Joan Hecht, the award winning author of The Journey of the Lost Boys, will be a guest speaker at Limestone College on Tuesday, October 9. Her presentation, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in the College's Fullerton Auditorium, is free and open to the public.
Joining Hecht at Limestone will be one of the "lost boys" who will share the story of his journey from hopelessness to triumph.
The 27,000 Lost Boys of Sudan, so named by an aid worker after the fictional characters in Peter Pan, became separated from their family in civil war-torn Sudan at early ages following attacks on their villages. They walked in large groups for approximately three months before reaching the safety of refugee camps in Ethiopia. Many died along the way due to starvation and disease or attacks by wild animals and enemy militia. The relative safe haven of Ethiopia was shattered when civil war broke out in that country as well, causing the children to flee back to Sudan.
In 2000-2001, the United States government awarded refugee status to approximately 3,800 Lost Boys. When first arriving in the U.S., these young men needed instruction in basic daily tasks. Added to that were the health and dental problems they suffered because of malnourishment for most of their lives and being subjected to a variety of life-threatening illnesses and disease.
Published in 2005, The Journey of the Lost Boys is a chronological timeline of the epic journey taken by these children, beginning in their rural villages of Southern Sudan and ending with their arrival as young men to the U.S. Narrated through the voice of Hecht, one of their American mentors, whom they lovingly call "mom" or "Mama Joan;" the book took "first place in education" at the Promoting Outstanding Writers (POW) International Book Awards, earning Ms. Hecht the title "2005 Author of the Year." In 2004, Hecht founded The Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan Foundation to educate the general public on the current conflicts in Sudan.