Third well in place at Mading Thon: villagers pile brush around it for a fence to keep out animals.
Villagers pile brush as a fence to keep animals out of the new well.

By Clare S. Richie

Former Lost Boy of Sudan Majok Marier recently returned from a three-month trip to South Sudan, during which he saw to the construction of two water wells.

Marier is a survivor and a now a life changer for South Sudan. In 1987 at age 7, he fled his village to escape the Sudanese Civil war. He joined tens of thousands of other boys who walked barefoot for more than 1,000 miles, eventually reaching Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. In 2001, Marier was invited by the U.S. government to rebuild his life in Georgia.

He has written a memoir with co-author Estelle Ford-Williamson, “Seed of South Sudan: Memoir of a ‘Lost Boy’ Refugee” to raise awareness and funds for Wells for Hope.

The Atlanta based nonprofit’s first well was drilled last year in Majok’s home village, Bill-ing Daldier. “Villagers grow green crops during the dry season,” Marier shared. In the past, they would disrupt their homes and migrate with their families to a dry season camp, following their cattle.

Access to clean water has the power to transform lives. Growing spinach and okra during the dry season puts more food on the table and increases family income. The women of the village no longer need to travel four to six miles each way to retrieve water. It also means less disease and makes it possible to deliver health services

Wells for Hope will host a celebration to mark the completion of the project on Tuesday, July 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Avondale Market and Food Boutique, 10 N. Clarendon Ave. You can RSVP by calling (404) 664-4518 or email

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.