The Lost Boys of Sudan, so named by aid workers after the fictional characters in Peter Pan, became separated from their families at early ages following attacks on their villages. They walked in large groups for approximately three months before reaching the safety of Ethiopia, with many dying along the way due to starvation and disease or attacks by wild animals. After residing in Ethiopia for approximately four years, civil war broke out in that country as well, causing them to flee once again to their war-torn country of Sudan.
Many died on that journey as well when crossing the deadly Gilo River. Those unable to swim were swept away in the turbulent currents. Others were eaten by crocodiles, attacked by hippos, or killed by enemy gunfire. The survivors remained in the bush of Sudan, hiding for approximately one-and-a-half years before making their way to the safety of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. In all, these young men had walked some 1,000 miles by foot before reaching their destination.
In 2001, the United States government awarded refugee status to approximately 3,800 Lost Boys. There have been many books and movies produced about the struggles of the Lost Boys. Two of my favorites include:
“What is the What” is a fictionalized memoir of Valentino Achak Deng by David Eggers. The book has been descirbed as “a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity-of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval.” Definitly well worth the read.