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They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan    by Alephonsion Deng, Benson Deng & Benjamin Ajak order for
They Poured Fire On Us From The Sky
by Alephonsion Deng
Order:  USA  Can
PublicAffairs, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky is a first person account of the effects the continuing civil war in the Sudan has had on three young Lost Boys. Benson Deng, his brother Alephonsion Deng, and their cousin Benjamin Ajak all were between four to six years old when war exploded in their small world in the African Sudan. From that moment on until they were near their twenties, they lived in fear of the soldiers who killed and tortured their countrymen - and of their own people of different tribes who bullied and beat them. They lived on subsistence rations if there were any at all. Many times there was nothing to eat or drink.

When their village was raided, they escaped with no more than what they wore (in one case, a pair of red underwear). Moved from refugee camp to refugee camp, they lost each other only to reunite somewhere else. Tens of thousands of these young boys took flight from the massacres of their villages, and wandered the Sudan and neighboring countries looking for somewhere to restart their peaceful lives of hunting and fishing. They became known as the Lost Boys. Their story is one of brutality, greed, and terrible suffering.

This war has continued for many years and doesn't seem to be abating. Though the UN has been called upon to help, little has been done to alleviate the horrendous conditions. These three boys were some of the lucky ones, who were relocated to the United States in 2000-2001 by the International Refugee Committee. Many thousands more still exist in desperate straits in the camps. Strong-willed, these boys took their pleasures as they arose. Their reunion with each other, finding food or water, a chance to play a game or to sing. Small pleasures, but enough to ignite a large spirit to live.

One thing I noted is that there don't seem to be Lost Girls of the Sudan. They were either raped and murdered, or sold into sexual slavery. This is a moving story told by survivors of malaria, yellow fever, dysentery and snakebite (to name just a few of the dangers), and the ravages of a senseless war. In spite of all their tribulations, these young men managed to keep alive their thirst for learning. a belief that life could be better, and their innate goodness.

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