Reproduced from an earlier post in Diary of an Eccentric.
My name is Joseph Deng,and I was born in Southern Sudan, then forced from my home land in 1987 at the young age of ten years old after a brutal attack on our village by the Northern Sudan Government. The attackers were mainly made up of Arab tribes. Thousands of men, women and little children were killed, the village burned to the ground and domestic animals were looted. Most of the small, innocent children were abducted or killed and many were able to escape. I was among the very fortunate to run away from the attackers, wandering into the bushes until I ran into small groups of other children.
Within hours, the small groups became a large crowd and we began running east toward Ethiopia, where we became refugees under United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). For the first time I was able to attend primary school in the camp.
Four long years later, in 1991, the Ethiopians rebelled against us and attacked our camp. We were thrown out by gun-point and forced to cross very wide Gilo River. Thousands of the children drowned and others were killed or eaten by crocodiles. Thank God, I survived and joined a group running back to Sudan in order to cross the border into Kenya. However, we were unlucky and Sudanese government once again attacked us in every corner and resting area under the trees. Our main foods were wild fruits and some tree leaves and many prayers kept us alive. God is great.
In January of 1992, we arrived in the Northeast region at a Refugee Camp in Kenya, known as Kakuma. We lived in Kakuma for 9 years, and I was able to continue with my education, despite constant hunger, dehydration and lack of school supplies. At any given moment, morning or night, we were attacked by near-by Turkana tribe. Many children died by attacks in the Camp. I struggled each day, but graduated from high school in 2000.
From 1999 to 2001 I was elected by Community members in Kakuma to serve as Zonal Leader. My duty was to identify among 1500 residents and report the most needy and vulnerable cases in the Community to UNHCR. Also in 1999,a group of churches from the USA visited our Camp, held a meeting with us and later gave us name ‘The Lost boys of Sudan’. Today, no doubt continues to be part of our history.
In 2001 I received a letter of approval to come to the the USA as a Sudanese Refugee. I was so excited for the opportunity after I arrived to New York International airport on 9/25/01 and to Tampa, Florida international airport next day, which was my last destination and my home today. In 2003 I attended a class for certified nursing assistant and was certified by the state board of Florida and immediately began working as CNA. Two years later, I attended nursing school and graduated as a Licensed Practical Nurse in April 2006, and certified as LPN by State board of Florida. At present, I am working as an LPN and gaining experience each day, so that I will be able to help more people, if it is in God's plan.
In November, 20, 2007, I became a US citizen and I am so proud to be part of this amazing country. Not to forget the painful time when I was shot in the chest and bullet got stuck in my right chest for 5 years until 2002 when removed here in Florida. It was only four inches to my lung. Please help spread the word and support South Sudan Life Care Mission, Inc., after you read this story. I am also available to speak live to any groups that are willing to learn more about me or my organization.