When I finished reading the last sentence in this book and closed the back cover, I just sat and stayed on my couch digesting one more time all I've just read. A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park will have that effect on you. I guaranteed you the story will stay with you for a long time and it will make you ponder many things. This book is based on the true story of Salva, a young boy in Sudan who at the age of 10 had discovered the meaning of the word death, lost, pain, survival, fear and struggle. The way Linda Sue Park tells us Salva's story set in Southern Sudan in 1985 is by simultaneously telling us the story of Nya, a young girl also in Southern Sudan by set in 2008.
A background information important to understand and one that the author provides beautifully in the book is that in Sudan in 1983 a war had started between the southern part of Sudan and the northern part of this country. The Southern part of Sudan were fighting against the government who wanted all of Sudan to become a Muslim country. Most of the people living in the northern part of Sudan are Muslims. Therefore, the long fight for independence of religion starts in Sudan and it spread all across the country killing, injuring, and devastating hundreds and hundreds of families.
One of the families affected by this war was Salva's family. They are separated, each person looking and struggling to survive. Salva joined hundred of other people who are also running away from the war and looking for protecting. But the question was where would they feel protected? Where would they run in the middle of Africa? That's when their long journey from Sudan to Ethiopia started going through nights of living and surviving among the wildest animals. Days crossing the land with nothing to eat and barely anything to drink. Once they arrive in Ethiopia, they soon discovered they are not wanted there either so they are forced to leave to Kenya. Throughout all this journey, I stayed wide awake reading every detail of their survivor, feeling every fear and even found myself holding my breath as I was afraid to turn to the next page. The author kept Salva's story alive in this book and when you thought that the story reaches a point of hope for Salva, then the book surprises you with Salva's determination and perseverance to help his people, his country, their safety and their health. A man like Salva teaches everyone not only about the Lost Boys in Sudan but he wants to teach the rest of the world the possible ways that people can help. After all Sudan still struggles with some of the most basic needs: having access to clean and safe water.
Salva have started an organization called Water for Sudan, a project that helps drill borehole wells bringing clean and safe water to thousands of people in some of the most remote villages in Sudan. Please visit their website Water for Sudan to find out ways to help, donate, and raise awareness and understanding among people.