Water Changes Everything

The book I read this month was interesting and contrasted with all other books I’ve read before because the author created two main characters in two different time periods in South Sudan. The girl Nya (from 2008) lived in a small village near the place the boy Salva (from 1985) used to live with his warm and sweet family before the painful memory of losing all his family members during the brutal civil war that began in the 1980s. The story begins with two people, from different and historically rival tribes, having nothing got to do with each other at a different time period in Sudan.  Little does the reader know that each of their “long walks to water” might cross.Nya, the girl from a poor Nuer family, doesn’t have a faucet to produce clean water every day, so she has to carry a big plastic container and walk for four hours and when she gets the fetch water from the pond she has to walk for four hours again but this time with full water in her container.  That is her job every day.  No school.  No future. This is her long walk to the water.

Nya, the girl from a poor Nuer family, doesn’t have a faucet to produce clean water every day, so she has to carry a big plastic container and walk for four hours and when she gets the fetch water from the pond she has to walk for four hours again but this time with full water in her container.  That is her job every day.  No school.  No future. This is her long walk to the water.

Salva, a 12-year-old boy from Dinka race, goes to school for part of the year and he is a good student. At the beginning of his story, he is daydreaming about his family and culture.  Linda Sue Park uses this to give us context in the exposition — it’s her way of helping us understand Salva better. His father is a successful man; he is a judge of the court in his village everyone respects him. His brothers and he tend to the family cows and based on their ages have different responsibilities.  His mother and sisters tend to their house and girls do not go to school in the Dinka tribe either.  Shockingly, he is startled from his daydream when suddenly a bomb is dropped and gunfire explodes outside of his school. The war was officially begun in his village, and his teacher told him to keep running and hide in the bush – the small trees and bushes in the desert of South Sudan.  He must walk away from the fighting.  Away from his family.  This is his long walk.  But where is the water?

After many hardships, Salva finally went to the USA and he got adopted by an America family, he graduated university and he went back to Sudan and found a foundation built some well for the people live there who were surviving for not having clean water and water-related disease. These movements also benefited Nya, she doesn’t have to walk for hours and hours every day, she could you those time for education.

Salva’s foundation site

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