Orangeville Banner – Oct 05, 2015
By Alexandra Heck
Toronto based actor, recording artist and former child soldier Emmanuel Jal launch a new health product called Jal Gua at Sobeys in Orangeville on Saturday (Oct. 3).
Jal was born in South Sudan during a time of war. He lost most of his family in the war and was eventually recruited as a child soldier in Ethiopia.
Jal was then smuggled into Kenya by a British aid worker. There, he says, is where he discovered music.
“Music is the place where I was able to see heaven,” he said. “I was able to become a child again. I found my healing in that process.”
Since that time, Jal has released five records and has been nominated for Juno Awards.
He moved to Canada in 2012 and was featured in the movie, ‘The Good Lie,’ with Reese Witherspoon in 2014. Jal has also rubbed shoulders with actress Angelina Jolie and former US president Bill Clinton.
“It was an amazing experience, he said, about working with Witherspoon.
“She has the spirit of a child, a big heart.”
It was while on tour that Jal discovered the need for his health food innovation.
He would become tired and run down on the road. At times, he would completely hit a wall in terms of energy and fall ill.
“Why am I like this?” he asked himself.
That was when he began experimenting with foods to give him energy.
“I just mixed up things and I drank them,” he said.
Sorghum, the main ingredient in Jal Gua is a staple food in Sudan. Jal Gua is a blend of sorghum and moringa, which is also a common food in Africa.
“That’s what we eat back in the village,” he said.
Sorghum has over 240,000 antioxidants in it, 140 per cent of one’s daily dose of iron and 45 per cent vitamin C.
“I use it to put in the nutrients that I’m missing,” he said.
After speaking with a lady from Niagara College, who told him what he had was marketable, he sought a manufacturer for his product.
He asked the Celiac Association recommend a company that would be able to work with him.
They told Jal that a company called Pilling Foods, based out of Fergus was the right match.
Husband and wife team, Trent and Kasia Pilling are an Orangeville couple that run the company.
When Kasia got the call from Jal, she was sure it was a mistake.
“I thought he dialed the wrong number,” said Kasia.
However, Jal was persistent. He called a second time, and Kasia was stunned that the artist was interested in working with them.
The couple instantly bonded with Jal for his charisma and personality.
“We are truly proud that we are working with him,” she said.
Jal Gua is now sold in Sobeys locations across the country. Proceeds from the sale of this product go to Gua Africa, Jal’s charity which works to give sponsorship, support and education to survivors of war.
“I believe peace is when my belly is full,” said Jal.
For more information about Jal Gua, click here.