Mark Bixler's The Lost Boys Of Sudan

1278 words - 5 pages

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 years of age who returned home from tending cattle to see their village being attacked and their fellow villagers being killed by government militias . 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 reached refugee camps outside of Sudan. Even though many young men were killed on their journeys to and from refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, many remained at these camps for numerous years. While in the camps, they heard news of an opportunity to travel to the United States for hope 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 story of these young men or Lost Boys’ and their determination to receive an education that would not only transform their lives but also the lives of their kinsmen.
Mark Bixler examines how The Lost Boys were tired of not having anything, and how they believe that education provided an opportunity to change the circumstances for them and their country. The Lost Boys strongly desired a formal education which they believe would help save themselves and their nation; this is illustrated through 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). Education was a widespread desire within the camps, despite the harsh living conditions and the questions of whether parents were alive. The Lost Boys dream of a better life and recognized it could only be achieved from what they were learning from the helpers within the camps. While in the refugee camps, education was practiced by solving math problems and writing essays in the dirt. Materials for proper education were not abundant in the camps but time was one thing that was plentiful. Time is all the young men had and almost every second was used to enhance their abilities through education. Education was a process by which Jacob was encouraged and allowed to mature to his own potential; knowledge also served as a purpose of preparing what was and is necessary to be a meaningful member of society. Through teaching and learning, the individual acquires and develops knowledge and skills which develop them as a well-rounded person.
Bixler illuminates how their desire for an education would enable the Lost Boys to expose the atrocities in...

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