CLINTON — Like 30,000 or more Sudanese children (accounts of the total numbers who left and did not survive the initial walk are uncertain), Joseph Akol Makeer walked away from his village. He was 10, and it was 1987.
On Tuesday, April 7, Joseph will share the sad yet hope-filled story of his exile and survival with students from Clinton’s Prince of Peace College Preparatory and the public at Clinton Community College, 1000 Lincoln Blvd., at 11:45 a.m. A second public presentation will be at The Canticle, home of the Clinton Franciscans, 841 13th Ave. North, at 7 p.m.
Joseph survived the walk to Ethiopia and later to Kenya, and, with minimal materials and teachers, educated himself. His traumatic childhood was not unlike the lives of 20,000 other boys who survived the exodus and resulting exile, growing to manhood in refugee camps in Kenya. Nearly as many died.
The young boys who made this walk (there were also some girls) were dubbed the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” This is also the name used for the U.S. program that resettled about 3,800 teens and young adult men and women across the United States in 2001. Now grown, most of these refugees have prospered in America in spite of a myriad of cultural and material differences, as well as dramatic climactic and geographical changes.
For more information on the free, public presentations, call Sisters of St. Francis, (563) 242-7611.
The program is co-sponsored by the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking, Clinton Community College, Iowa Division, UNA-USA, Prince of Peace Pax Christi, and the Clinton Peace Coalition.