Now if you asked how someone named Reynold Feldman could have a brother named Losuba, few would be surprised. That number would include me. So, here’s a little background. Around six years ago, a retired Episcopal priest attached to our parish contacted me with an unusual request. Before her retirement, she explained, she had worked with the South Sudanese emigré community in Minneapolis. Through them she learned of a very special South Sudanese expat named Losuba. Apparently, as a major general in his country’s army and a liaison to its Department of Defense, he had become a leader in the opposition to the corrupt government then in power. As such, he and his family had received credible death threats. So, his wife and children fled to another East African country while Losuba, hoping to gain political asylum and bring them over later, landed in the U.S. Now he was in our Boulder, Colorado area and needed a place to stay. Could he stay with us?
A week later the priest and Losuba were on our doorstep. He was a big man with a quizzical look. I’m sure he was wondering what kind of people we were and how his stay with us would work out. We had a little studio apartment attached to our house—it later became our Airbnb space—where he lived for the next three months. In that time he became a very dear friend to my wife, Cedar, and me. We learned that he had been raised a Roman Catholic and, as a young man, had considered becoming a Catholic priest. He had even spent a year in a Roman seminary before deciding against the priesthood. After that he managed to acquired two master’s degrees from English universities, one in military science and the other in international development. On returning to Juba, his country’s capital, he married and quickly moved up the ranks in the army. Then he became one of the focal points of the opposition and was forced to leave in a hurry. When he arrived in America, he spoke English, several tribal languages, Arabic, and a little Italian. As an asylum applicant, he was permitted to work. He became a familiar presence by day at the large Whole Foods in downtown Boulder while staffing the reception desk by night in an all-night fitness center. He found a place to live with other friends and could now send money back to his family. Unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration turned down Losuba’s asylum request. His many friends prepared a farewell party and raised $11,000 for him to ease his transition and also help pay for his virtual doctoral study at an institute in South Africa. Some months after his return, he was named Minister for Federal Affairs of the new government of South Sudan. More importantly, he had become a true brother to us.
Our lovely brother Losuba