The Lost Boys of Sudan

The incredible story of refugees escaping from the Sudanese civil war

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By Edee M.

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The term “Lost Boys of Sudan” refers to the thousands of boys who ran from the civil war in Sudan in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These boys walked thousands of miles, barefoot, through the desert. About 12,000 of them made it to Ethiopian refugee camps. After living in these camps for four years there were forced out at gun point across a river filled with crocodiles. One of the Lost Boys later said in an interview that there were bodies floating in the river. One thousand to two thousand people died. They were shot, eaten by crocodiles, or they drowned. The boys that did survive still had to walk another 1,000 miles to make it to Kenya.  It was now 1992.  The boys lived in Kenyan refugee camps for 8 years.

Then, the USA decided to take some boys.  Every Sunday a plane came to pick up 90 boys and take them to the USA. These boys had never experienced winter. Most of them did not even know what a fork was. This was a big transition for them. There was a man who helped teach the boys what their new life in America might be like.

About 4,000 boys moved to the USA before the September 11 attacks in 2001.  After 9/11, the United States government didn’t let any more boys into the USA. The boys who were already here were allowed to stay. They wanted to help the people who had been hurt in 9/11. Some Lost Boys tried to donate blood but they were denied. In an interview a former Lost Boy said that he had collected money for the survivors. He only had a few dollars but he sent it anyways.

Two lost boys, Joseph and Abraham, were brought to the USA. Joseph had been the doctor’s assistant in his village. Abraham had been the minister.

Joseph went to Kansas City. He wanted to go to medical school. Unfortunately, he was never able to fulfill this dream. He said that he felt he had not succeeded in America because of this. When Joseph was an adult, he found out that his mother was alive. He Skyped his mother. He had not seen her in over 20 years.

Abraham moved to Atlanta. Only a few months after he arrived, he was invited to be the guest deacon at the local church. He later became a bishop. He went back to the South Sudan to preach to and bless the people. He now lives in the USA part time and in the South Sudan part time.