In 2001, the so-called Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan began to arrive in the United States. These were teenagers who had fled the civil war in Sudan, a war waged by various militias, and by the government in Khartoum in the North, against the rural villages in the South. In 1983, Sudan declared itself a Muslim State under Sha'aria law, and the mandatory social and legal practices of Sha'aria extended to the non-Muslim southern region. The villagers in the South practiced either traditional African religions or Christianity. There were racial and tribal differences too. A civil war erupted, and over a twenty year period hundreds of thousands of Southerners were killed. Parents told their children to run, to avoid slavery or death. The interviews presented here are with two survivors of the era, Bol and Laper. Bol ran from his village in the middle of the night and spent a total of nine years in refugee camps, first in Ethiopia and later in Kenya. Laper was taken by her mother to Khartoum, in the North, in order to seek medical care, after being caught in the cross-fire of a militia attack as a little girl.
South Sudan is the youngest country in the world and still very poor. At the end of the interview with Bol, I have posted information about his work to build a school in his village. If you would like to learn more about Bol's project, visit: www.villagehelpforsouthsudan.org.
Bol's village is Thiou Village.