My Story

My Story

From South Sudan to Calgary, Alberta

Jake Froese, a member of the MCA Mission and Service Committee, introduced us to Bayak Puoch, first in his personal blog and then in a short news story on the MCA website, Walking Together — with so much to learn In My Story, Bayak gives us a glimpse of his life before immigrating to Canada. Bayak and his family had been attending Foothills Mennonite prior to Covid and he continues to join via Zoom when possible.

Bayak Puoch:  My Story 

I am a South Sudanese who lived in refugee camps for more than 27 years.  It is very hard to live the greatest part of your life in a refugee camp. My father was killed by Khartoum regime forces in 1987.   My mother was kicked with boots, two ribs were broken, and she was gang raped by the same government soldiers who killed my father. My mother left us children in the bush while she tried to bury my father, but the Sudan government fired a gun at her, so she ran away from the bullets leaving my father unburied and exposed to the carrion birds.  

My mother took care of me and my other siblings while there were snakes and wild animals inside the bush, not enough food and water because the Khartoum regime forces were preventing us from getting to the water.  After a week in the bush we moved to the Itang Refugee Camp in Ethiopia where we lived from 1987-2001.  In 2001, I moved to Guelguk in South Sudan near the Ethiopian border.  

From 2001 in South Sudan four of us boys were fishing in the Nile River when the Rebels and Sudan Government forces were in the area.  We were detained by them and spent 31 days in military prison where we were beaten every day and hardly given any food or water.  After 37 days they sent us to go collect firewood in the bush; but it was raining and we met rebels who fired on us.  Two of the boys were killed, but myself and one other escaped to Kartoum.  From Kartoum we made our way to Cairo, Egypt in February, 2002. I lived in Cairo from 2002 – 2018.  In 2014 I completed a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy from the University of Cavendish in Uganda.

In 2006, I met my wife at Church and we married, had our children and I was elected to become a South Sudanese Nuer Community Chairman. When my terms ended, I founded the Naath Community in Cairo for all South Sudanese refugees regardless of their tribes and their religions.  I thank all my friends who supported me and my family, my community members through Naath Community. On October 26, 2015, I made a conversation with a very senior person named Ben and I told him about what happened in my country South Sudan. He found a sponsorship for me and my family with the Canadian Reformed Church in Ontario, to come to Canada as a refugee. I thank the people in the church, the Canadian government and its people for allowing us to be in Canada, but my heart is still with my people in South Sudan and I think of them all the time.