Sudan "lost boy" becomes US citizen

March 11, 2008 4:18:51 PM PDT
A "Lost Boy" who survived a civil war has become a U.S. citizen. This morning, Gabriel Akok was sworn in as an American citizen, but reaching this seminal moment meant surviving one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century.

"It's hard to imagine what is happening in Africa. You get only what the media put out there and people are not aware of what's going on," Gabriel said.

Gabriel is among a group of Sudanese Nationals who've become known as the "Lost Boys."

The" Lost Boys" are among thousands of young people orphaned or displaced during the brutal civil war in Sudan.

Gabriel was 10?years-old when he was separated from his parents and one of his brothers was killed.

Still, he and his surviving brother Michael made it to a refugee camp.

It took a few years but Gabriel and Michael were among the fortunate few selected to come to America.

The Wakefield family of Coopersburg was among those who sponsored their Trip and Andy Wakefield says he could not be prouder.

"Really, the example he set for my kids. To see him overcome such adversity and come here and succeed and see it culminate with citizenship is really an amazing experience," Andy said.

Along with becoming an American citizen, Gabriel is also a senior at Arcadia University scheduled to graduate in May.

His plans go far beyond an undergraduate degree.

"I'm planning to go to law school after this because I want to be a lawyer as well and be able to help people." Gabriel said.

Gabriel says his father died last year, but his mother is still in a refugee camp in Sudan. He says he really has two missions left for his life: one is to get the law degree and two is to bring his mom to America and reunite what's left of his family.