Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Lost Boys

Someday, I'll be reading back through my blog post printouts.  And I'll come to this section where we overhauled our life, gave away our things, and started down a new revised path in life.  And for my own sake, I want to remember the message I read on the Lost Boys website, which threw a match into a pool of gasoline.  

I remember stumbling across the website by chance...staring stunned at my computer screen...and then not leaving the site for another hour.  Coming back several more times.  And then writing Julie, teary-eyed, asking what I could do.  

I've now met these persons that were just an abstract notion when I found the website.   I've looked into their eyes.  Watched my children play with theirs.  Heard them talk with articulate, amazing eloquence about their experience. And I see that what blew my mind in reading about them is even more so in meeting them. 

This is where it all began.

The Lost Boys and Girls are young war refugees who survived a 23 year genocide in Southern Sudan. As children 3-7 years old, they saw their villages bombed and burned and their families murdered before their eyes. Most were orphaned during the attacks on their villages. They fled on thousand mile treks through the desert seeking refuge. Along the way they were attacked by northern government soldiers and slave catchers. They hid in the grass from helicopter gunships and were attacked by wild animals in the night. Of 30,000 who began the trek, only 11,000 survived. They endured chronic illness, thirst, starvation, and personal loss that scared their souls but never beat them. They spent 14 years of their young lives in the refugee camps of Ethiopia and Kenya where their food ration was one cup of corn meal to last 15 days. In the weeks before 9-11 almost 4,000 were brought to asylum in the US. Over 40 settled in Hampton Roads.

The collective motto of the Lost Boys is “Education is our Mother and our Father.” Through their faith, hard work, and dogged determination, many are now in their 3rd and 4th year of college. This seems an unimaginable achievement for young people who came to the US only 6 years ago with no material possessions, knowing little English, and who had never even seen a light switch before they arrived. These young persons are walking miracles. All who meet them are humbled and inspired.


92.9 The Wave's Jennifer Roberts said...

My high school BFF lives in Richmond and has taken under her wing and family of 12 Sudanese refugees (one mom, 11 kids, I think?) and tutors them, takes them out for fun, plants gardens of food with them, teaches them how to live here, is an advocate for the kids at their school (when no one else will step up) and basically mothers these kids the way they need. It's been about 5 years now, a very long and hard road for them.... but it's in her blood, this family. I had the pleasure of meeting 5 of the beautiful girls on a trip down here to the beach. They'd never been swimming in their lives. It was amazing.... I blogged about it, but now can't find the link... I'll keep looking :) Amazing stories to be heard from these families.

Sarahbeth said...

Ooh, I'd love the blog link if you find it. It's incredible to see the persons we pass every day, and the stories they hold. I'm hoping to have one of the mothers come to speak at MOPS next fall.