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Mark Bixler’s The Lost Boys Of Sudan: An American Story Of The Refugee Experience

1207 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 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). 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 for 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 practicing math and writing essays in the dirt was how an education was given. Materials for proper education were not abundant in the camps but time was plentiful. Time is all the young men had and almost every second was used to enhance their abilities. Education is a process by which Jacob was encouraged and allowed to mature to his potential; knowledge also serves as a purpose of preparing what is necessary to be a significant member of society. Through teaching and learning, the individual acquires and develops knowledge and skills; which Jacob sought and strived to obtain.
Bixler illuminates how their desire for an education would enable the Lost Boys to expose the atrocities each Lost Boy wanted to avoid yet expose. Jacob and his fellow Lost Boys wanted to tell the rest of the world about their brutal day-to-day conflicts in Sudan; however, lacking education limited a great deal of communication. The...

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