Johndy is great at playing football

A young boy from South Sudan was hurt in a violent conflict in his home town Bor and survived a gruesome flight to camp Mahad in Juba.
Johndy plays football Credit: Jako Klamer/LIGHT FOR THE WORLD

When the fighting started in their hometown Bor, in South Sudan, Johndy and his family, in blind panic, all ran in different directions: father Major, mother Lucia, carrying baby Nyantut on her arm, Johndy, Camis and Akuei. One refugee after the other was shot. “I got hit when I was fleeing the war,” tells Johndy. “A bullet hit my thigh and I couldn’t walk anymore.” Father Major is a fisherman: every day he cast his net into the river Nile, near to his hometown Bor. But heavy fights broke out in the young country South Sudan, a country that, in 2011, joyfully celebrated its independence.


The residents of Bor got caught up between the fighting troops of president Salvia Kirr and the rebels of Riek Machar. Despite his injured leg, he ended up in the hospital of his hometown Bor, but rebels invaded the hospital, marauding and murdering. Johndy fled the battleground again and only barely escaped.
“My mother hoisted me on her shoulders: in the rush we had to flee, she even tripped multiple times. We hid in the woods for five days. When the governmental troops regained power, the fights stopped for a while. We quickly walked back to Bor.”

Carried by strangers

Johndy fled south, to Juba, along with dozens of other refugees, his mother, his little brothers and his little sisters. His father stayed in Bor and later fled north. During his flight, he was carried by strangers for days. “We spent the night on the ground, our only clothing were those we wore when we fled”, Johndy says. “Sometimes we got some food or something to drink from people we met on the way. At the last part of our journey, I was able to hitch a ride on a truck.”

Arrival in Camp Mahad and business instinct

From the first week of 2014, Johndy lived in the overcrowded, muddy refugee camp Mahad, in Juba. The first months, they slept in a structure made out of sticks, old rugs and bags. Thanks to mother Lucia’s business instinct , they were able to trade their meager residence for a more comfortable accommodation.  Father Major came to the camp as well and the family was reunited. However, Major decided to return to Bor in order to protect their country against invaders.
“We can also return to our birthplace,” says Johndy. “Our home was destroyed completely, trashed and burnt, but the ground on which our home stood is still ours. But, I don’t want to go back to Bor, I want to stay in Juba. We lived in a very dangerous place.” But the situation in the camp isn’t exactly ideal either, and it gets works every day. A lot of organizations are dismanting their projects. “Earlier, we could eat two times a day, but since last month there is only enough for one meal a day” Johndys mother Lucia says, ”Since the crisis in 2014, we have been living on ration.”


“Supported by LIGHT FOR THE WORLD, Johndy could get surgery in Uganda,” Lucia tells us happily. “Due to his injuries, Johndy could barely walk, even with crutches. The doctors removed the bullet from his leg and he got therapy to help his joints and muscles gain more flexibility.”
“Through the support of Light for the World Johndy’s life changed for the better. Before the operation, Johndy just sat near our tent, day after day. Now, after the surgery and with the constant physical rehabilitation, he wanders around all over the camp. He is very popular with the other children”, says his mother Lucia. Johndy adds: “My friends often pick me up,” Johndy affirms. “We hang out together, within and outside the camp. I can even play football again!”