A Long Walk to Water 

Chapter 12

Nya's Story

Southern Sudan, 2009

A big iron  machine was making very loud noises.  It turned out that the loud machine was a drill which was used to dig deep into the ground.  There were at least ten men working with the drill and loading equipment  and plastic pipes onto their trucks.  

Nya's mother and a few other women would walk back and forth collecting rocks and stones which they would bring back for the men working with the drill.  Nya did not know why. 

The other villagers would use tools to break the rocks up into gravel .  Nya was still confused, but did see that the pile of rocks and gravel got bigger everyday. 

Nya heard the sound of the machines each morning.  She knew that the drill was going to be used to help them get water, but she didn't understand how. 

Salva's Story

Itang Refugee Camp, Ethiopia 1985

Salva called out to the woman in the orange head scarf but realized quickly she was not really his mother.  

Salva thought of what his Uncle had said to him that his village had been attacked and his family had probably not survived.  Salva realized that his family was gone and he was alone.  He felt very sad thinking about this.  He wondered, "how can I go on without them?" 

Then, Salva thought, "I have to go on because my family would want me to survive, to grow up and do something with my life, to honor their memories ". 

Six Years Later....


Salva was still at the refugee camp.  He couldn't believe he had been there for so long.  It seemed like just yesterday he had arrived.

But, Salva heard from someone that the camp was closing and that everyone was going to have to leave.  Salva was worried because he did not know where he would go.  

Salva was 17 now and was respected as a young man in the camp.  He found out that the Ethiopian government  was falling apart and they were the ones running the refugee camps. 

Everyone at the camp was being forced to leave.  There were thousands of people walking and leaving and Salva had to leave too. 

Then, all of a sudden he heard people screaming and yelling and there were soldiers firing guns at them.  The soldiers were trying to clear everyone away from the camp. 

Salva ran ahead to the river with the other people. 

He yelled "They're chasing us towards the river!" 

Salva knew that was not good.  The river was the Gilo River and this was a very dangerous river filled with fast water and crocdiles.