It must be noted, Australia government through its agencies and other service providers are trying to ensure newly arrived migrants have a grasp of the system in Australia and how they can embrace it. Nothing is more daunting than trying to fit into a culture foreign to once own. For many migrants, the integration can be seamless whereas for some it is a struggle, a struggle if not managed, taking into consideration cultural aspects and compassion, can impact the newly found quality of life. I aim to be a conduit between service recipients and providers.
Many migrants remain grateful to the Australian government and its people for the newly found freedom and liberty. With this in mind, the desire to reciprocate the compassion afforded to them is insatiable.
This book is the story of my life from growing up in an African village, to becoming a child soldier in the civil war zone that was Sudan in the 1990s, to a new life in Australia. The book begins with an account of what life was like for me from the age of five and captures some of the brutal cultural practices in the Mundari tribe such as facial scarification and teeth extraction. It also provides a snapshot of the life lived in the village and cattle camp, and how the life transition process from adolescence to adulthood was interrupted when the Sudan People Liberation Army rebels took me from the village at the age of ten under the pretext of education.
The removal resulted in prolonged suffering and torment from the rebels and constant attack by the Ugandan Rebel Lord Resistance Army. I did not see my family again for sixteen years. Moved from camp to camp, in poor health, malnourished and uncared for, I wondered how adults, who I had been led to believe were protectors of children, could be so cruel, manipulative and unthinking. The practices employed by the army tantamount to child abuse, deprivation of human rights and liberty. The palpable suffering resulted into trauma which still affects me up to today. The indignity became acceptable as fate took control. Dreaming of a future was unwise as the primary goal was to live to see another day.
The ordeal continued until 2000 when I escaped to Kenya to seek refuge. Although there was shelter, rationed food and basic security in the camp, being a refugee was the defining movement for me – a glimpse of hope was felt. At first, I thought, I had arrived in a place where dreaming could be possible, hopefully for the last time, only to realise that hopelessness and despair were invading my life again. The mischief lasted for four years at two different camps in Kenya before resettlement. I arrived in Australia in 2004 and my life changed.
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