While looking around this afternoon, I happened to Google “Simon Majak”, the name of the Sudanese ‘Lost Boy’ who lives in the same city I do and is about to join the Marine Corps as a “thank-you” to America.
Look what I found from 2000: Sudanese Lost Boys Prepare for another Challenge
In 1987, up to 25,000 southern Sudanese children, some as young as 4 or 5, fled their homes because of fighting in Sudan’s civil war. They made it to neighboring Ethiopia, but by 1991 fighting in that country forced them to return to Sudan. Then, conflict again forced them to move, this time south to Kenya. About 12,000 reached Kakuma in northern Kenya in 1992, where aid agencies set up a refugee camp for them.
The epic journey, covering thousands of miles, was done on foot. They often went without food and water, while facing the perils of wild animals and constant fighting. Many cannot remember exactly where their journey began.
“It was very hard, very terrible, with no food and water for days. We suffered a lot and there was much fighting,” said Simon Majak, 17, as he sat nervously in the check-in area of Nairobi’s international airport.
He was dressed in a white sweat shirt emblazoned with the U.S. Refugee Program logo, blue trousers and new white tennis shoes provided by the International Organization for Migration, which is organizing the resettlement program. He said his parents were killed in the war in 1992.
Sitting next to him was his 15-year-old sister, Adeng, who, with the help of relatives, made it to Kakuma after their parents died. Now, they only have each other, Simon said, and the prospect of a new and safer life.
“I’m going to save my life there. It’s going to be a better life,” he said. “I hope to get work. I do not know what type because I have not been there, but I will get the work I can do.” [emphasis mine]
Five years would make that Simon Majak 22 years old now, the same age as the Simon Majak I posted on. I’m fairly confident it’s the same guy.
Now tell me that isn’t something.
UPDATE: This story also registered on WXMI-17, our local FOX television affiliate:
As a Marine, he hopes to help others around the world find freedom and opportunity. “Somewhere out there is people who still need to be helped. If I know that person, I need to help him because I can say I know better than anybody how good it is when somebody gives you help.”
Majak ultimately hopes to become an American citizen, but he has a green card that allows him to join the military. He says enlisting in the Marines gives him a feeling of “patriotism.”
“I’m very proud for that,” he said. “It’s my duty.”