Thursday, August 21, 2014

¶lim¶Hidden Cultures: Refugees

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Phoenix isn’t famous for its diversity. But peer into its margins, and you’ll find a city flush with people from around the world. In the final installment of a three-part series, we delve into the Valley’s Sudanese, Bhutanese and Burmese refugee communities.

South Sudanese {Lost Boys}

Population: Approximately 8.2 million
Estimated population of Sudanese refugees in Phoenix: 1,700

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July 9, 2011 was “miracle day” for Kuol Awan. As one of the Lost Boys of Sudan displaced by civil war, Awan had never known peace in his birth country. He’d left his village in Maar at the age of 8 – one of tens of thousands of barefoot war orphans traversing a landscape of burned African bush and collapsed thatched huts, hiding in trees at night to guard against gunfire and animal attacks. It was 1987, and Awan’s parents, like those of most Lost Boys, had been taken from their village and killed. His sorrow over the fact that he could not follow the tribal tradition of burying his father was superseded by a drive to survive.

Awan walked for five years and nearly a thousand miles before reaching a refugee camp in Kenya, often carrying

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