The University of Iowa

For "Lost Boy," Vote in Sudan Is Homecoming

November 29th, 2010

This is an excerpt of an article that appeared in The New York Times. See the full article here.

By Jeffrey Gettleman

NYAL, Sudan — Joseph Gatyoung Khan made a vow, uttered in the back seat of a Land Cruiser on a very bumpy road, as he headed home for the first time in 22 years: I will not cry.

He had not seen his parents for two decades. He had not set foot in his village since he marched off in 1988, an 8-year-old boy on a barefoot odyssey through one of Africa’s worst civil wars.

His story would be repeated thousandsfold, and a generation of southern Sudanese boys, scattered by the conflict, would come to be known as the Lost Boys. Sent off by their families at the height of the violence, they ended up trekking hundreds of miles through swamps, deserts and hostile territory — often in packs, sometimes chased by government bombers and slave traders, sometimes forced to be child soldiers.

Several thousand, including Mr. Khan, were eventually resettled in the United States, where they faced another difficult trial: fitting in. Mr. Khan spent the last seven years working his way up from the midnight shift in a casino, to dean’s list at the University of Iowa and buying a white Isuzu Rodeo.

Read the full article here.