An Extraordinary Story Of Mental And Emotional Resilience

26/08/2015 8:48 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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"Some days I wake up and go, 'Man, I wish I grew up in Australia from a very young age'."

Abe was born in northern Sudan and came to Australia as a refugee with his seven brothers and sisters.

The man, who believes he's in his mid-20s, fled to Australia after growing up in a warzone and spending time in a refugee camp in Egypt.

Now the man with an easygoing attitude, who couldn't read or write English until a few years ago, tours the country holding poetry workshops.

"He doesn't know how old he is, he thinks he's in his mid-20s," filmmaker Martin Ingle tells the Huffington Post Australia.

Abe's story makes up season two of Into The Middle Of Things, a documentary series covering Australian voices.

Created by the guys at Gawky Media, Ingle and David Ridley, the feature reveals Abe escaped a possible future as a child soldier, after being born in a Sudanese gaol amid civil war.

Through their web series, Ingle and Ridley travel Australia searching for everyday people with incredible stories. Usually they just pick people off the street, but with Abe his reputation preceded him.

"He travels around the country doing spoken poetry and workshops in the community. We knew him very vaguely through that so when he was coming up to Brisbane we just got in touch with him and hung out really, said Ingle.

"[Spoken word poetry] is his thing, he's a poet now, which is incredible considering not too long ago he couldn't read or write English."

abe poetry slam

Abe during one of his spoken word poetry performances. Image supplied by: Gawky Media

Ingle said what struck them most about Abe was his attitude.

"He crashed on our couch here the day we interviewed him, he had an early flight. We got up around 4am, I got up and found him already awake reading on our couch and I said 'morning, how did you sleep?' he said 'yes, yes very good, sleep is good, but being alive is a blessing.'

"This is 4am in the morning and he's coming out with this stuff."

It's an extraordinary account of mental and emotional resilience, something Abe said came through great effort.

"My pattern of thinking changed because I forced it to," he says in the video.

Ingle said that attitude came through extraordinary circumstance.

"Given that he had such, well you wouldn't even call it a broken childhood, you wouldn't even call it a childhood, to grow up in a war zone and so many years in a refugee camp in Egypt, in a foreign country, and then come here," he said.

"His attitude to living his day-to-day life, his attitude of such gratitude for life is incredible."

To see more from Into The Middle Of Things head here.

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