4 of the Lost Boys of Sudan

Daniel (Rech) Pachbai, Peter Kuol, Aguto Beer,  and Garang Panchol
Daniel (Rech) Pachbai, Peter Kuol, Aguto Beer, and Garang Panchol

Daniel, Peter, Aguto and Garang, 4 Bor tribe members, are now in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, the largest such camp in Africa, with refugees from all over Africa. Because these “Lost Boys of the Sudan” are all orphans, they tend to form strong bonds of brotherhood. They are often the only family they have. In Kakuma there were so many lost boys who didn’t know anyone at first, but slowly they came to discover cousins, or other members of the same clan. They often got acquainted while playing soccer or whenthey were in school.

Daniel (Rech) Pachbai (16), was the son of an elder in his clan (tribe). When Daniel was about 6 years old, his father died, leaving him with his mother and brother. Several years later his mother died and Daniel had to go to a camp Sudan for displaced persons. In 2000 UNICEF brought him to Kakuma. His friends in the camp as well as elders there, believe he is destined to be a great leader. Perhaps it’s the way he sits, the way he presents himself when people are talking. He listens quietly, but when he speaks, people remember because of the wisdom of his words.

Peter Kuol, (17),was brought to Kakuma by UNICEF at age 8 along with Daniel Pachbai. Both of Peter’s parents were killed when their home area was attacked by Arabs from the north. Before that time, in anticipation of an attack, the women and children had been taken to a safer area. Peter’s mother returned to visit his father on the very day that the attack occurred. He doesn’t remember much about when he learned of his parents death. He just couldn’t comprehend. He believed for a long time that his mother would somehow return.
Aguto Beer (16), came to Kakuma in 2004. Of the 4 boys, he is the most recent arrival to Kakuma. He is greatly appreciated because, having been longer in Sudan, he is more familiar with the traditional dances, which he has taught to the others. It is part of their efforts to retain their culture. He is the only one of the group who knows the traditional ways of the drum. On evenings and weekends the boys gather to dance to the drums. The boys believe that Aguto had inherited his drumming ability from his grandfather who a great drummer of his time.

Garang Panchol (16), was brought by UNICEF to Kakuma in 1999 at the age of 6. His father was a writer of traditional songs. He had no musical education, but he had the giftof songs. Garang has taught his father’s songs to the other Bor boys in the camp. His mother died when he was around 2 years old, so he does not remember her. His fatherwas a soldier in Sudan and was killed in 2005. Garang only heard about it when he was in the camp. After his mother died and his father was away in the army, he was taken to an orphan center. He never saw his father again.

The boys have been admitted to Archbishop Ndingi Secondary School for Boys, in Naivasha, Kenya on faith that sponsors will be found for them. The cost is $650 per year (about $50 per month). These boys are highly motivated students, knowing that education is their only hope for a life.

(update) All 4 boys graduated from Archbishop Ndingi and have returned either to the camps to teach or to Sudan.  2014

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