Lost no more: Sudanese refugee finds safety, security in Nashville and VUMC

Sourced: Vanderbilt University BY: BROOKE LABARBERA Philip Anyieth stands calmly in a busy hallway of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital while he tells his story. He works for Environmental Services in the hospital — a recognizable figure who cleans everything from the tables in the food court to the miles of floors. He can frequently be seen walking past the colorful arrangement of butterflies on the second floor of the hospital holding a trash bag and offering a friendly wave to passersby. Anyieth {pronounced Uh-KNEE-ith], 24, wears a standard-issued, green and white striped dress shirt, neatly pressed hunter green-colored pants and shiny black shoes. What really stands out when first meeting Anyieth is his sparkling, bright smile. But though this smile is friendly, one can sense a hint of caution—a certain kind of quiet reserve. Looking at this young man, it is hard to imagine that he’s experienced years of turmoil and mind-numbing horrors. But the pain is obvious from the emotion in his voice and the mist in his eyes. Anyieth was one of Sudan’s “Lost Boys,” a name given to about 20,000 Sudanese boys who fled their homeland to escape civil war. “Walking barefoot is hard,” he says. Anyieth knows this well — from at the age of 7, he was escaping a war in Sudan, trekking across the arid Northern African terrain to find safety. The civil war in Sudan began in 1983. The main rebel army, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), was fighting the Sudan government’s military. Anyieth and the other Lost Boys who fled their home were part of the SPLA. During their... read more

Art from “Lost Boy” of Sudan Exhibited at USN

Sourced: University School by Delia Seigenthaler, art teacher The Tibbott Center Gallery is pleased to present My Life Before: A Story of War and Refuge, the Paintings of James Kuol Makuac. One of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan, 38-year old James Makuac was one of the 36,000 boys driven from their villages in South Sudan in 1987 as a result of civil war. At the age of 11, traveling thousands of miles over the next years, he suffered from starvation and unspeakable violence. He eventually was able to emigrate to the United States in 2001. Makuac created a book of his paintings to give his mother when he was finally able to meet her again after twenty years. The exhibit at USN will feature 25 prints of paintings that tell the story of his incredible journey. “We emigrated from a beautiful land that only blessed us with extreme hardship,” says Makuac. “We are called the Lost Boys because we were forced as children to flee our villages and families. We ran for our lives through the jungle and desert, across three countries to escape civil war between Northern and Southern Sudan. This war continues to this day. It is important to paint the horrors of war as if it is a beautiful flower. Our life before the war was like a beautiful garden.” James will be speaking with USN art students about his experiences as a refugee of Sudan’s civil war and his life here in Nashville. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at the Tibbott Center Gallery at University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Avenue, Thursday... read more