News & Features

Lost Boy of Sudan Shares His Harrowing Story

Benjamin Ajak, co-author of "They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky," shared his harrowing story Sept. 10 at Fontbonne University

One of Sudan's "Lost Boys," Ajak, 27, recounted the story of thousands of orphaned boys who made a terrifying, horrific 1,000-mile journey across the African landscape as their country broke out in civil war 21 years ago. The boys did what they could to help each other stave off starvation, wild animals and bandits out to harm them before building a new life in the United States.

CMAjak: Fontbonne Ajak

Pictured, from left, Judy A. Bernstein, co-author of

“They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky,” Stephanie Paine-Saunders,

co-chair of 2008 dedicated semester committee, Ajak,

Dr. Nancy Blattner, Fontbonne vice president

and dean for academic affairs and Dr. Dennis Golden, Fontbonne president.

CM Ajak2: fontbonne Ajak2
Benjamin Ajak talks with Fontbonne community.

"I am here to share the news of Sudan's past and present," Ajak told the packed auditorium of Fontbonne students, faculty and staff. "My co-authors and I did not write this book to be millionaires, but so those in the west know what happened to us in Sudan." He also addressed the freshman class, who were assigned his memoir, urging them to "give in to school" and learn as much as they can to not only help themselves, but others less fortunate.

Earlier in the day, Ajak was a guest on KMOX radio's Charlie Brennan Show, a sponsor of the Fontbonne University/KMOX Book Club.


Ajak's visit was part of what Fontbonne calls its dedicated semester, a comprehensive effort that brings the entire campus community together. The theme for the fall 2008 term is "Goals for World Change," focusing on the United Nations' efforts to combat poverty, hunger, child mortality, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. Throughout the fall semester, Fontbonne is addressing this theme through a variety of course offerings, activities, speakers, book readings and more.