Coming soon




A Broken Promise

I am one of thousands that the Western media has dubbed the “Lost Boys of Sudan” and while many people are familiar with the story of our fleeing our villages during war, walking hundreds of miles to safety, and eventually resettling in the United States from news stories and memoirs like John Dau’s God Grew Tired of Us, my memoir, A Broken Promise, includes the untold story of finding a way through the displacement and upheaval to a life of advocacy that straddles both South Sudan and the United States

I was under 10 years old when my parents called me home from the cattle camp, the swampy area along the River Nile where I cared for my family’s cattle during the dry season. I made the day and a half walk with my elder brother. I knew to obey, but I was eager to return. I enjoyed playing games with the other boys, and tethering the cattle to their pegs at night, their low calls like a sweet lullaby. But in Wangulei, my home village, I found my parents at the village center with dozens of children, who were being recruited to join the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. I was to go with them. Leaving the cattle camp was the first of many abrupt departures caused by a long and brutal war, and by the time the United States sponsored me to immigrate from a refugee camp in Kenya more than a decade later, I had walked hundreds of miles with thousands of other children and trained as a soldier.

My childhood in the pastoral lifestyle of the tightly knit Dinka culture imprinted South Sudan in my heart. A Broken Promise follows me from Wengulei to Chicago, where I came into my own as a community organizer and activist, delivering hundreds of talks in schools, places of worship, and community centers, amplifying South Sudan’s plight with media personalities like Oprah and political dignitaries like my Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and former US President Barack Obama, and carrying out grassroots campaigns to bring peace-keeping skills to the village chiefs of South Sudan. I reunited with my mother in Wangulei nearly twenty years after leaving her, and mourned her passing the next year.

I have been actively engaged in community advocacy since my arrival in the U.S. in 2001, and I have given hundreds of presentations about my experiences across the United States at schools and places of worship to tens of thousands of people , with many institutions inviting me to return annually to share my story with new audiences.

Some of the media attention I have received includes articles in The Chicago Tribune, an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and news segments on WGN. My story has been shared in museum exhibits, oral histories, and interviews with instutions like the Illinois Holocaust Museum, Oregon Historical Society, and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.