Sudanese 'Lost Boy' shares story with Lou. 4th graders


by Michelle Arnold

Posted on March 11, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 9:40 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – On Tuesday, March 11, Gabriel Kwai brought his story to some fortunate fourth graders.

“I want them to learn that they have all the opportunities that every child would actually need to have in the world,” Kwai said.

Kwai came to America after facing unimaginable challenges. He was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan--orphaned and forced out of his village by Islamic militia in the 1980s.

“At night I remember myself crying out for my parents and my siblings. I was told that I would find them [the] next day and then in the morning I did not see any of them. And we kept walking,” Kwai said. 

He told the John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary students how he and thousands of others walked one thousand miles to a refugee camp, often with nothing to eat.

“We ate leaves from trees, dead animals, and dirty water. Anything that we could find to survive, we were actually eating,” Kwai said.

Those experiences, combined with his will to succeed, are changing how these young kids view the world.

“I think that we should not take things for granted and be grateful for what we already have. Lots of people don't have what we have,” student Leonardo Gonzalez said.

“I feel so grateful that we have the opportunity to learn personally from this ‘Lost Boy’ about the difficulties and challenges of being a ‘Lost Boy,’” student Hannelore Tretter said.

For these 4th graders, it's not just about learning, it's about giving back as well. At the end of Gabriel’s presentation, they asked him what they could do for his country.

“If you could talk to your parents and tell them what is going on in South Sudan. Tell them to ask Congressman John Yarmuth and senators like McConnell and Paul to put pressure on South Sudan to bring peace,” Kwai said.

These kids are already thinking about what they can do.
“Yesterday, I was cleaning my room and I took some things out of my room and I'm going to deliver it to Sudan,” student Elliott Solan said.