In one moment, everything he knew in life was gone. His parents, his village and everyone he had ever known. Arok Garang was only seven-years-old, in 1982 when government militias systematically attacked a number of small villages in the South Sudan, killing anyone in sight. The day his village was struck was the day he became an orphan, along with thousands of other boys. Together they did the only thing they could to survive. They ran.
After the attacks, more than 20,000 boys were left to fend for themselves with no food and no clean water. It was the dry season. So they began a thousand mile journey on foot, encountering wild animals and little food. Some children were eaten by wildlife, drowned, or died of dehydration and other symptoms along the way to Ethiopia where they hoped they would be safe. The journey took years.
They finally made it to Ethiopia in December of 1989, where the United Nations did what they could to provide the boys with food and clothing. After 18 months there, another war broke out and the boys were told, at gunpoint, to go back to the Sudan. It was not safe to return, they made their way to Kenya instead.
Among many trials, including the rainy season and the threat again, of wild animals and the environment, it took a year to get there.
This writing cannot do justice to his story, you will want to listen to his account about how he was rescued, his journey to America and what he is doing now to give back. Arok founded Seeds of South Sudan to help his community rebuild, by way of education and health care.
Arok, an orphan boy with no family, no place to call home, and no resources to his name, is making a great impact on the world. Listen to his story. Be inspired to do all you can!
Listen to this week’s Driving Force Radio, Saturday morning at 10:00 on KNUS 710.
You can also listen to the podcast here, or watch our video version below.
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