A Long Walk to Water 

Chapter 5

Southern Sudan, 2008

There was a big lake three days' walk from Nya's village.  Every year when it stopped raining and the pond closer to their village dried up, Nya's family moved to live closer to the big lake so they could get water.

They didn't live by the big lake all year round because there was so much fighting nearby.  Her tribe, the Nuer , fought with the Dinka tribe over who got to live by the big lake.  So, Nya's family only lived at the lake during the dry season when there was less fighting.

At the big lake, Nya's job was to dig holes as deep as she could to try and get water out.  The water was dirty, but it was better than nothing. 

Southern Sudan, 1985

Salva's eye was swollen shut.  Buksa's arms were lumpy  and in pain.  A friend of Buksa's had afat lip .  Everyone looked as if they had just been in a huge fight.

But, instead of a fight, their injuries had come from the bees.  When they went to get the honey from the beehive, the bees had attacked and stung them all. Even though his eyes hurt, Salva thought the pain was worth finally having some good food. 

All of the walking Salva was doing seemed a little bit easier now that he had had something to eat.  

That night, Salva was walking by the fire when he suddenly heard someone yell "Ouch!".  Salva jumped.

Then, a little boy stood up and said to Salva, "Hey! That was my hand you stepped on!"

Salva said, "Sorry, are you hurt?"

The boy replied, "It's O.K but you should really watch where you are walking"

Then, the boy asked Salva if he knew where his parents were.  Salva shook his head no sadly and the boy said he had lost his parents too.  The boys had something in common so they could be friends. 

The boy introduced himself and said, "My name is Mariel". 

The next day Salva walked with Mariel.  Salva asked Mariel where they were walking to.  

Mariel said he thought they were walking to Ethiopia .

Salva was upset.  He said, "Ethiopia?! But that's another country! How will our families ever find us if we leave Sudan?"

Mariel put his arm around Salva and said, "One day we will come all the way back to Sudan and both find out families".

Salva smiled. 

Salva had been walking for a month.  Now, Salva and his group were walking through the land of the Atuot people .  In his language, the Atuot were called "The people of the lion" because where they lived was filled with lions.  Their legends said that when an Atuot person died they came back as a lion in their next life. 

Salva was nervous to be walking through their land because he was afraid of being killed by a hungry lion.  

The next morning Salva woke up and began walking with Mariel.  

All of a sudden, Salva heard someone call his name.

Salva turned around to see who had called him.  When he turned around his mouth fell open in amazement , but he was so shocked he couldn't even speak.


"Salva!!" The voice yelled again.