SOC Lost_Boys_of_Sudan2

SOC Lost_Boys_of_Sudan2 - FreeRepublic.com"A Conservative...

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FreeRepublic.com "A Conservative News Forum" Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works. The Long Road From Sudan to America Source: The New York Times Magazine Published: April 1, 2001 By SARA CORBETT One evening late in January, a 21-year-old named Peter Dut led his two teenage brothers through the brightly lighted corridors of the Minneapolis airport, trying to mask his confusion. Two days before, they had encountered their first light switch and tried their first set of stairs. An aid worker in Nairobi had demonstrated the flush toilet to them -- also the seat belt, the shoelace, the fork. And now they found themselves alone in Minneapolis, three bone-thin African boys confronted by a swirling river of white faces and rolling suitcases, blinking television screens and telephones that rang, inexplicably, from the inside of people's pockets. Here they were, uncertain of even the rug beneath their feet, looking for this place called Gate C31. Finally, a traveling businessman recognized their uncertainty. "Where are you flying to?" he asked kindly, and they told him. The eldest brother, his eyes deeply bloodshot, explained the situation in halting, bookish English. A few days ago, they had left a small mud hut in a blistering hot Kenyan refugee camp, where after walking for hundreds of miles across Sudan they had lived as orphans for the past nine years. They were now headed, with what Peter called "great wishes," to a new home in the U.S.A. "Where?" the man asked when Peter Dut said the city's name. "Fargo? North Dakota? You gotta be kidding me. It's too cold there. You'll never survive it!" And then he laughed. Peter Dut had no idea why. On the meantime, the temperature in Fargo had dropped to 15 below, with an unwelcoming wind shearing off another 20 degrees. For the three Sudanese boys about to touch down on North Dakota's snowy plains, cold was still a concept without weight. All they knew of it was what they had felt, grasping a bottle of frozen water an aid worker handed them one day during a "cultural orientation" session at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, a place where the temperature hovers around 100 degrees. Cold was little more than a word, the same way "flight" had been just a word until the moment their cargo plane lifted out of the red dust on Jan. 29, causing their stomachs to lurch as the earth below them -- the sprawl of huts and the dried riverbeds and over a thousand hungry well-wishers lining the airstrip -- tilted and fell away. Peter Dut and his two brothers belong to an unusual group of refugees referred to by aid organizations as the Lost Boys of Sudan, a group of roughly 10,000 boys who arrived in Kenya in 1992 seeking refuge from their country's fractious civil war, which pits a northern, Khartoum-based Islamic government against Christian and animist rebels in the south. What is remarkable about the Lost Boys,
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