lueth was a husband of three wives: Ayak Marier, Akoi Yuang Bul and Kuei Akol Chol. He was blessed with ten children. Ajoh, Mayen, Makuol, and Adol with his first wife Ayak. Akuien and Agau with his second wife Akoi. Atong, Adit, Bol, and Khot with his third wife Kuei.

Over 800 community members came to celebrate his life and witness his funeral rights. Many stayed at his home for six days formulating ritual functions, singing ululation, and joyously dancing to congratulate him for his wonderful efforts on Earth and to say good by to him with thankful hearts. Many contributed to support the celebration. Jurkuch Barach Jurkuch offered funds and transportation in honor of the deceased. In all, community members donated cash, sorghum, oil, goats, bulls, and drinks.

In his 103 years, Deng Lueth never left home for refuge. He survived all the famines, wars, and tribal conflicts that have plagued the Ayuaal community. When disaster was at its most severe destroying Bor in 1992, Deng Lueth ventured only as far as Pajook—a neighboring village.

Deng Lueth was known for his excellent public speaking and critical thinking, his charismatic leadership, and quick response to any situation. He was known to be giving and valued peace and unity. He contributed a great deal to the community and was one of the founders of the Wangulei Court Centre in 1972. He also served as Assistant Commissioner of Kongor Division (now Twic East County) in 1989. He ruled as sub-chief of Acath Community and was promoted as an elder of the Ayuaal Community as a whole.

Deng Lueth will be remembered for his sweet tongue, invigorating words, and his love and brightness among others in the community. Before his death, he called a meeting to spread blessings to his family members and officially announce that his death was near. He declared his remaining first son, Makuol Deng Lueth, would continue his leadership.

Deng Lueth will always be a community role model, since he is alive in his words, vision, and deeds.