America. Worth The Wait.
Every time I see footage of the caravan of migrants headed for our border, I think of William Mayom.
I haven’t talked to him in years, but beginning in 2006 I wrote several pieces for The Pilot about this young refugee.
William was one of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” who fled their country, on foot, to escape a bloody civil war.
When William’s village was attacked in 1987 and his father and sisters were killed, Mayom and a brother ran for their lives – all the way from their village in southern Sudan to Ethiopia. Four years later, they and thousands of other Sudanese boys were in motion again, headed for a refugee camp in Kenya.
The boys spent 10 years there. Waiting. Waiting and learning English for a chance to come to America.
Eventually the brothers were sponsored by church groups. William ended up in Norfolk, a student at ODU. His brother at the University of Michigan.
Once in the States, the boys learned their mother was still alive and in a refugee camp in Kenya, along with a younger brother. On a visit to meet his mom in Africa - William hardly remembered her - he met a woman, fell in love and got married. Then he came back to Norfolk to finish his studies and to begin the arduous process of bringing his bride here.
I was there when William graduated from ODU. And I interviewed him again when his wife and son - whom he’d never met - arrived.
I remember asking him about the months and the years it took to bring his family to America. I gave William every opportunity to complain about the red tape, the bureaucracy and the delays.
But there were no complaints from this immigrant.
America, he said, was worth waiting for.
It certainly is.
Someone needs to tell that to the ragtag army making its way north through Mexico. These people - so eager to come to our country - want to cut in line ahead of the William Mayoms of the world.
They need to wait. America is worth it.