The Guy Bagging Groceries at Tom Thumb, Do You Really Know Him?

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. 

Bol’s Background:
* 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.

5 thoughts on “The Guy Bagging Groceries at Tom Thumb, Do You Really Know Him?

  • February 9, 2010 at 10:32 am
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    Thanks for posting this. Every little bit helps.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2010 at 11:41 am
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    The high school kids are working on the fund and to get other services donated for him. So far a local dentist, Dr. Sadler donated his services, and they were looking for a local family doctor and an eye doctor to donate as well – he’d never been to any kind of doctor before this. Ask around if you might know anyone that can help.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2010 at 1:47 pm
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    Bol is so grateful for the community’s support. When I asked about his hardships, he said “the Sudanese people do not complain”, and then “for the first time, I feel like someone is behind me”. He really misses his mother – such a little boy at heart!

    Reply
  • February 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm
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    I am a family practice doctor. I would be glad to see him any time he needs to be seen. I would also be able to provide him with vaccinations. I can be reached at the Methodist Uptown Medical Group clinic. 3000 Blackburn Street 214-599-8624.

    Reply
  • February 10, 2010 at 8:42 am
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    I am happy to report that Bol has physician, dentist, and eye appointments donated as of now. Our community has been SO forthcoming in helping him. If anyone has a guesthouse where he and his Lost Boy roommate (Thomas) could live free for awhile, that would help tremendously. Or, if anyone knows where there are good apartments with individual utility meters that would also help. Poor Bol, his apartment complex charged him and Thomas $250 ($125 each) last month and these boys don’t even use the refrigerator. They are only there to sleep since both are gone most of the day. Bol makes $160 per week and his rent is $300. In my opinion, the 54 Lost Boys in Dallas need a free rent situation in order to gain any economic traction. Bol has stated that the Lost Boys in other countries, such as Australia, who were placed with families are much farther ahead. It is heartbreaking that these boys were 15 when they arrived in the states without a family – much too young to live independently. Eight years later, many are still working minimum wage jobs and juggling school just to pay for rent that they don’t really use since they are too busy to be in their apartments. 66% of their income goes towards the apartment and Bol says he is there less than 9 hours a day. Any ideas people have would be appreciated!

    Reply

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