This is a TRUE story of two children. At the end of the book it says that some of the details are fiction, but the main events of the story are historic.
I always find myself thinking back to what was going on in my life while these horrors were occurring. One story is of Salva that starts in 1985. I was graduating from high school, hanging out with friends a lot, working and thrilled with my new money making place in life. The other story is a girl in the year 2008. That year I was in mourning over the loss of our stillborn daughter, Destiny. People in Sudan never had the luxury to mourn for a day let alone a year or more like I did.
Walking is an important motif in this story. Salva walks from war to refugee camps. Then when they are no longer safe he walks to another country. He walks, sometimes just keeping his eye on a mirage ahead. He realizes that all he has to do is make it through the next hour and through this day. He leaves Sudan and ends up in a refugee camp, alone, for 6 years. He often tells himself, just one more day.
The girl in the story, Nya, is also forever walking. She spends half a day walking to a well to get her family some water and then carries it home on her head. She then turns around and does it again. Every day. In time, her village gets a well. This changes their lives. After the well is built they can grow crops. The children can go to school. Life truly changes.
Water has so much meaning for the people. Clean water means health. Unfortunately, not everyone has clean water. Water means life. Dehydrated men die as they try to walk away from the war. People move away from their homes during the dry season because there is no water. Water is life. Seeking water is life. Sometimes they have to dig below dry cracked ground that shows no sign of water, but if they dig deep enough they find it.
The story is really well told. In the end, the boy, Salva and the girl, Nya, meet each other. When this happened in the book, I gasped out loud. It made my heart race and emotion welled up inside me. It is a beautiful story!
The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.