With the sound of gunfire and tanks bearing down on his village, Majok Marier fled his native country of Sudan at the age of 7.
Taking special care to avoid other imperiled villages and army patrols, the young refugee of Africa’s longest civil war traveled for months before reaching safety in camps in neighboring Ethiopia and later Kenya.
Food was scarce and water even scarcer for the more than 20,000 “Lost Boys of Sudan” – as they would later be known – who fled their homes and sometimes died of starvation and disease during the long journey.
Now a plumber’s apprentice in Avondale Estates, Mr. Marier has co-written a memoir about his experience with the goal of educating others about the Lost Boys’ story to prevent future violence in his homeland and to benefit his family’s village.
The book, “Seed of South Sudan: Memoir of a ‘Lost Boy’ Refugee”, describes his struggle to eventually get to the United States and addresses current issues afflicting South Sudan, which became the world’s newest nation in 2011.
“When we left, the village elders told us that we were the ‘Seed of Sudan.’ That means it’s up to us to use the education and resources we’ve received for the benefit of our people,” Mr. Marier told Global Atlanta in an interview. “I take that very seriously. ”
A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to Wells for Hope, a nonprofit Mr. Marier created to build wells for his home village and two others nearby where women often walk miles to fetch a few buckets of water.
“You have to have water before you can do anything else,” he said, pointing to the universal importance of clean water for everything from consumption to cleanliness.
After the wells are built, Mr. Marier said he hopes they can also build literacy and health care centers.
“Seed of Sudan” is co-written by Estelle Ford-Williamson, a former United Press International reporter, whom Mr. Marier met through an outreach program by the Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Stone Mountain. She has also published a book about Atlanta and two anthologies of the Civil Rights era.
The two are set to travel the United States on a multi-city book tour that kicked off in June in Atlanta and will go to Cleveland, Washington and Syracuse, N.Y.
Copies of “Seed of Sudan” are available through McFarland & Co., Amazon and can be ordered from local bookstores.
To schedule private readings of the book, Mr. Marier can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.