On Wednesday, March 16, after reading A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, the 7th graders at Naches Valley Middle School were introduced to a man who lived the book. Abraham Abei, originally from Sudan (later South Sudan) was one of the “Lost Boys” from the Dinka tribe who traveled with Salva Dut. For years he lived without his family, displaced by war. At the age of 12 he was forced to flee his home and enduring military attacks, harsh environments and eating anything “green,” Abraham fled first to Ethiopia. Then later, as a teenager, he traveled with 1500 “Lost Boys” hundreds of miles through the Southern Sudan desert to the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where he lived in a barbed wire enclosed camp.
Now Abraham lives in Seattle and is a cheerful driver of the popular monorail downtown. His visit to the middle school brought the story to life for the students. Through this first person account, students increased in their global awareness and understanding of and compassion for other cultures. Abraham reiterated to the students how different and blessed America is as compared to other countries where they know only war. He also encouraged students to persevere through their challenges.
The students were enthralled with his story; some declaring it sad and others, “awesome.” The students acknowledged that it was an honor and privilege to have Mr. Abei share his story with them.
— Andrea Bault, teacher at Naches Valley Middle School
This was shared by Susan Richmond, owner of Inklings Bookshop in Yakima, WA, in her store’s newsletter.