Today I watched a documentary on a group of Boys from Sudan, which is a place in Africa. Large numbers of young children flocked to refugee camps to escape the horrors of war and a few got to come to America. Separated from their families in the war, they grew up in refugee camps with other children and are now again separated from their pseudo family, the other lost children of the refugee camps. This is why they are known as the lost boys, they are lost from their families with a new life in a new place.
In America life is very strange and different for them. It may seem safer, but they are lonely for their friends and family. I find it interesting that they all note how unwelcoming most American’s are to them because they are misunderstood. The Sudan lost boys had never before seen a shower, a toilet, a refrigerator and where used to throwing garbage out the window verse a trash can. Over the decade in their transition to American life they not only have adapted to our culture but also acclimated into the work environment.
My heart bleeds for these young men. I can’t imagine having to run away at thirteen so that I could survive and never seeing your family again. Not knowing if you will ever see your family again and then if you do get to hear back from them you hear horror stories of murder, famine, starvation, some family members having to live without clothing and destruction of homes. The program that brought them back to America, gave them a chance to help their families. To further themselves academically and fiscally. Many of these men work extra jobs to help their friends in the camps that they left behind and their families if they have reconnected with them. Unfortunately even when they send the money, sometimes their families don’t even receive it or it takes a long time.
Now these Lost Boys are all over the United States and Europe but many are still left behind. Many in the thousands, malnourished and without families. What can we do? It’s NOT about your money. You don’t need to wire money or hand it over to the ones that made it to America to make a difference. While watching this documentary, I think of just the little acts of kindness. How much different it would be for them to see a few smiling faces, to be invited to your church, to have a conversation, to have new American friends. What would America be like if we welcomed people who where new or in need? I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t go on a mission trip if you are called, or donate your money- by all means if you feel like doing that, go for it. You may be from somewhere else or maybe you grew up here, all I’m asking is that you take a moment to be incredibly thankful for what you have and realize how little it matters that money seems to rule America. I want to encourage you to say hello to someone new today. If you know someone is from somewhere else or had a rough go of it, invite them for a cup of coffee. You’ve had a bad day at least once, right?
“Be the change you want to see in the world.” –Ghandi
The movie that I watched was called, “God Grew Tired of Us” and is a true account of these survivors. Men and children who escape and now can not go home or they will be persecuted.
“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 (1983–2005); 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 camps where the boys resided in Africa.” — Wikipedia
- More of the Story
- Alliance for the Lost Boys
- The Lost Boys on Facebook
- Interview with one of the lost boys by my friend Marco Santana (writer for the Des Moines Register) – A really good article.