Michael Kuany Letter
I am writing to you in the hopes that I may come to speak to your congregation/organization about the crisis in Sudan and about my story as a Lost Boy from that nation. The dire situation in Darfur has raised Americans’ awareness about the strife in one area of the country, but the people of south Sudan have also been suffering at the hands of the Sudanese government for the last several decades. Civil war broke out in 1983 when the Northern government of Sudan began to systematically attack southern black African Christian and Animist villages. Two million southern Sudanese were killed and another two million were displaced in refugee camps in bordering countries.
I was among thousands of other Sudanese boys who returned from playing or tending cattle to find our villages destroyed and our families murdered or captured. 30,000 of us walked together in large groups, fleeing, and eventually made our way to Ethiopia. We remained at a refugee camp there, Panyidu, for three years, until civil war broke out in that country and we were forced again to flee. Thousands of my age-mates died during that journey. Many drowned during the crossing of the Gilo River, at the border of Sudan and Ethiopia. The 16,000 boys who remained walked one thousand miles to northern Kenya. For the last ten years we have lived in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya surviving on one small meal a day. The camp is dangerous at night, when marauders attack the refugees. There is no future for the thousands of people who remain there.
In 1999, President Clinton allowed 3,500 ‘Lost boys of Sudan’ to come to the United States. Grateful for an opportunity to leave the camp, our journey is not yet over. Many of us work multiple jobs in order that we may someday pursue our dream of higher education as well as that we may send money to family back home. Many of us also feel strongly that we must help the children who remain in Sudan, and I and several friends have started an organization called Jalle United Development Alliance, that we may raise money to build an elementary school in our hometown region.
I would be most grateful if you would give me the opportunity to share my story and share the story of my people. I want to be a voice for the millions of Sudanese children who cannot speak to you themselves. Feel free to check out our website at www.jalleuniteddevelopment.org. I can be reached at 920-410-8325 and my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael A. Kuany