Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Lost Boys - Jacob Mach

Earlier this year I began work on a long-term assignment for The New York Times Magazine. Over the course of a few months I got to know Jacob Mach, a Sudanese refugee who had settled in Atlanta, Ga. in 2001. Jacob is one of “The Lost Boys” who fled the Sudanese Civil War in the 1990’s. He and a group of boys from his village escaped genocide by fleeing into the African bush with little more than the clothes on their backs. Those who survived being chased by rebel fighters, crocodiles, and lions settled in a Kenyan refugee camp for the next ten years. Along with nearly 3,000 other lost boys, Jacob resettled in The United States through a State Department program. After gaining American citizenship and completing his undergrad in criminal justice at Georgia State, Jacob set out to become the first Lost Boy to work as a Law Enforcement Officer in the United States. It was amazing to witness Jacob's determination and faith in Jesus that allowed him to overcome the obstacles and setbacks along his journey in America. Read the story and watch the documentary here.

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Sudanese Lost Boy Jacob Mach sits for a portrait on the front steps of his Habitat for Humanity house in Southeast Atlanta, Ga. Luke Sharrett for The New York Times Magazine

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The aging entrance to the Atlanta Police Department Pistol Range is sandwiched between a landfill and sewage treatment plant in Atlanta, Ga. 

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Jacob Mach (Center) draws his service pistol on the firing line on his second day of firearms training at the Atlanta Police Department Pistol Range on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga.

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Jacob Mach (Middle) sits amongst classmates with a fresh paper silhouette target after a disappointing shooting performance on his second day of firearms training at the Atlanta Police Department Pistol Range.

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Paper silhouette targets are reflected in Jacob Mach's eye protection following his last qualifying attempt on the last day of firearms training on Friday, March 22, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga. Mach would need to pass the sixth and final qualifying attempt to continue training at the Atlanta Police Academy. 

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Jacob Mach stands at the firing line after scoring center-mass hits on two paper silhouette targets.

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A .40 caliber shell casing is ejected from Jacob Mach's Smith and Wesson M&P handgun while qualifying on the Atlanta Police Department Pistol Range.

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Jacob Mach reacts after passing his last qualifying attempt on the last day of firearms training. Mach passed the last two of his six allotted qualifying attempts to continue training at the Atlanta Police Academy. 

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Spent .40 caliber shell casings litter the ground at the Atlanta Police Department Pistol Range.

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An Atlanta Police firearms instructor pushes a shopping cart full of used paper silhouette targets.

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Atlanta Police Academy Cadets assemble into formation on the first day of EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator Course) training in Southwest Atlanta at the Fulton County Public Safety Training Center on Monday, April 1, 2013 in Atlanta, Ga. 

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Atlanta Police Academy Class Coordinator Michael Carter casts a shadow while instructing cadets during EVOC training in Southwest Atlanta.

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Jacob Mach prepares to execute a parking maneuver during EVOC training.

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Jacob Mach looks out the rear window of a cruiser while reversing during a timed and scored practice test.

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Due to several infractions, Mach failed the EVOC driving test and was reluctantly dropped from the Atlanta Police Academy by his instructors. Compared to most of his classmates Mach had minimal experience behind the wheel of an automobile. 

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Jacob Mach listens to opening arguments from leadership candidates at a Sudanese community meeting following a worship service of the local Sudanese church on afternoon of Sunday, June 2, 2013. The church meets every Sunday afternoon at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Stone Mountain, Ga. 

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Jacob's five-year-old son, Mach Jacob Mach, naps on a pew with a fever during church.

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Jacob Mach is seen in his cubicle at the Code Compliance Office in the Atlanta City Hall before spending the day inspecting residential properties on Monday, June 4, 2013. After being dropped from the Police Academy Mach was offered a job with the City of Atlanta and was paired up with a previous classmate from the Atlanta Police Academy, Officer T.J. English, for on-the-job training. 

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Jacob Mach is seen during a residential code inspection during his training in the City of Atlanta's Code Compliance Office.

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(L-R) Jacob Mach, Code Enforcement Officer T.J. English, and property owner Glenn Green inspect a run down apartment complex slated for renovation in East Atlanta during a code inspection.

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Jacob Mach stands for a portrait while on the job outside a run-down apartment complex in East Atlanta, Ga.

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Atlanta Police Officer Steven Sweet accompanied Mach and his training officer T.J. English on the inspection due to the possibility of encountering vagrants or illegal squatters in the run-down apartment complex.

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Jacob Mach uses an iPad to document a vacant property as part of a residential code inspection during his training in the City of Atlanta's Code Compliance Office.

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Jacob Mach uses an iPad to document a vacant property during a residential code inspection alongside Code Enforcement Officer T.J. English.

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Jacob Mach enters a court room inside the Atlanta Municipal Court during his training in the City of Atlanta's Code Compliance Office on Tuesday, June 5, 2013. Mach observed court proceedings dealing with code violations as a part of his on-the-job training.

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A neighborhood scene near Jacob Mach's house in Southeast Atlanta, Ga. 

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Mach's wife, Lith Nhial Chol, dresses their son Mach Jacob Mach in the living room of their home in Southeast Atlanta, Ga. 

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Jacob Mach puts on his suit jacket after standing for a portrait outside his house in Southeast Atlanta, Ga. 

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Lith Nhial Chol, Jacob Mach, and their son Mach Jacob Mach stand for a family photo in front of their home in Atlanta, Ga. on Tuesday, June 5, 2013.

Thanks for looking!


**Photos copyright Luke Sharrett and The New York Times Magazine**

3 comments:

Mbrown said...

Thanks for taking me along for the ride...literally. Full of compassion and artistry. As usual.

Kent Nishimura said...

Solid work Luke!

Joseph Best said...

Jacob March is really an epitome of what also what a good immigrant can do and give his country and his fellow people, as well as what such country and people can provide for somebody. The means that makes this possible should not only be preserved, but should be upheld. For not only is this where the spirit of liberty is at, but that of nation-building as well.

Joseph @ Best Law Associates