Awak Kondok Malith, one of the "Lost Boys" from Sudan, Africa, and currently a student at the University of Rochester, will speak at religious services this weekend, Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, in the Interfaith Chapel. He and other Sudanese speakers will talk at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, at a Jewish service; at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3, for Catholic services; and at 3 and 5 p.m. for Protestant services.
The talks will center on Sudan, its people, and its deeply rooted conflicts, touching on the present destruction in the western region of Darfur. Fighting has escalated in the past year, specifically against the African population. Malith's family has roots in this region and the civil unrest is part of the reason why he is separated from his family today.
Sudan has been in a state of conflict since 1955. "The Lost Boys," who may number as high as 26,000, represent various tribes in southern Sudan forced to flee the country in the late 1980s. The fighting has embroiled the blacks of southern Sudan and the Arab-dominated government of northern Sudan.
Malith, who was taken from his family at the age of nine in 1987, arrived in the United States two years ago from Kenya. For a time, he found refuge in Ethiopia, but he was forced to leave after civil unrest and re-located in Kenya. In 2001, the U.S. government allowed Sudanese refugees to come to this country.