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Awet Beraki achieves his dreams!

Awet Beraki has a breathtaking story that will truly bring tears to your eyes. His accomplishments prove anything is possible. 8 years ago, he was tossed from a truck and was left to die in the Sinai Peninsula desert. He was held captive for 11 months and underwent daily torture, he believed he would die. When he was found, he weighed 40 pounds and lost the use of his limbs after chains bound his wrists and ankles rubbed through his skin into his bones. After he was recused, he believed there was hope.  

The Kidnapping 

In 2011 13-year-old Beraki and his 14-year-old cousin Ahmed Dirar were in their home country Eritrea in Africa. They decided to take a short walk around Eritrea to watch bike races, while there they were approached by man who offered them to work in his garden. Hopeful for the extra money they agreed. They hopped into the man’s car and drove them to a nearby village Sawa, the man told them to sit and wait under a tree. Later another truck carrying 2 men arrived the man who originally offered them work said these men could pay them much more. Eager to impress their families they got into the truck. 

In the car the men told the boys how lucky they were to avoid service in the Eritrean military. The discussion eventually turned to a refugee camp in Khartoum, Sudan, where Beraki and Dirar friends from their village now lived. The men offered to stop there and let boys see their friends, they happily agreed. While on the way to Khartoum they stopped in Kassala, they told them a car parked nearby would take them the rest of the way. After a short distance, the truck stopped outside a brown house, there was a gang of men shouting in Arabic, holding knives and rifles. They got out of the truck, had a gun pointed at their head, and a man told them to get on his knees. The boys were going to be taken to Israel and the cost of their package 120,000 nakfa ($8,000)  

Beraki told them “We have nothing.”  Another man stepped over and pressed the barrel of his gun to their face. The man gave him a choice to go or not, if he said no, he would be killed. 


The men locked them in a truck and drove them to a house 30 minutes away. Beraki and his cousin were dragged inside and joined other Eritreans with their feet tied and guns pointed at their backs. They survived off bread scrapes and little water until packed onto another truck. For a week, the truck drove over 1,000 miles (about 1609.34 km) in Sudan. Once they reached their destination they were unloaded, and all the children were crushed. The men left their bodies in the dessert sun. They were at an auction, the buyer they nicknamed Cena had dragged them into his truck and drove off. Cena’s intention was to hold them for ransom, forcing their parents to pay $33,000 each. One night Cena decided were thin and close to death. They were no longer worth any value. They loaded them into a truck and dumped them in the desert. 

The Rescue 

Member of the Egyptian army patrol found the boys and took them to a hospital in Arish. Beraki stayed in the hospital for 2 months. During his stay he met Doctor Alganesh who was an Eritrean humanitarian worker. She helped Beraki and his cousin secure money, food, and plane tickets, and a car ride to a Mai-Aini Refugee camp in Ethiopia. He was able to contact his family to let them know he was alive. 

After the boys spent a year and eight months in the refugee camp, they were able to get relocated to the United States. He was sent to Colorado Springs to live with a foster family and attended school for the first time. The boys had many obstacles to overcome including not speaking English and being enrolled as a first-year student.  

Beginning to Run 

While living with his foster family, he was encouraged to play football at Palmer Highschool by his foster brother. “One day, the team ran the Manitou Incline, a trail that gains nearly 2,000 feet in under a mile,” Beraki said. “Before the rest of the team reached the top, I had been there twice. The coach contacted the cross-country coach and told him Beraki’s potential. During his sophomore year Beraki was playing football and running cross-country. By his junior year he was running 5k in 16 minutes, 4 seconds and was in the top 100 in the country in his age group. Now Beraki is a reigning outdoor 500m champion, four-time All-American, and is set to make his debut. This shows Awet Beraki is truly an inspiration. 

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About the Contributor
Michelle Kappelmann
Michelle Kappelmann, Staff Writer
Michelle was a web leader at Galileo middle school. This is her first year at Palmer. She is a freshman. She really likes to do makeup and is very good at it. “You do not find the happy life you make it” - Camilla Eyring Kimball. This quote inspires her because she believes you can make the happy life by following your dreams and believing in yourself. She likes to write because she can use her imagination and her social skills by interviewing peers. She deals with procrastination. She likes to relax by listening to music and watching tv. 

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