Please join us in welcoming Victor Duang Deng to the staff of Make Way Partners (MWP), one of the main organizations we work with in Sudan. MWP has an office in Birmingham, and Victor is an immigrant from Sudan who has just joined their staff as Sudanese Consul. He has a pretty incredible story, just like many of the Sudanese immigrants and refugees…
Victor is from the same tribe and even village as James Lual Atak, MWP’s Indigenous Director in Sudan [who is seen in this previous post]. Like James, Victor was just a small boy when his village was attacked. Victor was tending cattle with his brother near the river, far away from his family, when he first heard the gunfire. He took off running. Victor ran until his stick-like legs became little more than splinters. He climbed a tree. And waited.
Two long and lonely days passed without a single soul passing Victor as he waited in the tree. Fear of falling asleep kept Victor awake. Exhaustion, dehydration and hunger threatened to disorient the small boy. His mother had prepared him well for an attack. She told him, “If you are hiding, make sure you hear Dinka [the language of a group of tribes from Southern Sudan] before you reveal yourself. The Arabs don’t speak Dinka so you must hide yourself until you hear Dinka.”
Suddenly, Victor heard voices. Hunger pangs in his stomach were overtaken by knots of anxiety as Victor strained to hear what the voices were saying, or more importantly, in what language the words were spoken. The voices belonged to other Dinka people who were also fleeing from the war.
Climbing down the tree became Victor’s first steps in a long and horrifying journey through desert, bush and jungle as he walked hundreds of miles before finally getting to a refugee camp in Ethiopia.
Victor is not a “Lost Boy” any longer. He is a courageous man who has allowed God to transform his fear, loss and pain into a passion to help his people to live. He immigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and has used the opportunities provided to do just that. He now joins the staff of Make Way Partners and dedicates his life for the sake of his people.