Graduation from St. Augustine College
5/29/04

John Dut Akuak & Chrispino Onam Paterno
graduated from St. Augustine College
on May 29, 2004.
They are the first Lost Boys of Sudan
in Chicago to graduate.
Both will continue their educations.
They are truly inspiring
and admirable role models.

click here to see the Chicago Tribune article
scroll down to read more about Chrispino and John
photos by Pam Hubbard


Chrispino Onam Paterno

Chrispino received his Associates in Liberal Arts degree. He has been admitted to Chicago State University where he will pursue his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, after which he wants to obtain a Master's degree in public Health. He says:

Nursing is a bridge that can connect me to my goal. I always love to work with the public. In the future, if God wishes, I would like to be public trainer in Sudan on STD/HIV, family planning, sanitation, and preserving the environment. I had some training at Kakuma Camp as a peer counselor and trainer and I have a certificate given by the Kenya council of churches and UNHCR. I worked with KCC as a volunteer training youth. The goal is for everyone, not for my personal honor.

My message to the Lost boys and the Sudanese Community is that I'm happy that I went one step forward and that is not enough. I promise even with hardship I will go through, I will not give up this golden chance of Education I've got here. I would like to encourage my brothers not to lose this chance. I am not happy to see some of my brothers here in Chicago not going to school.

I would like to give thanks to all my American Friends who support me emotionally, spiritually and financially. When I'm with all of you I forget to think about my parents because I feel that some people care about my future, unlike in the Camp where nobody cares about us. My special thanks goes to mama Sheila for her effort in helping and encouraging us at school even with her bad health condition; she never gives up talking to us about school. May God bless her and keep her healthy along with the rest of the volunteers. Peace of the Lord be with you.


John Dut Akuak

John received his Associates in Science degree in Accounting. He will continue his education at Northeastern Illinois University to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. His message to the community of Lost Boys and Americans is:

THINK GREEN!!!

Think green!! in such a long and bloody journey from our mother land to a great land of a great people. Think green!!! The opportunities are now very high to make yourself and our community a more productive environment for the new generation. Think green so four generations that will come after us remember such minute details about their father's villages that were burned down, but remember,

"We are all the same
we are not different from one another
we all belong to one family"

However, thinking green makes us different. Think green!!! They left their country almost immediately by the hundreds at first, then by the thousands. The men left their villages unwillingly to find a protected place. Still, even that did not seem to change who they were or at least who they tried to be.

"We are all the same
we are not different from one another
we all belong to one family"

But think green!!! I know that we have different experiences in this country and it depends on what community you are in or where you were resettled and who you became friends with. Think green and take positive parts of it. What is that? Education. I want to thank all Americans for their great care, and I have a message for them: it is difficult to start life in this country; one of the most important things that I need to tell American friends, people who want to help Lost Boys or refugees in general, is to offer to be their friend which will make you know them better. Think Green!!!

"We are all the same
we are not different from one another
we all belong to one family"

By thinking green we are able to make a good community where there is peace, unity and a more productive environment in which to work. But for our American friends you have to know that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

REMEMBER TO THINK GREEN.


 

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Unless otherwise specified, all photos and graphics are original work by Barbara Rose
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