Document Sample
FEATURE STORY Powered By Docstoc
					ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT                                          FEATURE STORY                                                                   Monday, October 4, 2004                 15

     — America —                        for them to be eligible to apply for            choose what to eat when they
                                        U.S. citizenship.                               can see it first. Menus can be                    Continued from page 13
     After nine years in the                 They speculate it will take                difficult sometimes, and they                     school, and yet you are 22 and you are at
refugee camps the men knew              longer, though. They                                                                              the university,’” Ayuen said. “And she told

they might soon be relocated,           moved to the United                                                                               me, ‘If you want, you can still go when-
so they prepared to move. They          States between April and                                                                          ever you want.’”
watched for announcements daily         August 2001, before the                       I wanted to die; I                                      Conover, now a third-year law student
                                        Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.                                                                       at the UA, said watching the first 10
to see if their names appeared on
lists of American cities.               Since the attacks,the INS                     felt useless.                                       refugees graduate from Pima Community
                                        has been absorbed by                                                                              College over the past two years was
     The Lost Boys’ moves were
                                        the Department of                                                      — Khoor Malual             incredible.
sponsored by non-profit human
                                                                                                                                              “I was so proud of them,” Conover

service agencies in the United          Homeland Security,
                                                                                                                                          said. “They’ve accomplished so much in
States and Australia.                   which could mean a
                                                                                                                                          such little time, after having everything
     The ones sent to Tucson            longer wait for U.S. citizenship for            said they still haven’t adjusted                  ripped from them.”
received help from Jewish Family        the 3,800 Lost Boys in America. It              completely to the taste of                            Laura said as time has passed and the
and Children’s Services and the         also means the 1,000 still in                   American food.                                    men’s reading and writing has improved,
International Rescue Committee.         Kenya do not know when they                         They drink juice and soda.                    her visits with them have became more
     These agencies sponsored the       will be able to start life in a new             They cook rice, pasta and chick-                  social.
boys in pairs, so they would be         country.                                        en, a change from the food they                       “Sometimes they were already done
sure to have at least one other                                                                 had in Kenya, although                    with their weekly homework and they
                                                                                                most still only eat one                   just wanted to hang out, and it was a
Lost Boy to live with.
                                                                                                  meal a day.                             great time to practice English and ask a
     In April 2001, the first of the
                                                                                                                                          million-and-one bizarre American ques-
Lost Boys left Africa. More than 70                                                                                                       tions,” Conover said.
Lost Boys took the 36-hour flight                                                                                                             With 14 of the refugees now enrolled
to Tucson. Some didn’t eat the                                                                                                            full-time at the UA, Conover said she
entire time because the food on                                                                                                           sees less of them than she used to, but
the planes was foreign to them.                                                                                                           she still makes an effort to visit them
     “The salad was like grass. I                                                                                                         every weekend.
eat salad now, but not then,”                                                                                                                 “It’s starting to change because their
Abraham said.                                                                                                                               lives are changing so much right now,”
     When they arrived in the                                                                                                                 Conover said. “It’s a little bittersweet.”
                                                                                                                                                   Khoor Lukuach Malual, a mathemat-
United States and went through
                                                                                                                                                   ics and electrical engineering junior,
Immigration and Naturalization
                                                                                                                                                    said Conover has been more than a
Services, officials had to guess the                                                                                                                    friend to him and the others.
boys’ ages. Many were assigned                                                                                                                                             “A good friend
a Jan. 1 birthday because they did                                                                                                                                       is one who actu-
not know their actual birthday or                                                                                                                                        ally comes to see
age.                                                                                                                                                                     you sometime
     After a conversation with his                                                                                                                                       and say, ‘How
father a few years ago, Daniel                                                                                                                                          are you?’ That is
said he thinks he is closer to 29,                                                                                                                                     the kind of friend
even though he is 24 according to                                                                                                                                     we need,” he said.
legal documents.                                                                                                                                                       Conover has also
                                            The route walked by the Lost Boys                                                                                    taken them out to
     Daniel is one of the lucky ones        between 1987 and 1992.                                                                                            restaurants, stores and
who has contact with his immedi-                            MAP COURTESY OF THE CIA
                                                                                                                                                           places like bowling alleys
ate family. The only people the                                                                                                                          and roller rinks.
men can call are family members           — A new world —                                                                                                 “It was really a good thing to
who have moved to Uganda or                                                                                                                           meet Laura,” Ayuen said. “We
Kenya. The men who have family                In the United States, the
                                                                                                                                                                    did not know if we
there usually talk to them about        Lost Boys were thrust into a                                                                                                    could meet peo-
once a week. Very few of them           world they’d never imagined, a                                                                                                  ple     like  that
know where their parents are,           culture they didn’t understand                                                                                                  before.”
except that they are somewhere          and a community like none                                                                                                           Conover said
in Sudan.                               they’d ever seen.                                                                                                                when she first
     U.S. agencies found housing             “Coming here happened like                                                                                               decided to volun-
for the Lost Boys and paid their        a dream. I didn’t want to come                                                                                               teer with the Lost
first four months of rent. They         here. I didn’t know what it’s                                                                                               Boys, she thought it
helped the men find jobs and get        like,” Khoor said.                                                                                                         would be a short-term
into schools.                                The Lost Boys left their fami-                                                                                       commitment.
                                        lies at such a young age, they                                                                                            “I just thought it was
     The Lost Boys filled out I-94
                                        never learned how to cook.                                                                                          going to be teaching them to
forms, declaring their status as
                                        Abraham said the Lost Boys boil                                                                   ride bikes a few Saturdays,” she said. “It’s
political refugees.                                                                                                                       changed my life.”
     Once here, they applied for        all their food because it’s the
                                                                                                                                              Now, Laura said she feels like the
green cards, which can take up to       only way they know how to
                                                                                                                                          men are a part of her family.
a year to get. Some who applied         cook.
                                                                                                                                              “They have so much to share
later are still waiting for permanent        For a weekend lunch, they                       Because Bior lives in a                      because they are all brothers, they all
cards.                                  chose a Chinese buffet. Bior                    guesthouse, attached to a house                   come from the same tribe and it doesn’t
     After they have their green        Keech, 19, Daniel Keech’s step-                 in which five other Lost Boys                     matter blood line,” Conover said.
cards, it can take up to five years     brother, said it is easier to                   live, he doesn’t use his kitchen.                     “They’re all brothers and that’s the
                                                                                         Instead of food, the counters                    way they viewed us, like sisters and
                                                                                         and cupboards are full of bas-                   brothers eventually. That was the gift
                                                                                         ketball shoes.                                   that they gave us was that suddenly we
                                                                                             Bior went to Amphitheater                    had all these new brothers.”
                                                                                         High School for two years,                           In February, Conover invited the men
                                                                                         where he played basketball and                   to her wedding where they surprised
                                                                                         ran cross country and track. He                  her by performing a traditional Dinka
                                                                                         plays soccer with other Lost                     wedding blessing and singing and danc-
                                                                                         Boys on the weekends.                            ing at the ceremony.
                                                                                             Bior said he liked high                          “She’s our best friend and she’s get-
                                                                                                                                          ting married, and we need to show the
                                                                                         school better than college,
                                                                                                                                          love we had,” Malual said.
                                                                                         because it felt more like a family.
                                                                                                                                              “It’s something I’ll never forget,”
                                                                                             The men came from a com-                     Conover said.
                                                                                         munity culture in which everyone                     Conover said her relationship with the
                                                                                         worked together and families were                Lost Boys of Sudan has given her a new
                                                                                         huge by American standards. Most                 appreciation for life.
                                                                                         of their fathers had multiple wives,                 “It’s a friendship like I’ve never
                                                                                         because the larger the family, the               known,” she said. “It represents some-
                                                                                                                                          thing a little bit magical that they are
                                                                                        The Lost Boys commemorate the beginning of the    even here. They see every day as extra,
                                                                                        civil war in Sudan every May 16. The event        and you can’t help but pick up some of
                                                                                        includes ceremonial dancing and costuming, as     that good, contagious life quality.”
                                                                                        seen in this May 2004 photo.
                                                                                                           PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER AROK

Shared By: