(Above, Aguto talks legal immigration and citizenship over coffee with my friend Bill, a former assistant U.S. Distrct Attorney.)
Over the past six months, I've had the privilege of getting to know a young man named Aguto, about 23. He is one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.
Aguto Aguto is the official name on his Tennessee driver's license.
He was given this name by the Sudanese tribe which also gave him the slash marks on his forehead, forever identifying him with the people of his African homeland.
Years later, Kenyan authorities assigned Aguto an age and birthdate, though he can't be for sure exactly how old he is.
While not sure of his age, he remembers his parents and the location of the people and tribe he was forced to flee when, as young boy, war broke out in southern Sudan in 1991, killing many of his family and community.
Aguto, tall and thin, has been in the United States now for four years with the help of the U.S. State Department and the United Nations. He came here from Sudan by way of Ethiopia, then Kenya after taking a very long walk with over 30,000 other "boys" starting when he was seven.
After several "walks" (from Sudan to Ethiopia and back, then from Sudan to Kenya) he lived in refuge camps for ten years where he learned to speak English, got an elementary and high school education and was converted to Christianity.
Aguto, along with many of his surviving friends, is all too familiar with war, famine, drought, pestilence, death, destitution, dehydration, starvation, disease, eating dirt and grasshoppers, walking miles without shoes, being eaten by lions and just about anything else you could think of happening in the heart of darkest Africa.
One of the Lost Boys of Sudan, Aguto works today on the other side of the world as a cashier at the nearby Krogers near where I live, while struggling to make ends meet and attend school to earn a degree in criminal justice. He lives with five other "lost boys" from his former refuge camp in Kenya. Aguto estimates there are about 5,000 African refuges in Middle Tennessee. As it turns out, Aguto is one of the leaders of this local group and has been to Washington D.C. to testify several times before Congress about the dire situation in Sudan.
It is by talking with Aguto over coffee at Starbucks--often quite early in the morning after he gets off working the midnight shift at Kroger---that I am becoming familiar with what's going on in Sudan and Darfur, the western province in Sudan.
I am a slow learner and Aguto has a thick British accent requiring me ask him to repeat himself often and talk more slowly. Sometimes I have to read his lips, but I want to understand the incredible story he wants to tell me.
I am only beginning to grasp first hand his situation, the saga of his people and the horrific things happening in Sudan at the hands of radical Arab Muslims hellbent on taking over his country in the name of Allah and oil.
Aguto's story is about the war on terror, stupid. And how radical Islam will stop at nothing to spread its influence and domination to all parts of the globe and to all people.
I intend to blog more about Aguto and Sudan, as best I can, in the months ahead. It's a story worth hearing, and a story worth making an effort to grasp.
"Extremists came into their country..." is the opening quote in the above video. But make no mistake, the extremists being referred to are radical Arab Muslims who have come into the country and declared jihad against the African Sudanese, of all religions---including Christian Sudanese living primarily in the southern part of Sudan where Aguto is from, as well as indigenous Muslim Sudanese living in Darfur where Arab Muslims are conducting genocide on the natives in the most horrific ways. All in the name of Allah.