ASM: Tell us about Kimotong Sudan; and from what you remember, how was life like growing up there?
LL: Kimotong is a very traditional village. We had very little contact with the outside world but were a self-sufficient family and village. I lived in a hut with my family and we farmed and kept cows. We did everything by hand and relied on the help of every member of the family to contribute. Day to day we did our chores and in the evenings we would sing, dance, and story tell around a bonfire. Young kids generally stayed together playing during the day. I was very happy.

ASM: Briefly explain what caused the up rise of the Civil War.
LL: The civil war lasted on and off over the last fifty years after the Sudan gained its Independence. The North and South were very different regions but after gaining independence, they were put under one government in Khartoum. The civil war that I experienced lasted for twenty-two years and was largely a war over power, resource sharing, and land control. There were overtones of religious and ethnic cleansing but overall these were secondary motives. South Sudan was far behind the North in terms of education, infrastructure, and civil administration creating an imbalance in the state and spurring tribal conflicts between communities. A peace agreement was signed in 2005 - the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which granted South Sudan autonomy and allowed six years for development before the South would choose whether to be part of United Sudan or become an independent state.

ASM: There are people who had similar experiences as you and there are still many in the same situation. Walk us through thoughts that go through one's mind in the situation you were in.
LL: My childhood experience was very hard because in one second I lost my family, my youth, and everything that had once made me happy. It is hard to think back on that time because I felt a sense of loss and hopelessness. Although life was terrible in the camp, I felt a sense of responsibility for the ten young boys in my tent that became my family. We empowered each other with our companionship and gave each other a reason to keep fighting. We did not have anywhere to go or any alternative so the importance of having these ten boys was critical.

"…We empowered each other with our companionship and gave each other a reason to keep fighting…"

ASM: There is still tension between North Sudan and the newly independent country South Sudan, what are your thoughts on this. What do you think it will take to minimize or eradicate this growing tension between both countries?
LL: It will require both leaders to come together, discuss issues, and negotiate solutions. The most important thing is to silence the drums of war. We already know the result of war and neither country can move forward in a state of war. No other children or families should have to go through the devastation of war. I know these countries have the means to resolve their issues and be good neighbors and good citizens of the global community.

ASM: What got you to write your book "Running For My Life?"
LL: My story is one of struggle and triumph and I use my story to help inspire young people to chase after their dreams. That is what drove me to write a book this year - Running for my Life. The book reveals the challenges I faced throughout my childhood and the struggles of growing up during civil war. At the same it gives hope and shows moments of triumph that are a testimony to the power of dedication and sacrifice. I hope it motivates people young and old to overcome challenges and fulfill their aspirations.

ASM: In your book, you mentioned you went through major culture shocks. Tell us a few and how you as a Sudanese were able to overcome and fuse your cultural beliefs with that of America.
LL: American culture was a big shock. At sixteen I was so used to the culture in the refugee camp and my daily routine of survival. I wanted very badly to be seen as an American rather than an immigrant but everything seemed very foreign. It was my first time ever going to school, so that was a huge adjustment. I struggled to learn English and finish high school at the same time. I learned to adapt to American expectations and find a place where I felt balanced between my traditional life and western life. Another big adjustment was thinking of myself as a child again - although it was the most amazing thing to have a family, I had to get used to the reality that they cared for me and were here to love me and guide me.

"…Beads are essential accessories. We wear beaded necklaces, belts, and even clothing. Traditionally we use cotton and silk sheets that are decorated and made into skirts for women…"

ASM: Tell us more about your organization(s) and the strategies you are using to help your people in Sudan?
LL: I have been giving back to South Sudan since 2008 when I returned home for the first time and saw the tremendous need in my village and the surrounding communities. I recently started the Lopez Lomong Foundation and am focusing this year on the Four South Sudan Campaign to target clean water, health care, education, and nutrition for the people of South Sudan. I partnered with World Vision that supports my cause logistically and provides a huge amount of human resources and experience working in South Sudan. They are a key part of implementing the projects that I design and fundraise for.

ASM: When you look back and reflect on all that you have gone through, what would the Lopez Lomong today say to the Lopez Lomong of yesterday?
LL: I would tell my sixteen year old self to stay focused and keep your eye on your potential to achieve great things and give back. Keep an open mind and learn everything you can. As Steve jobs said, "Stay hungry. Stay foolish" - don't be afraid of making mistakes; learn quickly; and use your knowledge and gifts to their fullest.

ASM: As a fashion magazine, we would like to know what the people of Sudan are known to wear? What are the Traditional clothes and accessories that are the essence of the Sudanese?
LL: Beads are essential accessories. We wear beaded necklaces, belts, and even clothing. Traditionally we use cotton and silk sheets that are decorated and made into skirts for women. For men, they wear shorts with a decorated wrap around their waist. During special dances and celebrations women wear goatskins decorated with beads and dyes. They decorate their bodies with beads and paint. Men wear animal hides - they especially favor leopard hides - and carry a decorated spear and shield - the symbols of warriors. Men also wear feathers on their heads while dancing in traditional ceremonies. They represent wealth, status in the community, rank (only elders wear red feathers), and age groups

For more information about Lopez Lomong and his organization, go to www.lopezlomong.com
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