They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky is the account of three of Sudan’s ‘Lost Boys’.  At the onset of the civil war in Sudan, which has continued to devastate Sudanese communities to the present day, tens of thousands of young boys took flight from their home towns and villages to seek refuge across Africa. 

Travelling in groups of thousands, fleeing from aerial attacks, fighting dehydration, disease and starvation these unaccompanied young boys aged between four and 16 witnessed the civil war that led to the genocide in Darfur.  Through the eyes of those who were there, we see the terrible impact civil war had on Sudan and its people.

Some of the ‘Lost Boys’ of Sudan were eventually given refuge in America between 2000 and 2005.   They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky is the story of three of those boys, told after they arrived in California.

About the authors

The authors of the book are three of the ‘Lost Boys’.  Benson and Alephonsion Deng are brothers, and Benjamin Ajak is their cousin.  The book is edited with the assistance of Judy Bernstein, their mentor. 

Discussion Questions

Please note that some of these questions will act as spoilers for the book.

  1. why do you think that Benson, Alephonsion and Benjamin wanted to tell their stories?
  1. what can They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky teach us about community life in Sudan?
  1. this book tells 3 different stories – discuss  your thoughts about how they are interwoven – would you have chosen to do this?
  1. do the chapter titles help you engage with these stories?
  1. what scenes stay with you most when you think back to the book?  Are they always the scenes filled with atrocity?
  1. why is it important for us to hear stories which challenge us or are difficult to hear?

You can download this book activity.

You can use HMD resources to find out more about:

The genocide in Darfur

You can watch the testimony of Hawa who survived the genocide.

If you enjoyed reading They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky we recommend The Translator by Daoud Hari.