Monday is Africa day, so since I'm in the middle of What is the What, I thought it would be good to talk about the Lost Boys of Sudan.
Who are the Lost Boys?
The Lost Boys of Sudan is the name given to the groups of over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups who were displaced and/or orphaned during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983 to 2005); about 2.5 million were killed and millions were displaced. The name "Lost Boys of Sudan" was colloquially used by aid workers in the refugee camp where the boys resided in Africa. The term was revived, as children fled the post-independence violence of South Sudan with Sudan during 2011–13.--Lost Boys of Sudan
Since 1983, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudanese Government have been at war in southern Sudan. The conflict has already claimed more than 500,000 lives and displaced huge numbers of people. Among these were at least 20,000 children, mostly boys, between 7 and 17 years of age who were separated from their families.
These'lost boys' of the Sudan trekked enormous distances over a vast unforgiving wilderness, seeking refuge from the fighting. Hungry, frightened and weakened by sleeplessness and disease, they crossed from the Sudan into Ethiopia and back, with many dying along the way. The survivors are now in camps in Kenya, the Sudan and Uganda.--UnicefI read Running for my Life back in 2012. Here is my short review:
This book is amazing! It is the true life story of a lost boy from Sudan who makes it to America. I have a heart for Africa, especially Sudan, so I found this story fascinating. Lopez is also a Christian whose faith carries him through his many hardships in Sudan and Kenya and after he makes it to America. God provided him a loving family and parents who believed in him.
He went on to compete in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. He now has a foundation that helps many in Sudan. The book was hard to put down, and the author does a great job of pulling you in to become a part of the story. I highly recommend this book.I am currently reading What is the What. Below is part of a New York magazine review about the book:
What Is the What tells the story of a refugee from the second Sudanese civil war (1983–2005), one of the 20,000 so-called Lost Boys who walked thousands of miles from their decimated villages (their homes burned by Arab militiamen, most of the adults slaughtered) to relative safety in Ethiopia and later Kenya.
In a region with no shortage of unimaginable horrors—the ongoing genocide in Darfur has taken some 300,000 lives with no signs of abating—the particulars of the Lost Boys have long stood out as a crushing reminder of the primitive cruelty of African warfare.
Few were older than 10 when they were displaced, and many died during their journey, some of starvation and dehydration, others at the mercy of lions and armed forces. It is a tragedy related by the extraordinarily clear-eyed Valentino Achak Deng, one of 4,000 refugees offered sanctuary in the U.S. in 2001, who is reflecting back while trying to survive an altogether different struggle: assimilation into a culture defined by its short-term memory and chronic indifference to the world beyond its borders.I recently watched the documentary, Lost Boys of Sudan which shows the difficulties of transitioning to life in the United States.
My heart goes out to the countless children of Sudan, and other African countries who have been orphaned by war. The needs are great, but we can all take action and do something, even if it seems small.