Story Publication logo May 30, 2007

All in Akon


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Gabriel Deng, Koor Garang and Garang Mayuol, Southern Sudanese "Lost Boys" in the U.S., were forced...

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Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

It's amazing that in a village without (yet) a functioning clinic, electricity, running water--where malnutrition and disease run rampant, where children are dressed in torn rags, if at all...there is internet at the WHO compound.

Most of our group arrived in Akon, in the Northern Bahar el Ghazal state of South Sudan, yesterday. However, Gabriel Bol (who got an emergency temporary passport issued in one day from the US Embassy in Nairobi) arrived today with Garang, who stayed behind with him, and 12 out of 20 of our boxes of medical supplies and all 300 of our mosquito nets which somehow didn't make it on the flights yesterday.

Family reunions have started already. Koor met both the sister of his father and the sister of his mother--who ran across a field to clasp him in her arms, alternating between hugging him and checking his face as if to verify it was really him. He learned that two sisters and a brother were killed; his parents and another brother are still alive. No one was sure where they are at this moment. Garang met his brother and Gabriel Bol saw his uncle and his cousin.

"Did he tell you about your parents?" I asked him.

"He said I should go to my village, that the elders there will sit with me and tell me everything."

So tomorrow we're going to do just that--Garang found a car for us to use and we will start by going to see his mother, then to Gabriel Bol's village of Ariang.

Koor and I had a long interview this morning for the film--there was a lot to process.

"I was excited to see them," he said. "But the condition that they are in makes me so sad. All the medicines we brought and mosquito's not enough. People here need so much..."


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