Former Sudanese Refugees ‘Lost Boys’ Talk to Flint Students About Their Experiences
FLINT, Michigan (WJRT) – They are known as the “Lost Boys”, a group of over 20,000 children orphaned or displaced from their homes during the Second Civil War in Sudan from the 1980s to the 2000s.
Almost four thousand of these refugees have resettled in the United States.
Two of them, living in Grand Rapids, brought a story of hope to town and shared a real life history lesson with seventh grade students at Flint Cultural Center Academy.
They met at the Flint Institute of Arts to describe their experiences starting from war-torn Sudan to a refugee camp in Kenya – and eventually to a place they’ve never even heard of.
âWhat is the United States? Which country? What kind of people are there? And all that. But when I walked in, being welcome, then I feel like, oh, I can see the difference right now, âguest speaker Zachariah Char said.
Students read a book called “A Long Walk to Water” which describes the heartbreaking ordeal faced by “lost boys”.
âWe just want to bring the text to life for them. We really want to emphasize empathy and put you in other people’s shoes. So we really want them to immerse themselves in the story, âsaid Monica Golson, a grade 7 teacher.
Char, for example, spent 13 years in a refugee camp.
He had no idea what life would be or offer in America.
âI had a lot of church volunteers who sponsored me, helping me find a job. It helps me know how to draft a bill, âhe said.
Char’s friend Abraham Aner met in the same refugee camp.
He explained what he first noticed about the Michigan weather.
âThe desert in which we live, it is 100 degrees, humidity is daily. But, when I first arrived in Grand Rapids in the summer, it was cold for me.
Char is pastor and founder of the Grace Sudanese Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.
His friend Aner also works for the church as a deacon.
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