Newcomers to America arrive from all points on the globe, creating a kaleidoscope of cultures and personal histories. Somehow, most manage to adapt to their new surroundings.

That ability to adapt - as well as the ability of the US communities to absorb - will face a particularly interesting test over the next few years with the arrival of more than 4,000 youthful Sudanese immigrants.

These are the Lost Boys of Sudan. (See story, page 1.) Orphaned and forced out of their country years ago by a still-raging civil war, most of the boys - and a relatively small number of girls - have grown to young adulthood in Spartan refugee camps in East Africa. They have a smattering of schooling, and an abundant desire to get more education and surmount their pasts.

That desire will serve them well. The communities they're moving into - from Boston to Omaha to Seattle - will provide opportunities these young people have scarcely been able to dream about. The culture shock could be sharp. They'll need patient guidance from new friends.

With that help, and their own proven resilience, the Lost Boys should soon find new lives.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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