Former Sudan “Lost Boys” refugees speak to Flint students about their experiences

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) – They’re called the “Lost Boys”, a group of more than 20 thousand children orphaned or displaced from their home during the Second Civil War in Sudan from the 1980′s to the 2000′s.

Nearly four thousand of those refugees resettled in the United States.

Two of them, living in Grand Rapids, brought a story of hope to town and to share a real life history lesson with seventh grade Flint Cultural Center Academy students.

They met at the Flint Institute of Arts to describe their experiences that started from war-torn Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya – and eventually to a place they never even heard of.

“What is United States? What country? What kind of people are there? And all this. But when I came in, being welcome, then, I feel like, oh, I can see the difference right now,” said guest speaker Zachariah Char.

The students are reading a book called “A Long Walk to Water” which describes the harrowing ordeal faced by the “Lost Boys.”

“We just want to bring the text to life for them. We really want to emphasize empathy and putting yourself in others shoes. So we really want them to just immerse themselves in the story,” explained Monica Golson, a 7th grade teacher.

Char, for example, spent 13 years in a refugee camp.

He had no idea what life in the United States would be like or offer.

“I got a lot of volunteer from churches who sponsored me, helping me find a job. Helping me to know how to write a bill,” he said.

Char’s friend Abraham Aner met at the same refugee camp.

He explained what he first noticed about Michigan weather.

“The desert we live in there it’s 100 degrees, humidity every single day. But, in my first time to arrive in Grand Rapids in the summertime, it’s cold for me.”

Char is a pastor and founder of the Sudanese Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.

His friend Aner also works for the church as a deacon.

Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.


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Publish date : 2021-11-04 23:01:00

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Former Sudan “Lost Boys” refugees speak to Flint students about their experiences on AFRICNEWS