Angelo Maker is among the 3,000 orphans called The Lost Boys of Sudan who were brought to this country by the United States government in 2001. His village was attacked during the civil war that escalated in Southern Sudan in 1983, a war that claimed over two million lives. Only seven years old at the time, Angelo watched helplessly as his mother and two brothers were brutally murdered. Desperately trying to survive, he joined a large group of boys who were also displaced, and they began their long, hazardous journey across Sudan into neighboring Ethiopia. Many died along the way because of a lack of food, water, exposure to the ele-ments, and attacks from wild animals and the government helicopters that had bombed their villages. By the grace of God, Angelo did not.
After living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for three years, the Lost Boys were forced to move back to Sudan when the Ethiopian government was overthrown. They were attacked by Ethiopian rebels and the Sudanese government before they could even leave the country. Some fled across the river separating Sudan and Ethiopia; but many perished because they did not know how to swim or were attacked by alligators. Once again, Angelo managed to survive. He and the remaining boys spent another harrowing year trying to stay alive in Sudan while fighting off starvation and the government that still wanted them dead so that they would not grow to adults and seek revenge.
The United Nations took notice of the situation and removed the boys from Sudan, placing them in refugee camps in Kenya. They lived there for nine years and received some education. In 1999, the United States began a program that focused on bringing these Lost Boys to America so that they would have a chance to educate themselves and return to Sudan to build a better future for their people. This program continued until heightened security after the 9/11 bombings forced the program to shut down.
Angelo now resides in Newport News, VA with his wife, Stephanie, and their young daughter. He is working full time and is also preparing to graduate with a double Bachelor’s in International Relations and Political Science from Old Dominion University. He remains very active in numerous efforts to foster awareness for the plight of the Southern Sudanese people, working to create a better future for his friends and family in Sudan. Angelo’s homeland remains dear to his heart, and he and is family are making preparations to move back to Sudan to oversee Abukloi on the ground.