When Awein Lual Wol was eight years old, her Aunt Arek took her from war-torn South Sudan to Kenya. In Nairobi, Arek and Awein worked as servants in various private homes and restaurants. Conditions were very difficult. The Kenyans who employed them knew that they had no other option than to continue to work or to return to certain death in their own country. In desperation, they made their way to Kakuma Refugee Camp and then to the USA. The American government resettled them in Olathe, Kansas.
Their dream is to run a South Sudanese restaurant in Kansas City, making it a center for South Sudanese culture and cuisine. Thus, on December 6th, 2013 they will premiere their custom-made food cart outside of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, at the First Friday event.
The menu that their new cart will serve will include delicate, South Sudanese meat turnovers called “sambusas,” beef cooked with cabbage, grilled chicken, stewed chicken, fried fish, greens cooked with spicy peanut sauce and homemade breads and chai. Each meal will be modestly priced, and will come with an essay describing the life experiences of a member of the expatriate South Sudanese community of Kansas City.
The cart will be fabricated on a flatbed trailer and will include a modest seating area, where patrons can eat, talk with Arek and Awein and listen to CDs of Awein’s beautiful, South Sudanese songs. Stay tuned for more information! – Tanya Hartman