Lynnette and I watched Lost Boys of Sudan this past weekend. Just like God Grew Tired of Us, this film follows the fascinating journey of Sudan's Lost Boys as they are plucked from their refugee camp life and transported to the US. While Lost Boys are not native of Darfur necessarily, their story is important and can give insight into the horrendous downward spiral that is modern day Sudan.
As one might imagine, going from eating meager rations one day to having more food that you know what to do with the next can be quite a transforming experience. As can seeing your landscape littered with tall buildings whereas you previously only saw huts barely taller than you.
Each film chronicles a set of boys who tell of their fight for the lives when their homelands in Southern Sudan were raided by government militias. These young men are called the Lost Boys because many do not know where their parents are. If they are lucky, they might be part of the rare few who reconnect somehow with their mother, who was taken to another African country.
The Lost Boys who survived the thousand mile trek for survival were resettled eventually in refugees camps in Kenya. Then, little by little, some are given asylum in America through groups like Catholic Charities and the YMCA.
But adjusting to life here is not easy. Many rely heavily on aid from churches and other groups while the improve their English, get a job, and try to finish their education. Some Lost Boys become isolated, having been separated from the close ties they developed in the refugee camp. Others can't quite grasp the language enough to get driver's licenses or decent-paying jobs or begin a higher education.
But some do pave a way here, and after graduating or saving enough money, want to return to Sudan to help better the lives of many who are still there.
The story of any Lost Boy is fascinating and worthy of listening to. Chances are, some Lost Boys may have been resettled near you. For more information, check out the Lost Boys Foundation.