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Onam Liduba was born in 1978 in Torit, Eastern Equatoria (southern Sudan), and is the oldest son of Aliseo and Augenia Liduba, and is Pari by tribe. His daughter, Acheng, was born in Kakuma in 2001, a day after Onam came to the US with other Lost Boys of Sudan, and he didn’t meet her until he returned to Kakuma in 2007. He spoke with her by telephone for Six years, and she would ask him, “Daddy, when are you coming home?”

I was separated from my lovely family by the war when the Arab Islamic soldiers attacked my village, Lafon, and burned huts, the school and dispensary, displacing the whole village in 1987. I joined the long walk toward Ethiopia with the thousands of other Lost Boys fleeing from the war-torn south.

The journey of the Lost Boys took them to Ethiopia for 4 years, and when war broke out there, they were forced to flee and return to Sudan, where the Islamic soldiers hunted them down, forcing them to flee once more, by foot, across the Kenyan border into Kakuma Refugee Camp, where they lived for 10 years, when the UNHCR and the State Dept. began the process of bringing 3500 young men to the US. At the age of 9, Onam was seen as a leader in his group, who could be counted on for help, sharing with others who were tired and sick. In the Camp, he was very active in high school, and was elected director of the drama group for youth and culture programs, responsible for more than 16 thousand youth. He organized debate clubs and coordinated cultural dance group leaders.

Onam was awarded Best Leader, Director and Actor by the UNHCR, Lutheran World Federation and Youth and Culture Program while in the Camp. And, in 2004, he appeared with Scrap Metal Soul in a play called “The Other Way”, stories of refugees in Chicago. It is his wish to bring hope and change by educating the community through drama and by sharing his life experience.

Since his arrival in Chicago in 2001, Onam has graduated from St. Augustine College and is now studying for a degree in Health care leadership at National Louis University. He was elected by the Lost Boys community to be on the Board of Chicago Association of the Lost Boys of Sudan, and he is currently serves as the president of the Board of CALBOS. He was the first of the Lost Boys in Chicago to become a US citizen, and with passport in hand, he traveled to Kakuma to see his wife and meet his daughter in 2007. He is struggling to bring them here.
“My desire is to help others is initiated by help that others offer me, and I feel it is my responsibility to help those in need. I broke down in tears last year when I visited Sudan and saw suffering of my village, with no clinic during the outbreak of cholera, which killed more than 600 people in a few days. I am working with the Pari people on a project to build a clinic in a village which has not had one in 26 years.”
I expressed my painful experience as a child by writing poems about the situation that I grew in without parents and no place to call home. I missed my child hood and forced to be an adult at the age of nine. I feel bitter about it but always calm myself by speaking to others about my problems and believe you will understand my feeling if you put your self in my shoe. I learned how to forgive those who hurt me, and through peace, love we can make a difference in this universe.

Why oh mother Land
English version

Why oh mother Land

Oh beautiful mother Land. Crossed by longest river in the world
And longest civil war in the world
I was proud to call your name as where am from
But you smear your face with blood of your own children
You turned sweet Nile water to be filthy to drink
You vomit your children out side
You scattered them all over the world
In jangles, forests, Deseret and foreign Land
I never had peace in foreign land
And I will never have peace any where
I’m not proud of your name any more
You are known by all kinds of horrible names
Genocide, war crime, power angry even home for terrorist
Why ashamed me? Why made me home less? But why me?
I have the richest land in the universe but you made me the poorest
The land with flowing oil and the land full of gold
Mother land can you wake up? Can you bring your children home?
Can we get along? As one people One Nation?
From South to North and from East to West.
Is it expensive to be one family?
Or is it expensive to love one another?
My good days with mama
English version

My good days with mama

Mama starts my good days with porridge and chai
She sends us to school with cassava and corn for lunch
Mama smile and prude as her little boys leave the house
She smile as they come home in the evening
Mama end our good days with evening stories after surfer
We sit around the fire place out side as she tells the stories

The good days are not there any more
The evil called war took it away from me
The war terrorized our lives
Took me away from my sweet mama
And from my best friend little brother
No more good days with porridge and chai
No more cassava and corn for lunch
But go hungry for the whole day
My lucky day is when I get wild fruits
No more evening stories around the fire
No more hummer from mama
But spend night hiding from Lions and hyenas
Hunting for me
Evening stories turned to listening to roaring Lions
And hiding place became my fire place

Mama’s little boy become a child of war
And become scavenger
Walk for miles and miles for safety
But never find any place safe
In the jungle and in the desert
In refugees camps still no safety
Now the lost boy in America
What is next for mama little boy?
Child cry of war
English version

Child cry of war

I was found along the road side in open ash air
I grew like a child of leach
No mother and no father
I feed on bitter leaves and roots in the desert
I stay in rain and hot sun for fear
Are all children in the same condition?
No, a child elsewhere enjoys the calm blue sky
And the love of his parents
A fox has a den and a bird has nest
But the child of war has nowhere to lay his head
For fear of bombs and bullets in southern Sudan
O God lift up this child of war
Kakuma Camp home to homeless
English version

Kakuma Camp home to homeless

Kakuma home to many homeless from neighboring countries
Home to those who are forced to leave their beloved countries
Home to those who have no hope
Home to the lost boys of Sudan
And beloved home to turkana

Kakuma is remembered by it dust storm
Dust that cover the whole camp
Dust that feel our food with dirt
Dust that unbured scorpion
Scorpions that threatened our lives
Kakuma can be remembered by the great tarach river
River that swell when it rains
And river that destroy little vegetation around
River that carry dirty water
River that flow few days in a year

Kakuma can only be remember of hunger
Place where you don’t dream of breakfast
A place where you eat a meal a day
A good place to loss weight
A place where you spent whole day in cue for food
A place where we ate same food for nine years
And others are still eating the same food

Kakuma is a place that gives no hope
A place that one sleep with open ears
A place full of bandage
A place of insecurity
When a refugee got asylum from kakuma
They feel like they got out of hell
Is kakuma a hell?
I have no doubt
The Memories of the river
English version

The memories of the river

Rivers are beautiful and sources of life
River provide us with water and food
Its fun to swim in a river
River flow symbolized peace
River provide all we need
And river home to crocodiles and snakes

But my memories of rivers is terrible
Because of two rivers Rat and Gilo unforgettable memories
River that took my cousin Umo and he perish in my face
River that took my friends when I watch them drowning
Because I was help less to rescue any of them
I cried and shout but my cry didn’t help me
I don’t see any river as a source of life
And I don’t have any fun in a river any more
But I see river as a killer
When I see a river it gives me a flashback
Of terrible and cruel river did to my comrades