Water for South Sudan Founder and Senior Advisor Salva Dut, and Executive Director Lynn Malooly, were both featured as guests on Connections with Evan Dawson, on WXXI, Rochester, NY's NPR station. The show aired on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. You can listen to a recording of the live show here.
Salva was invited by Evan to share his story of walking out of Sudan as an 11 year old boy when war broke out in Southern Sudan in 1985. Salva recounts his story as a young boy forced to walk hundreds of miles, and then his subsequent experiences in two different refugee camps. Salva came to the United States after 10 years of living in refugee camps and walking. He was moved to Rochester, NY in 1996.
Here's a sampling of some of the questions in the interview:
Evan: Did you ever think you would talk to family again? Did you have anyone you were close to that you thought you would have contact with?
Salva: First, there were people that I knew when I was in the first camp in Kenya, before they moved us to another camp in Ethiopia. At that time, most people that I knew were grown up people and they went back to fight in Sudan. I left with people I didn't know. The boys I left with were acquaintances, and they became my family.
Evan: So here in Rochester, what did you find?
Salva: When I came to Rochester, it was in February. In refugee camps, we didn't really understand what snow meant--we thought it was just something foggy. . . . So when I saw the powdery stuff coming from the sky, I sat at the window for an hour and just watching this thing falling from the sky. . . . It was really a challenge to see this different climate completely. ... I will never get used to it.
Evan: Once you got into the rhythm of life and you felt more comfortable here, what was it like to see Americans complain about things like this store doesn't have milk today, or I have to drive 5 miles to this store to get this brand?
Salva: It feels really funny--I couldn't believe that you would have such thinking to ignore the rest and look for other things so far away. When I went to Wegmans, I would just want to get whatever I could get. What happened was that my sponsor said, "Salva, don't get that, it's junk food" and I said, "what are you talking about? What do you mean by junk food? I need it," and I grabbed it because I did not understand what the difference was."