Skip to comments.'Lost Boy' Attains Eagle Scout Rank (positive Scout story not found in National Press)
Posted on 03/13/2004 9:49:01 AM PST by fight_truth_decay
Lost Boy attains Eagle Scout rank
HIGH POINT -- Kuanyin Abur once hiked hundreds of miles to escape persecution and death. Since arriving in America, hiking has earned the Sudanese native more than merit badges.
Abur is one of the "Lost Boys," a group of 30,000 southern Sudanese boys orphaned by civil war.
In 2000, the United States began to resettle nearly 4,000 Lost Boys in America. About 150 live in Guilford County.
Abur became a Boy Scout -- with Emerywood Baptist Church's Troop 2 -- soon after his arrival. On Friday, he completed the steps to become an Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
It's very likely that Abur is the first of the Lost Boys to become an Eagle Scout. Pat Priest, who directs refugee and immigration services for Lutheran Family Services in Greensboro -- an agency that's worked closely with the Lost Boys, isn't aware of another.
Abur has completed his work just in time. He turns 18 today, and the requirements for an Eagle Scout must be met before a young man's 18th birthday.
Abur lives in High Point with his older brother, Angelos Agok, who said he is very proud of Abur.
"(Becoming an Eagle Scout) will help build him up as a man. Any kind of experience he gets here in the United States will be useful when we get back home to help our people."
Scoutmaster Kent Crawford first became aware of details from Abur's past during his troop's lengthy hikes, including one of 50 miles.
"He can walk 10 miles barefoot without any problem, while some Scouts start getting blisters underneath their shoes and socks in half that distance."
The hikes also gave Crawford and the other 26 Scouts of Troop 2 an opportunity to learn more about Abur.
They learned that from the time he was a young child, he and thousands of other Sudanese boys walked across unforgiving terrain in search of refuge -- first in Ethiopia, then back to Sudan and finally into Kenya. During the trek, Abur saw other boys mauled by wild animals. As the group crossed the Blue Nile, he saw other boys caught and eaten by crocodiles.
Thousands of boys didn't make it to safety.
"Some gave up. They had no hope," Abur said. "But God promises us to have something in the future. As long as you look for it, it will be there. I have hope that one day people will look to me as an example."
Abur doesn't focus on his difficult past. If his fellow Scouts have learned from him, Abur also has learned from them. He's discovered what it means to be an American.
"They've helped me learn to speak English well and what it's like to be an American teenager," Abur said. "I've learned a lot from them. I feel like they're my family."
And the Scouts have helped Abur learn what it means to be a leader. His hope of being an example for others already has come to pass.
"Kuanyin was a little older than the other Scouts in our troop when he joined," Crawford said.
"The other kids looked up to him. He was elected senior patrol leader."
Abur also has served as a junior assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 2, and now that he's 18, he's can become an assistant Scoutmaster -- no "junior."
The path to the Eagle Scout rank contains various stops along the way: attaining leadership positions, acquiring merit badges, and finally, coordinating a service project. It's been hard work, but Abur was determined to succeed.
"I have the support of my fellow Scouts and leaders, and I couldn't let them down. I'd feel ashamed.
"If you start something, you've got to finish it."
Abur chose a service project that will help other Sudanese. He has collected Bibles and children's books that will be used to teach young people and adults in Sudan how to read.
Abur plans to return to Sudan -- to visit. He wants to trek around the world.
"I won't live in the U.S. I won't live in Sudan. I'll spend my life around the world, helping people, just like so many people have helped me."
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Also, this is an example of why I give to the Boy Scouts. Not only because they are a great organization, but also because they are sticking to their founding principles and are getting attacked because of it.
It never hurts to read again.
Yeah? So what, he's still a homophobe.
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