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Journey's End
Sudan's "lost boys" finally find a home

The children who would later become the "lost boys" of Sudan were taught the Gospel in missionary-founded churches, but not that humans had landed on the moon. Only dimly aware of what lay beyond their country's borders, they were ill prepared for the epic journey into the modern world forced upon them by Sudan's civil war.
In the late 1980s, government troops attacked camps where boys were caring for cattle far from their villages. Separated from their families, thousands of boys fled the country on foot. Those who dropped along the way were left unburied. Water was rationed by the teaspoon. The boys sought safety in Ethiopia and Kenya, some journeying more than a thousand miles (1,500 kilometers). Over the past three years, the State Department has resettled 3,600 here in the United States.

Abraham Malou Mac, who thinks he is 22, arrived in Michigan with an assigned birthday of January 1, owing the U.S. government for his plane ticket, and with only the vaguest idea of how to open a car door. But local church members and a caring neighbor became surrogate parents to Abraham and seven other "boys" placed in Grand Haven, a small city that is 96 percent white. Within a year all had jobs. Four, including Abraham, own cars. Groups of four pay the rent on a pair of two-bedroom apartments.

On one Sunday Abraham opened worship at the First Christian Reformed Church with a hymn in Dinka, his native language. Abraham says he is grateful for the comforts of Middle America, but also for the faith he learned through hardship. "Americans believe in God," he says, "but they don't know what God can do."

—Karen E. Lange

Web Links

U.S. Department of State
Learn about the United States' refugee resettlement program, including a list of the countries around the world sending refugees and the states that welcome them. 

Free World Map

Barry, Ellen. "The lost boys," Boston Globe, January 7, 2001.

Corbett, Sara. "The long, long, long road to Fargo," New York Times, April 1, 2001.

Page, Candace. "Lost Boys of Sudan: Newest Vermonters," Burlington Free Press, December 17, 2002.


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