Vermont Folklife Center - Vision and Voice Documentary Workspace
In Their Own Words - homepage

Deng with his school artwork

James  Sudan

I was accepted for resettlement in 2002 and I came here in 2006 with my family. It took a long time to get here—they just took a long time. For me I think it was better for my family, but I wasn't happy because I left my country. If I was by myself—it's not a problem—I could have stayed. With my family I thought it was safer to go. I wanted to see this place to save my family.

When I first came here, when I first came to Vermont, I called southern Sudan and I talked to someone I knew from before I came here. He had passes so that he could go to southern Sudan. He was a business man. He said that I had to buy his ticket and he would go look for my family. When I first came here I got some money from the refugee office. I took half of that money and used it to buy the tickets. I thought that it was better to sleep outside here in Vermont than to have some doubt in my mind. I think it was important to do that—not important to feed myself or sleep in a good house. I had to do that because the man said if I sent the money for the tickets, he could go to help find my parents. They have many people over there who don't know where their children are, and they are asking people like that guy who goes into southern Sudan and then comes back. So I just told him my name and my parents' name, and he came back and told me that he found my mother and my mother's relative.

When I heard about my mom I was thinking I would go back—but I have to wait because I want to take the training to become an electrical technician. I want to take that class this September and after I finish I want to go back in the Sudan. I just want to see what's going on in southern Sudan. I want to see my mom. I want to go for one month and then come back. My mother said that she is not sure that James is still alive. She told the man that if he talked to me—tell me that she wants me to come see her before she dies.

It's a hard way because I am worried about the government over there. It's not safe because they haven't forgotten me. They know where I am now. My plan I think I'm going to southern Sudan. It will be difficult, but I will try. I'm going to another country that's close to the south and then I can walk there or find something to get me there. It will be hard to go there, but I have to go there. You know you cannot be happy if you have no parents and no relatives.

I don't know why, but I have to go to see those people. And I don't know what is going to happen after that. Right now, in the war, they say there is peace, but I don't think that we have peace—not yet.

website :: studioperdue