Benjamin, Alepho and Benson came to America from the refugee camps in Kenya. They were boys when they walked across the Sudanese desert after being orphaned by government bombing of their villages. The first-person accounts of their boyhood horrors can be found in the book They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky. These boys, now young men living in America, had to struggle and compete for their United Nations passport to America. They paid a great price for that “privilege”. Here are their stories:
Things got worse when the UN cut back the [food] rations and I soon learned how it goes in a refugee camp. There is food and there is education. The education is fine, but the food is not enough. You have to choose between education and food. If you don’t want an education you can make a business for your survival. If you want education you have to take the little bit of food that is given by UNHCR and eat only once a day. …My cousins and I managed this. We went to school and ate once a day in the evening. But reading was really difficult because when you read there was a certain cloud because of hunger. Its black when you look at the words in the book. The black covers the words and you can’t see because of that color in your eyes because of the hunger.
Many days in Kakuma camp I hadn’t been able to study because when I was hungry I couldn’t think and if I couldn’t think I couldn’t read or do anything else. But the process of going to America gave me new dedication that motivated me to study even when I was hungry.
I told myself, “OK everybody speaks English in America. If I go there and I don’t speak English that will be very embarrassing. I need to learn so I can communicate with everybody.”
The missionaries had opened a new library in the camp. I went there every day and read. I had a dictionary with quite a few words in it and I would look up all the words I didn’t know. I studied American cities and states, their economies and what they provided and looked through all the pictures….”
Imagine someone starving, dreaming that he has plenty of food inside him. But when he wakes to have his delicious food, there is nothing. He realizes that he was dreaming and goes back to sleep with no hope in his heart. He fears he is going to die early in the morning because he has spent three days without food or water. But, by the will of God, early in the morning, the guy gets lucky. He finds food in wild trees. He thanks the Almighty and starts to feed on one of those wild trees.
That is how it felt in 1998 when the process for the Lost Boys to go to America began. It gave back hope.
Why am I telling you about this today? Because the same President that bombed these boys’ villages is bombing villages today. President Basir of Sudan has been killing, maiming and displacing his people for decades. Today the ravaged area is Kordofan, once a province in Sudan, it has been divided into 3 states as it presents today. It encompasses the Nuba Mountains where approximately 50 million people live. Yesterday I posted a video of what is happening to the people there. Today the atrocities continue.
As I have to limit what I eat so I don’t gain weight and I lay my sick 14-year-old dog on a pillow beside me in a queen-sized bed, I see children here in caves. I see men and women dead and injured, homes bombed and nothing to eat or drink anywhere. AND the government is not allowing humanitarian aid into the area. I am reminded to be thankful for all I have. I am reminded to pray. I am brought low thinking that I deserve release from anything that I am facing personally in light of the plight of these innocent people. They remind me to pay attention and to stand against injustice no matter where it presents itself. I am thankful for what this news has done within me. It has made me hungry…hungry for God’s answers for these people.
I am angry with the United Nations. They have a long history of failure in such situations. The church of Jesus Christ does so much better. IF WE CAN GET IN! May we Christians be wise as serpents and gentle as doves, fearless in our compassion and never be satisfied till all have the opportunity to be so.
All is grace,