“They loved it. They said this could work in our country, to stop what they called the oil curse," Hickel said.
The oil curse is what drove immigrants like Pastor Michael Washtour to leave Sudan.
"The officials are the ones who really benefit. Because they don't use the money. They just use it for themselves," Washtour said.
If a new country is created, Washtour hopes his people will embrace Alaska's owner-state concept.
"They need basic things like water, electricity. And even help them with farming. Things like that, that make them to become independent," he said.
"Using the common wealth for the common man, that's the Alaska model," Roberts said.
He believes the state Legislature should study the model and be a resource to developing nations.
"The best way to understand it is to talk about it and teach others about it," Roberts said.
So southern Sudan may be a test case, not just for a new country, but for a state that's still trying to learn and appreciate its own history.
If the south secedes, both sides will have to come to new agreements on how to share the oil wealth to prevent civil war.
The clinic Hickel is working on has suffered a big setback due to an outbreak of Kala-azar, a parasitic disease that’s transmitted by bites from the sand fly. People become living skeletons, and unless they can receive an injection each day for 30 days, it’s usually fatal.
The clinic is being built in Old Fangak, which has been inundated with people throughout the region seeking care who have to stay for at least a month to finish their treatment.
Work on the clinic has been set aside to build shelters.
We want to thank Todd Hardesty, an Alaskan film producer, for sharing his footage of the "Alaska Sudan Medical Project."