Salva Dut, the subject of the book "Long Walk to Water" written by Linda Sue Park, joined Mr. Dau and the students from Uganda via Skype.
Each year, as part of their cross-curricular water study, the 5th Grade class reads “Long Walk to Water” and has the opportunity to chat virtually with Mr. Dut.
The book weaves together the story of a fictional character, Nya, with that of Mr. Dut, one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan, who ultimately gives back to his homeland of South Sudan by building wells.
Both Mr. Dut and Mr. Dau are known as “Lost Boys” of Sudan because they fled from their villages to seek refuge from militants during the Second Sudanese Civil War. They walked barefoot across Africa battling starvation, thirst and disease, as well as animal and human attacks.
The special surprise this year was having both men available to discuss their stories and their personal connection. Mr. Dau and Mr. Dut had not seen each other since 2009.
The 5th Graders asked Mr. Dut questions about his life, his family, his work raising funds to build wells in his native South Sudan and the many difficulties he has faced.
“No matter what happened in our lives, we need to have forgiveness,” he said.
When a student asked what advice Mr. Dut would give about how to face challenges, he told them to keep walking.
“Keep persisting and you will accomplish anything you want in your life,” he said. “Never give up and you will get there.”