UMTV: The Art of a Lost Boy
The Episcopal address at the 2012 General Conference featured images painted by a Lost Boy of Sudan. James Makuac helped bring to life a story Bishop Weaver told about some young men who survived a bloody civil war in their home country and made their way to New Hampshire to be baptized in the Contoocook River. James Makuac knows all too well the horrors other genocide survivors have endured. Makuac's paintings tell the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan.
James Makuac, Lost Boy of Sudan: "It is painful but I have no choice, I have to do it. This is the way I can tell people something painful and then you can let it out. If you don't let it out, it can hurt you some time.
My name is James Makuac, I am one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.
I started painting in 1995 in Kakuma refugee camp.
I like to paint most our journey from Sudan to Ethiopia, from Ethiopia to Kenya, from Kenya to here.
(James showing a picture on the wall.) This is a refugee camp and the same thing can happen. The enemy soldiers can come and attack the camp.
(Sound of gunshots)
The war started in 1983 in my country of Sudan. The Sudan government sent the militias to come and attack the villages.
The militias come by horse, come and burning the houses, and looting for the cattle camp, killing young men and rape to young women.
It was worse in 1987. The Sudan government sent the airplane to come and bomb our villages. So, our parents, they had no choice. Most of the boys were a target. The enemy knew if we grew up we gonna rebel.
The enemy came and attacked the villages. I left like&ellipsis; while I don't tell my parents 'bye-bye.' I just left with some of my friends.
So we went to Ethiopia. We lived there for almost 4 years. But on our way to Ethiopia, it was bad. We were more than 35,000 boys from age 5 to 11. I was 11-years-old and some boys could not manage to walk, we had to carry them on our shoulders. The wild animals too, they attacked us. Nothing to eat. Many boys died of starvation.
When we lived in Ethiopia, the war started again. Civil war.
They followed us to a place called Gilo, the river. They caught us on the bank of the river and there, more than 2,000 got shot in not even one hour. So we had to swim. Jump in the water and had to swim and the enemy kept shooting. And each one of us had to cross on the dead bodies.
We had to walk three months in the desert. That three months we lost many boys too.
We were more than 35,000 when we left in 1987. And when we came to Kenya, it's only 15,000 survived out of 35,000.
When I came here, I had some paintings come with me to the United States, showing people.
It's easier for me to tell the story when they see the picture.
So when I tell people, some people don't know about the problem in Sudan before.
What I'd like for my country is peace, to be in peace. People can love one another. And divide the country. No more killing. No more war."
You can contact theLost Boys Foundation of Nashville at (615) 256-8302 for more information about the Lost Boys of Sudan or to contact James Makuac.
Posted: May 10, 2012