Watching the Lost Boys

I ran for my life and now I run for my country – Lopez Lomong

Lopez Lomong is the Amercian athlete voted by peer athletes to carry the American flag into the Olympic Games opening ceremonies.

Lopez Lomong is a Lost Boy, one of the Sudanese men who, as children, were orphaned and driven from their country. Over many months they walked 1000 miles to freedom. Without water much of the time, they ate dirt to get the moisture from it. Church groups around the US sponsored groups of immigrating Lost Boys. As a teenager Lomong relocated to Tully, NY, near Syracuse. Lost Boys also relocated from Sudan to my city, Rochester, NY.

I worked as a night medical paging operator at Strong Memorial Hospital from 2002 to 2005. There were a dozen Lost Boys working there as cleaners. I had the opportunity to observe this highly visible group of bright-eyed, jet black young men close up. Remember, they came of age eating dirt, running for their lives. The only schedule they knew was the sun and the stars.

They showed up to work early, dressed neatly, walked purposefully, and applied themselves 110%. While their peer cleaners – seasoned Americans – lounged in the cafeteria every chance they got, the Lost Boys worked. The Lost Boys earned raises and promotions. They bought cars. Sensible ones; low-end Asian imports. One Lost Boy, Salva Dut, started the foundation Water for Sudan, and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars which he has used to drill water wells in Sudan.

Lost Boys interviewed by the media say they feel a connection to long-distance runner, Lomong, and they will be watching with pride as he represents his adopted country. Well-driller Dut says, “For us to see him there as part of the world sport we feel really really proud and happy and feeling that we have a great country here.”

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One Comment on “Watching the Lost Boys”

  1. Mary Says:

    Ah…the Page Office…memories 🙂 Are the Lost Boys who worked there then, still there now? That might be an interesting story/article…a where are they now kind of thing, how has their lives changed, how have they assimulated to American culture, do they wish to return one day, etc.

    Another post-it! 🙂


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