Just two days after passing his citizenship test, Lopez Lomong advanced past the preliminary round of the 800 meters at the U.S. track and field championships. Lomong won't officially be sworn in as a citizen for another few weeks, but was allowed to participate because he'll be an American before he would represent his new country in international competition.
"I just wanted to have fun with my fellow Americans," the former "Lost Boy of Sudan" said with a big smile.Lomong is a sophomore at Northern Arizona, and running is nothing new for him. In fact, it's how he's survived. Lomong came to America as part of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" program in 2001 after spending a decade in a Kenyan refugee camp. He was taken by Sudanese rebels when he was 6 and imprisoned in a Sudanese rebel camp. But Lomong has had luck on his side a number of times.
Three older boys escaped through a small hole in a fence and took him with them, Lomong said. According to Lomong, they ran for three days before encountering Kenyan border police, who took them to the refugee camp.Luck struck a third time when he found out four years ago that his entire family had escaped from Sudan and was living in Kenya. He now speaks to them and hopes to see them for the first time in 16 years.
He expected to live his life in the camp but after writing an essay, he was chosen for the "Lost Boys" program and placed in the home of Robert and Barbara Rogers near Tully, N.Y.
The story of Lomong is an inspiring one. His travails and perseverance is nothing other than amazing. Lomong is not only someone who is thankful to be an American, but one who is thankful to just be alive. He's just another reminder that we shouldn't take anything for granted, and be appreciative for all that we have.