Since 1983, the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and the Sudanese government have been at war within the southern region of Sudan. This brutal conflict has ravaged the country claiming hundreds of lives and exiling a vast number of the southern Sudanese people. Most of these outcasts were young men aging between five and twelve who were tending cattle to return home to see their village being attacked and their villagers being killed. These boys fled not knowing what they would encounter on the journey to escape the violence in their own country. Hungry, frightened, and weak from their long and hellish journey, the boys finally reached refugee camps outside of Sudan. Even though many young men were killed on their multiple journeys to and from refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, many ultimately arrived and remained at these camps for numerous years to find news of a chance to travel to the United States with hopes and a promise of a better life. In Mark Bixler’s The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of The Refugee Experience, Bixler depicts the Lost Boys’ determination to receive an education which would not only transform their lives but also the lives of their kinsmen.
Mark Bixler examines how The Lost Boys were tired of having nothing, and education was an opportunity to change the factors for them and their country. The Lost Boys strongly desired a formal education; this is shaped in the narrative by both struggles in America, such as having to work and lacking the time they desired, as well as from the lack of supplies the refugee camps each man was exposed to in Africa. The speaker conveys, “If hunger is the permanent condition of life in the camps, getting an education is the constant dream” (12). ...
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...en returning to high school to learn the Lost Boys felt the time in America reflected their futures and a chance to return the concepts learned here back home.
Evidently, a country such as Sudan could cause major damage within the borders. Death was all around as the northern Islamic and the southern Christians fought this civil war. This long lasting conflict finally ended and resulted in the creation of a new country, Southern Sudan. Now is the time where the Lost Boys will return once again, but now as educated people, to their homeland and rebuild the country. Bixler’s novel is a message of how education is a vital tool for those willing to enrich their life and the lives of others less fortunate.
Bixler, Mark. The Lost Boys of Sudan: An American Story of the Refugee Experience. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2006. Print.
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