Interview with the author Paulino Mamiir Chol
Can you tell us a little about your book in your own words?
My book explained how I was kidnapped by Murahalin militias, fled my village, and how the Lost Boys spent much of their lives running from kidnapping and death. They escaped ruthless and well-armed Murahalin militias that kidnapped, persecuted, and murdered tens of thousands from the Lost Boys. After a journey of over three thousand miles on bare feet, I was the leader of nineteen to seven hundred Lost Boys from the Pinyido refugee camp in Ethiopia and the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya from 1988 to 2004. The Lost Boys endured unspeakable starvation, air assaults and walked through fields of corpses during the Second Sudanese Civil War.
You describe some hard experiences in your book, was it difficult to relive those while writing?
The harrowing experiences were when I was kidnapped, members of the Murahalin militias dismembered the caught men in front of us. The Arab tribal militias forced the abducted children and women to watch how they killed the captured men and dismembered their bodies. It was a terrifying experience when they chopped off the legs, ears, noses, hands, and heads of the caught men using sharp swords and knives until they bled to death. I felt I was in the river of blood and wailing in that shocking situation. I remember the scene where the militias killed the caught men, which was flooded with blood.
Why did you decide to tell your story?
I have decided to tell my life story because I want my readers to know the untold journey and hardships of the Lost Boys. In addition, four books were written on the long journeys and sufferings of the Lost Boys, but they were not written from the perspective of a kidnapped survivor and leader of the Lost Boys. My book is a direct account of a kidnapped survivor and natural leader of the Lost Boys who helped weak, sick, wounded, disabled, and small boys from the Pinyido refugee camp in Ethiopia and the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya from 1988 to 2004. My book described the painful corruption that left three thousand Lost Boys to remain in the Kakuma refugee camp.
What lesson or message do you wish the world to learn from your book?
In my book, the world should learn that we the Lost Boys were a resilient generation because it did not matter how much we suffered, but we did not give up. We were children who watched our caught men dismembered and friends die in front of us, we saw more dead bodies as children than most adults had ever seen in a lifetime, but we did not lose hope. Despite our different cultures and languages, we were able to come together and become a community. Our friendship and hard work cemented our unity.
Do you have any more books coming out?
Yes, I am writing many books on child abductions, forced marriages, oil in South Sudan, painful discrimination of employers against refugees in America, and my efforts to unite South Sudanese Christians in Denver, Colorado, in 2011.
Can you tell us more about the Mamiir Chol Foundation?
There are still villages that rely on the river, people are still dying of waterborne diseases, and lack of education in South Sudan. Mamiir Chol Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide clean drinking water, shelters, and education in the Republic of South Sudan. The foundation will help educate people on ways to protect themselves. The Foundation will help with sanitation and hygiene in South Sudan. It helps with education and sending girls to school for free instead of forced marriage.