I didn’t know the background of Bol, the beloved Snider Plaza Tom Thumb employee, until this e-mail began circulating. Now Park Cities residents are spreading the word and asking for your help.
My friend Bol, who bags groceries at Tom Thumb in Snider Plaza, is a Lost Boy from Sudan. We are currently helping Bol raise funds to help him return to Sudan upon his graduation from college this May. He has not seen his family since he fled in ’92 and his life has been a constant struggle. He would really enjoy getting to know all of you.
* fled “Aweng” village (in Wau, Sudan) as young child while herding cattle with his brother, at approx 5 years old
* spent two years in Africa running in wild without clothes or food, amidst animals like lions, hyenas, crocodiles, and rhinos (who actually do put out fires)
* spent 9 years at Kenyan refugee camp eating cornmeal rations distributed every 2 weeks (often slept hungry)
* chosen for America based on intelligence and communication skills (learned english by moving dirt w/ finger and dubbed “the memorizer”)
* arrived in US around age 15 (2002), given 4 months food stamps, apartment, and minimum wage job where 90% of salary was garnished for rent
* taught himself English, took GED and passed
* saved $8500 cash to buy a car (in order to go to college). Fellow Lost Boys stunned, but Bol fasted occasionally to save money. Friends helped him learn to drive in evenings, never took classes.
* attended Richland College (subsidized by HP Presbyterian)
* fasted several times to pay for books
* received almost straight As taking classes such as physics, chemistry, microbiology, etc.
* studies 4 hours before each exam without exception (extreme discipline)
* never saw a movie, ate at a restaurant, owned an umbrella, or visited a physician OR had vaccines (until this year)
* never had a family in US to live with, so has juggled work/school for 9 years! Said “life here has been harder than being in the refugee camp”. VERY SAD!
* wants to become a pharmacist to help his village improve from witchcraft-type healthcare
* dreams of being able to attend pharmacy school without having to work so much to support himself
* desperately misses family, especially mother, but would never be able to raise money to return while pursuing pharmacy degree in future
* Graduates from Richland College on May 7th!
Bol will present his story to HPMS 6th Graders on Friday, March 5th, and to the congregation of the First Unitarian Church on Sunday March 7th services (9:15am and 11am).
How to help: Travel fund checks can be written out to “Bol Malual Deng” and given to the Snider Plaza Tom Thumb service counter. They may also be directly deposited at any Wells Fargo bank with the account number of # 6633473829. Contributions for school supplies for his village should be marked in the memo section. Bol will purchase school supplies in Uganda to take to Aweng. Include a photo since Bol will make a scrapbook of his contributors to share with his family. Please forward this email to your neighborhood friends.