This talk is a moving and inspiring tale of one man’s hope for the future of his country. His work makes a tremendous difference in the lives of tens of thousands of South Sudanese every day, and has had a profound impact on many in the U.S. as well, including my family.
Salva Dut is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. He came to the U.S. in the late 90’s as a refugee. Arriving in Dallas, TX, he was given an apartment and integrated into the church community. He had trouble adjusting to the new culture; he remarks in this talk about having trouble remembering to turn on the light when he entered a room. Electricity available to anyone who had access to an outlet was a huge luxury. After staying a few months in Dallas, he relocated to Rochester, NY. That’s where my family met him.
He joined our church in downtown Rochester, which had a community of other Lost Boys, some 15 or 20 who leaned on us for help with our culture as we leaned on them for help understanding theirs. Salva found a job and an apartment before winter came, but was still learning what to expect for the cold weather to come. Coming from sub-Saharan Africa and having only lived in Dallas in North America, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Fall came and my mother in particular bonded with Salva. She made sure he had a thick winter coat and that the central heating in his apartment was setup properly. She would bring him groceries and spend time with him as he had it.
Salva went to the local community college and studied Business and Spanish. He worked very hard and thrived. I still remember the piles of books and papers sitting on the desk and floor in his room. He was always studying. As he discusses in this talk, he got word that his father was sick and flew back to Sudan. His father, sick with a waterborne illness, needed fresh drinking water if he was going to live a long, healthy life. Upon coming back to the U.S., Salva got together with other members of the church and founded Water for Sudan, now Water for South Sudan, Inc.