War is a cruel thing and it always has some repercussions around the globe. Sudan has always been on the brink of war between the people and the government. It all began in the year 1955 when the First Sudanese Civil War broke across the country between the northern and the southern Sudan region. Towards 1972 some agreements were made and some decisions were taken that would end the war and bring peace to the region, but that had failed completely. Just eleven years after it the Second Sudanese Civil War tore the nation apart as the Central Sudanese government and Sudan People’s Liberation Army clashed in various parts of the country.
The war lasted for 22 years making it the longest civil war on record and with South Sudan splitting away from the Republic of Sudan. This conflict changed the country immensely and four million people were displaced in all these years. It was during this terrible conflict that more than 20,000 boys of the Neur and Dinka ethnic groups were displaced and/or orphaned. These 20,000 boys are collectively called as the Lost Boys of Sudan. While there is no single place or destination where these boys can be found, but there are reports of these boys returning to their homeland now that they feel that the country is safe. Many of the boys that ran away from their homes were cattle herders and they saw their villages being plundered from a distance and for their own safety they decided to run away from their homes.
The Initial Phase
During the Second Sudanese Civil War, most of the attacks were at night and that would pretty much scare the residents and locals of having no option to run. Many of the boys in the villages were not too sure if they will be spared and that they will soon turn into victims of the war decided to flee the scene in search of better food, safety, work and clothing. They decided to move to other cities like Juba and Khartoum where the attacks were not fierce and where they would find some shelter to live. It is in these cities that the boys decided to find work or schooling and both these cities filled up with migrants coming from all parts of the country. With the number of people moving in the city many of the boys that left their home town were forced to be involved in petty crimes or resort to begging.
Moving to Ethiopian Refugee Camps
While some of the boys decided to stick to nearby towns and cities for school and work some decided to move ahead for refugee camps in Ethiopia. It was a long journey on foot for them, but they eventually reached the camps in Ethiopia where they managed to get some relief for some time. In May 1991, the communist managed to overthrow the government forcing the young boys to move out of the refugee camps at gunpoint. Chased by the government tanks and militia the boys were forced to cross the River Gilo where many of them drowned to death and many were eaten by crocodiles or being shot by the militia. Those who managed to survive the river journey managed to reach Kenya and they arrived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in 1992.
Resettling in the United States
For many years the conditions were not too good for the boys and therefore they led a miserable life in the refugee camps in Kenya until 2001 when United States government decided to resettle some of the young boys in America. This was a great support and help coming from the United States. They also came up with better programs that would allow the older boys to earn some income as well. The Kakuma youth began to arrive in the United States in 2001 and were resettled around Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Seattle. Many of the boys that were over 18 years of age were considered adults and therefore not placed into foster care. While they faced some challenges to suit to American culture and lifestyle many of them are comfortable with it. While many of the Lost Boys have returned to Sudan in hope of a new optimistic start have only found themselves in the middle of a new war that emerged in 2013.