A Long Walk to Water

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Salva Dut Character Analysis

Salva Dut is based on a real person, and one of the two main characters in A Long Walk to Water. Both in the book and in real life, Salva grows up in a small, south Sudanese village. At the age of eleven, he’s forced to flee his village to avoid the ongoing civil war in his country. Salva spends much of the next decade of his life wandering across the country with other refugees, trying to find a safe place to live. Throughout the novel, Salva is a model of bravery and steadfastness. He is often terrified by what he experiences in Sudan—at one point even witnessing the murder of his own uncle—but he manages to summon the courage to carry on and the strength to survive. As he grows up, Salva begins to feel a desire to help others, not just himself. While in Sudan, he leads more than one thousand Lost Boys to a refugee camp. He stays in multiple refugee camps in different countries before being adopted by an American couple in Rochester, New York. As a young man, Salva reunites with his father, Marien Dut Ariik, and feels inspired to found a nonprofit organization to help struggling villages in his country. The organization, called Water for South Sudan, has brought clean drinking water to over three hundred Sudanese villages since 2003. A Long Walk to Water is the story of how Salva survives civil war in his country and grows into a young man and a leader with a strong desire to help those in need.

Salva Dut Quotes in A Long Walk to Water

The A Long Walk to Water quotes below are all either spoken by Salva Dut or refer to Salva Dut. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Survival Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt edition of A Long Walk to Water published in 2011.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The war had started two years earlier. Salva did not understand much about it, but he knew that rebels from the southern part of Sudan, where he and his family lived, were fighting against the government, which was based in the north. Most of the people who lived in the north were Muslim, and the government wanted all of Sudan to be come a Muslim country—a place where the beliefs of Islam were followed.

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of the few passages in the book in which Linda Sue Park discusses the history of the Second Sudanese Civil War. Because Park depicts the war through the eyes of Salva Dut, a young child (and, furthermore, because she’s writing a book for young adults), Park writes relatively little about the war’s causes. Here, she suggests that the war was partly religiously-motivated, sparked by the efforts of the predominantly Muslim North Sudanese government to seize control of South Sudan. But the civil war was partly motivated by a struggle for resources, and especially petroleum, which gave the North Sudanese government a big financial incentive to occupy the oil-rich South Sudanese region. So although the origins of the civil war were partly religious, conflict also stemmed from a lack of available resources, reinforcing some of the points Park makes about the importance of development elsewhere in her book.

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Chapter 3 Quotes

The tears were hot in Salva's eyes. Where had everyone gone? Why had they left without waking him?
He knew the answer: because he was a child . . . who might tire easily and slow them down, and complain about being hungry, and cause trouble somehow.

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

In this moving passage, Salva wakes up to find that the other refugees, with whom he’s been wandering away from his village, have abandoned him. Salva quickly realizes what has happened: the refugees have abandoned him because he’s too young, and is therefore seen as a liability to the group. Salva is so young that he won’t be able to walk fast, work hard, or do anything that could help the other refugees. To say the least, this is a callous way to think about taking care of a child. But under the dangerous circumstances of the Second Sudanese Civil War, ordinary people were forced to make incredibly difficult decisions in order to ensure their own survival. Adults sometimes, as in this passage, abandoned children because they feared for their own lives.

Chapter 4 Quotes

The man nodded and turned to the group. "We will take him with us,” he said.

Salva looked up quickly. A few in the group were shaking their heads and grumbling.
The man shrugged. "He is Dinka” he said, and began walking again.

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 22
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Salva Dut benefits from some good luck. He’s about to be abandoned by the elderly woman who’s been taking care of him—like the earlier group of refugees, she believes that Salva will only only be a burden. However, just as the elderly woman is about to leave, she encounters a large group of refugees who hail from the same tribe as Salva. After hesitating for a moment, the refugees agree to take care of Salva, even though he’s young, moves slowly, and is seen as just another mouth to feed. Their reason for letting him join their group is simple: he’s already “one of them,” another member of their tribe.

The passage is a striking example of how human beings sometimes sacrifice their own self-interest for the good of the group. Even though the refugees as a whole will be set back by Salva’s presence, they feel loyalty to their fellow Dinka tribesmen. People are self-interested, Park seems to suggest, but not entirely self-interested. At times, they’ll sacrifice their own self-interest, especially if they feel they have something important in common with the person on the receiving end of their generosity (whether that’s a shared culture, ethnicity, or experience).

Chapter 5 Quotes

The boy was still looking at him. "Your family?" he asked.
Salva shook his head.
"Me, too,” the boy said. He sighed, and Salva heard that sigh all the way to his heart.
Their eyes met. "I'm Salva.”
"I'm Marial.”
It was good to make a friend.

Related Characters: Salva Dut (speaker), Marial (speaker)
Page Number: 29-30
Explanation and Analysis:

While walking through Sudan with the other refugees, Salva Dut makes a friend. The friend is another young boy who, like Salva, has lost his family in the confusion surrounding the Second Sudanese Civil War. Salva and Marial seem equally frightened and confused about what’s been going on in their country. So perhaps it’s inevitable that they would become friends: their experiences are so similar that they get along very well.

Salva and Marial’s friendship helps both of them keep fighting for survival despite the difficulty of their circumstances. They’re lonely and scared, and both in need of emotional support, which a friend can help provide. In the absence of their families, Salva and Marial turn to each other for emotional support.

Chapter 6 Quotes

As Salva spoke, Uncle nodded or shook his head. His face became very solemn when Salva told him that he had not seen nor heard a single word of his family in all that time. Salva's voice trailed of, and he lowered his head. He was glad to see Uncle again, but it looked as if he might not be much help either.
Uncle was quiet for a moment. Then he patted Salva’s shoulder. "Eh, Nephew!" he said in a cheerful voice. "We are together now, so I will look after you!"

Related Characters: Uncle Jewiir (speaker), Salva Dut
Page Number: 35
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Salva runs into more good luck. Entirely by chance, he reunites with his Uncle Jewiir, who has previously fought as a soldier for the South Sudanese. Jewiir senses that Salva’s family is probably dead, though he doesn’t say so explicitly. Instead, he promises to take care of Salva. For the next few chapters, Jewiir will play the part of a father-figure for Salva, giving him the advice, nourishment, and emotional support that Salva needs to survive this tumultuous time in Sudanese history. Jewiir’s behavior is another important example of how people put aside self-interest for the sake of their friends, family, and fellow tribesmen: Jewiir doesn’t even hesitate to help his nephew, because he knows how important it is to take care of those who can’t defend themselves, especially when they’re family members.

Chapter 9 Quotes

Soon he was crying so hard that he could hardly get his breath. He could not think; he could barely see. He had to slow down, and for the first rime on the long journey, he began to lag behind the group. Stumbling about blindly, he did not notice the group drawing farther and farther ahead of him.
As if by magic, Uncle was suddenly at his side.
[…]
Salva lifted his head, the sobs interrupted by surprise.
"Do you see that group of bushes?" Uncle said, pointing. "You need only to walk as far as those bushes.

Related Characters: Uncle Jewiir (speaker), Salva Dut
Related Symbols: Steps
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

In this important passage, the refugees—including Salva Dut and Uncle Jewiir—are crossing a vast, dry desert. Salva Dut becomes so physically exhausted, and so distraught, that he collapses and refuses to keep moving. Uncle Jewiir manages to convince him to carry on by encouraging him to focus on small, manageable goals. He urges Salva to move to the nearby bushes—an easy, manageable achievement. In this way, Jewiir is able to break down the formidable task ahead of Salva (walking all the way across the desert) into a series of more modest tasks.

The passage resonates throughout the second half of the book, even after Uncle Jewiir’s tragic death. There are many times when Salva feels like giving up—however, by employing Jewiir’s strategy and focusing on short-term goals, Salva is able to summon the strength and the hope needed to survive over the long, dangerous civil war years.

Salva looked at the hollow eyes and the cracked lips of the men lying on the hot sand, and his own mouth felt so dry that he nearly choked when he tried to swallow.
"If you give them your water, you will not have enough for yourself!" the same voice shouted. "It is useless-they will die, and you will die with them!"

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

At the end of Chapter Nine, Salva and the other refugees come across a group of dying men in the middle of the desert. The men are too weak and dehydrated to move on, and if they stay where they are, they’ll surely die. Some of the people in Salva’s group offer their water to the dying men, even as others shout that doing so is foolish, since water is scarce and the men are going to die anyway.

The passage points to a moral conundrum that has no easy answer. In its simplest form, this moral conundrum comes down to a clash between altruism, on the one hand, and the self-interest one needs to survive in wartime, on the other. The refugees know that they need every drop of water to survive their trek through the desert. But they also feel a natural sense of compassion for the dying men. Confronted with this dilemma, some of the refugees choose to risk their own lives by giving up some of their water. But others refuse to do so. Importantly, Park doesn’t interject her own views about what the “right” or “wrong” thing to do is, instead leaving readers to grapple with the question for themselves.

Chapter 10 Quotes
Related Characters: Salva Dut
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

At the beginning of Chapter Ten, Salva watches as some of the refugees nurse the dying men back to health. While some of the men are beyond the point of being saved even by medical attention, some of them begin to regain their strength thanks to the refugees’ water and generosity.

Salva recognizes that the refugees who do give up their water have been incredibly generous and compassionate. The refugees know that water is scarce, and that they’re endangering their own survival by helping other people. Salva seems to admire their altruistic behavior, even if he’s not sure he could ever live up to it himself. Were he an adult, he thinks, he’s not sure if he’d give up his water or not.

The passage is an important milestone in the book, because it shows Salva thinking about compassion, morality, and the importance of helping other people. For the time being, Salva is a young child, but as time goes on, he becomes more conscious of his moral obligations to other people, and makes great personal sacrifices to help those in need.

He knows it will be hard for me, Salva realized. He does not want to leave me there, but he has to go back and fight for our people. I mustn’t act like a bay—I must try to be strong …

Related Characters: Salva Dut (speaker), Uncle Jewiir
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Uncle Jewiir has just informed Salva that he won’t be staying in the Ethiopian refugee camp where Salva is going to be staying. Instead, Jewiir will go back to South Sudan and fighting alongside other “rebel” soldiers. Salva is understandably devastated by this news. He loves and trusts Uncle Jewiir, and looks to him for both material and emotional support.

At the same time, Salva refuses to allow himself to become consumed with sadness. Showing remarkable maturity for a child of eleven, Salva tries to see things from Jewiir’s point of view, and realizes that while Jewiir wants to stay behind with Salva, he feels he has a duty to go back and fight. This is one of the earliest examples of Salva’s ability to overcome his own despair and find the strength to “keep fighting.” Even when things look bleak, he refuses to give up.

Chapter 11 Quotes
Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 65
Explanation and Analysis:

Immediately following the murder of Uncle Jewiir by enemy soldiers, the refugees are thrown into chaos. They’ve just lost their leader, the man who protected them and hunted on their behalf. But instead of giving up, the refugees continue their long walk to safety. Here, Park notes that Salva is able to concentrate on walking out of the desert and into Ethiopia. Even though he loved his uncle, and is understandably shaken by the sight of his execution, Salva surprises himself and continues walking, “faster and more boldly than he had before.” Psychologists have noted that people who live through a traumatic incident sometimes respond to the trauma, if only in the short term, by becoming more focused and energetic. Salva’s behavior would seem to reinforce psychologists’ findings: instead of giving up after his uncle’s death, he experiences a sudden “surge” that enables him to make it all the way to Ethiopia.

Chapter 12 Quotes

How can I go on without them?
But how can I not go on? They would want me to survive. . . to grow up and make something of my life, . . . to honor their memories.
What was it Uncle had said during that first terrible day in the desert? "Do you see that group of bushes? You need only to walk as far as those bushes . . .”
Uncle had helped him get through the desert that way, bit by bit, one step at a time. Perhaps . . . perhaps Salva could get through life at the camp in the same way.

Related Characters: Salva Dut (speaker), Uncle Jewiir (speaker)
Related Symbols: Steps
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Now stationed in an Ethiopian refugee camp, Salva finally begins to come to terms with the realities of his situation. He begins to accept the apparent truth that his family (his parents and siblings) have been murdered in the civil war. Furthermore, he accepts the death of his uncle Jewiir—a gruesome event that occurred before his very eyes. Instead of despairing, as many people would do in a similar situation, Salva treats the deaths of his beloved family members as a mandate that he survive and live a long, happy life. In other words, Salva believes that he owes it to Jewiir and his parents to make it through the civil war. Salva remembers his uncle’s advice that he get through the desert “a step at a time.” Now, he interprets this advice as a strategy for making it through life in the refugee camp.

Chapter 13 Quotes

Salva made up his mind. He would walk south, to Kenya. He did not know what he would find once he got there, but it seemed to be his best choice.

Crowds of other boys followed him. Nobody talked about it, but by the end of the first day Salva had become the leader of a group of about fifteen hundred boys. Some were as young as five years old.

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

In this chapter, Salva begins to take on leadership positions for the first time in the story. After being kicked out of the Ethiopian refugee camp, he must wander until he finds a safe place to stay. Salva decides that his best option is to migrate into neighboring Kenya, in the hopes that he’ll find a refugee camp there. But Salva doesn’t only take care of himself. Now that he’s a teenager, he decides to help take care of some of the younger, less confident boys he’s met in the Ethiopian refugee camp, and quickly becomes the leader of the pack.

The passage suggests that Salva has been inspired by his uncle’s example. Just as Uncle Jewiir was the natural leader of the refugees during their walk into Ethiopia, Salva becomes the natural leader of this group of “Lost Boys” as they try to find a new home. Even though he’s been through a lot, Salva refuses to give up. Quite the contrary, he rises to the occasion and leads over a thousand people to safety.

Whatever food or water they found was shared equally among all of them. When the smaller boys grew too tired to walk, the older boys took turns carrying them on their backs.
There were times when some of the boys did not want to do their share of the work. Salva would talk to them, encourage them, coax and persuade them. Once in a while he had to speak sternly, or even shout. But he tried not to do this too often.
It was as if Salva's family were helping him, even though they were not there.

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

Salva Dut leads his group of “Lost Boys” to safety and makes sure to take care of everyone equally. In striking contrast to the way the previous refugee group behaved, Salva’s boys work together and share food equally, instead of excluding the youngest, weakest children. As the passage points out, Salva’s own family inspires him to lead the other boys in this way. Salva can still remember the way his siblings and parents treated him—not to mention his uncle. He mirrors their behavior, providing calm, confident leadership for hundreds of frightened, lonely children.

At a time of crisis, during which many refugees in South Sudan choose to take care of themselves and not their neighbors, Salva proves that it’s possible to take care of oneself and other people. Evidently, Salva is motivated by a strong instinct to help the unfortunate—an instinct that not everyone feels, or listens to, when the going gets tough.

Chapter 14 Quotes

The rumor was that about three thousand boys and young men from the refugee camps would be chosen to go live in America!

Related Characters: Salva Dut
Page Number: Book 87-88
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Park explains that American families are volunteering to adopt some of the orphaned children of Sudan. By the mid-2000s, there were tens of thousands of orphaned children in the country as a result of two decades of brutal civil war. Some of these children were adopted by Sudanese families in safer and more prosperous parts of the country. Other children were adopted by families in Europe, Canada, or America. For the purposes of this book, Park focuses on the American families who generously volunteered to help orphaned Sudanese children. However, there were many other countries whose citizens did the same. (It’s also worth noting that the vast majority of the orphaned Sudanese children who were adopted were boys. In the 2000s, many of the “Lost Girls” of Sudan were already in foster homes, and therefore technically didn’t qualify as orphans. Indeed, less than one hundred Sudanese girls were adopted by American families.)

Chapter 15 Quotes

Salva stood still inside the terminal doors for a few moments. Leaving the airport felt like leaving his old life forever-Sudan, his village, his family. . . .
Tears came to his eyes, perhaps from the cold air blowing in through the open doors. His new family was already outside; they turned and looked back at him.
Salva blinked away the tears and took his first step into a new life in America.

Related Characters: Salva Dut, Chris, Louise
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

In this poignant scene, Salva Dut arrives at the airport in Rochester, New York. He’s understandably shaken by the experience of leaving Sudan: he’s never seen a plane, let alone been on one, and almost every aspect of life in New York is different from what he’s used to in South Sudan. Moreover, Salva Dut feels strange about leaving Sudan because he’s still unsure of what happened to his family members. By moving to New York, Salva senses, he isn’t just living in a different part of the world—he’s leaving his old life behind.

Park suggests that the tears in Salva’s eyes are the result of the cold air blowing inside, but it’s clear that Salva is feeling genuinely sad—or perhaps just overwhelmed. He’s experienced so many sudden changes in so little time that his tears are easy to understand.

Chapter 17 Quotes

"I will come to the village,” Salva promised, “as soon as it is safe!”

“We will be there waiting for you,” his father promised in turn.

Salva pressed his face tightly to his father's as they hugged goodbye, their tears flowing and blending together.

Related Characters: Salva Dut (speaker), Mawien Dut Ariik (speaker)
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

In this emotional scene, Salva reunites with his father, Mawien Dut—a man whom Salva has long assumed to be dead. Mawien Dut is alive, but ill; after drinking contaminated water for so many years, he needs gastrointestinal surgery. Salva is overjoyed to reunite with his father. However, he is dismayed to learn that he won’t be able to return to his village. In the village, rebels try to recruit civilians to fight in the war. In order to avoid this, Salva makes the difficult choice to stay away from his village and, by the same token, his mother and siblings. The scene also emphasizes that Salva has grown apart from the rest of his family as a result of his adoption in America. In the final chapter of the book, Park will show how Salva uses the advantages he’s been given in life to give back to the impoverished people of South Sudan.

Whenever he found himself losing hope, Salva would take a deep breath and think of his uncle’s words.
A step at as time.
One problem at a time—just figure out this one problem.
Day by day, solving one problem at a time, Salva moved toward his goal.

Related Characters: Salva Dut, Uncle Jewiir
Related Symbols: Steps
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Park shows how Uncle Jewiir’s gentle and compassionate encouragement has proved to be a lasting influence in Salva’s life. Salva is now a young man, and he’s eager to use his advantages to help the impoverished people of South Sudan. He begins speaking at churches and schools in order to build awareness surrounding the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and, furthermore, to raise funds to help the Sudanese people.

Salva faces a difficult project. He wants to improve the situation in Sudan, but the situation in Sudan keeps deteriorating. It would be all-too easy for Salva to give up and conclude that nothing can be done to help his country. But when he feels like giving up all hope, Salva remembers the words his uncle spoke to him in the desert—“a step at a time.” Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the task ahead of him, Salva forces himself to concentrate on smaller, more manageable tasks. In this way, he makes slow but deliberate progress toward helping the people of Sudan.

Chapter 18 Quotes

The Dinka and the Nuer were enemies—had been for hundreds of years.

“Why would a Dinka bring water to us?” she wondered aloud.

“I heard Uncle and Father talking about him,” Dep said. “He has drilled many wells for his own people. This year he decided to drill for the Nuer as well.”

Related Characters: Nya (speaker), Dep (speaker), Salva Dut
Related Symbols: Water
Page Number: 114
Explanation and Analysis:

One of the most important aspects of the initiative to build wells in South Sudan is its lack of partisanship or tribalism. Instead of favoring one tribe over another, the well-builders are trying to bring clean water to all South Sudanese people, regardless of tribal affiliation. By refusing to favor one tribe over another, the well-builders may permanently change the status quo in Southern Sudan. At the beginning of the book, Park emphasized the tribal rivalries that have left the region unstable and violent. Many of these rivalries, Park suggests, are based on disputes over areas of land with plentiful water. Therefore, by building wells for many different tribes, the well-builders seem to be addressing one of the root causes of social strife in South Sudan.

The man smiled. "What is your name?” he asked.
"I am Nya."
"I am happy to meet you, Nya," he said. "My name is Salva. "

Related Characters: Salva Dut (speaker), Nya (speaker)
Page Number: 115
Explanation and Analysis:

In the final sentences of A Long Walk to Water, the two separate storylines (Nya’s and Salva’s) merge together. The mysterious man who’s been planning to drill a well in Nya’s Sudanese village turns out to be Salva Dut, who readers first encountered as a frightened eleven-year-old boy. Over the years, Salva has endured a lot of traumatic experiences. However, he’s refused to give up on his dreams of helping the people of South Sudan. Years after the beginning of the Second Sudanese Civil War, Salva has returned to his country of birth to build wells for the small villages in the region. In doing so, Salva realizes his dream of being able to help others . Furthermore, he arguably combats one of the root causes of poverty and social strife in Sudan: lack of access to water. If everyone has access to clean drinking water, perhaps there will less fighting between the tribes over scarce resources, and more resources to follow pursuits other than survival.

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Salva Dut Character Timeline in A Long Walk to Water

The timeline below shows where the character Salva Dut appears in A Long Walk to Water. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Survival Theme Icon
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In South Sudan in 1985, an eleven-year-old boy named Salva sits in class, while his teacher drones on about “the Arabic language.” Salva speaks the... (full context)
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Salva and his brothers spend much of their time herding cattle. The older they get, the... (full context)
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Back in the classroom, Salva feels hungry. He imagines going home and drinking a bowl of fresh milk. Suddenly, a... (full context)
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...in Sudan. There are rebels in the south, fighting against the government in the north. Salva doesn’t know much about these rebels, but he knows they don’t want to practice Islam.... (full context)
Chapter 2
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In 1985, Salva rushes out of the classroom and sees a massive cloud of smoke. He runs as... (full context)
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...everyone wakes up and continues walking away from the rebels. But in the early afternoon, Salva sees a group of rebel soldiers in the distance. The rebels aren’t pointing their weapons... (full context)
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...in one group, women, children, and the elderly in the other. Because of his age, Salva is placed with the women and the elderly. He’s one of the only children in... (full context)
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The next morning, the rebels move on, forcing the group of men from Salva’s village to carry their supplies. When one man refuses to do so, a soldier beats... (full context)
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The next morning, Salva wakes up to find that the other people in his village have abandoned him—he’s all... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Back in 1985, Salva weeps: his village has abandoned him. He realizes that the other villagers have left him... (full context)
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Salva greets the Dinka woman, who’s very old, and she nods to him. She offers him... (full context)
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Salva stays with the Dinka woman in her barn. He makes a point of doing chores... (full context)
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After four days, the woman tells Salva that it’s time for her to leave. The water is drying up, and winter is... (full context)
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Frightened, Salva tries to decide what to do. Suddenly, he hears voices in the distance. As the... (full context)
Chapter 4
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In 1985, Salva scans the faces in the group of Dinka villagers approaching the barn. To his dismay,... (full context)
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In the coming days, Salva walks farther than he’s ever walked in his life. He’s tired and frightened. Soon enough,... (full context)
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One day, the group is walking when suddenly, Buksa stops. In the distance, Salva can hear a loud, rumbling sound. Buksa begins to smile—he tells Salva to gather his... (full context)
Chapter 5
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In 1985, Salva, Buksa, and the other wanderers have just been stung by bees. They tried to clear... (full context)
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Every day, Salva’s group gets bigger. One evening, Salva accidentally steps on another boy’s hand. The boy is... (full context)
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Marial tells Salva that the group is headed into Ethiopia. Salva finds this unlikely, since Ethiopia is far... (full context)
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It’s been more than a month since Salva fled his village. The group passes through the Atuot region of Sudan. The people in... (full context)
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One morning, Salva wakes up to hear his name being spoken. He turns, and his mouth “fell open... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Salva has just woken up to the sound of his own name. He turns and sees... (full context)
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The group proceeds through Atuot land. Salva and Marial walk together with Uncle Jewiir. One day, the group walks for ten hours... (full context)
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That night, Jewiir wakes Salva up. He says, “I am sorry, Salva. Your friend …” (full context)
Chapter 7
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Salva walks with the rest of the group, thinking about what Jewiir has told him. Martial... (full context)
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...the longest river in the world. This also means they’re almost in Ethiopia. Jewiir assures Salva that they’ll all be able to cross the water. (full context)
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...members of the group know how to use reeds to build boats and flotation devices. Salva finds that gathering reeds distracts him from his hunger and fear. After two full days... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Back in 1985, Salva and his group paddle across the Nile River. Salva sits in a canoe with Uncle... (full context)
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As night falls on the island, the mosquitoes come out, tormenting the refugees in Salva’s group. Nobody sleeps that night—“the mosquitoes made sure of that.” The next day, Salva scratches... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...take them three days to cross it. The first day feels like the longest of Salva’s life. The sun is hot, and he has very little water left. At one point,... (full context)
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The next day seems exactly like the one before. But then, Salva notices a small group in the distance. As he gets closer, Salva realizes that the... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Salva and the rest of the group have stopped to nurse the dying men in the... (full context)
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On the third and final day in the desert, Salva talks to Uncle Jewiir about his family. He wants to know if he’ll be able... (full context)
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...is unfit for drinking. Then, suddenly, a group of six armed men arrives and orders Salva and his peers to surrender. The men demand to know where the group is headed,... (full context)
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Salva is terrified, but he hopes that the soldiers will leave now that they’ve stolen everything... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Salva and the others bury Uncle Jewiir in a hole. The group doesn’t walk anymore that... (full context)
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Now that Jewiir is dead, Salva has no choice but to beg for food. The other people in the group sometimes... (full context)
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...group arrives at the refugee camp, where there are thousands of people of all ages. Salva desperately tries to find someone from his family. He also begins to feel restless—since, after... (full context)
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On his second day in the camp, Salva notices a woman in an orange scarf who might be his own mother. He pushes... (full context)
Chapter 12
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In 1985 in the Ethiopian refugee camp, Salva calls after the tall woman, praying that she’s his mother. But as Salva chases after... (full context)
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The year is now 1991, and the Ethiopian refugee camp is about to shut down. Salva is nearly seventeen years old now. He’s learned from the camp’s workers that Ethiopia’s government... (full context)
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...forcing the people to run toward the nearby Gilo River, which separates Sudan and Ethiopia. Salva knows that the Gilo has dangerously strong currents and crocodiles. (full context)
Chapter 13
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...the refugees to jump into the water, wanting to push them out of the country. Salva sees a crocodile attacking one man who’s jumped in the water. The soldiers begin shouting... (full context)
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Salva, along with the others who’ve managed to cross the river, proceeds onward. The groups seems... (full context)
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Salva and the boys travel through a dangerous part of Sudan. There’s a constant sound of... (full context)
Chapter 14
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It’s 1996 and Salva is now twenty-two years old. He has been living in refugee camps in Kenya since... (full context)
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In Ifo, Salva meets an Irish aid worker named Michael. As a result of having living in different... (full context)
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...are going to be chosen to go to the United States. However, it seems that Salva’s name hasn't been put on the list of boys who are being considered. Many of... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...three thousand boys being brought to the United States are known as the Lost Boys. Salva will be traveling to New York with eight other boys. They ride from the refugee... (full context)
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The flight from Africa to the U.S. is unlike anything Salva has ever experienced. He enjoys tasting Coca-Cola on the plane, and staring down at the... (full context)
Chapter 16
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After a month in Rochester, Salva is still disoriented by his new life. The roads are paved and the cars whizz... (full context)
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Six years go by. Salva is accepted to college, where he plans to study business. Someday, he wants to go... (full context)
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One day, Salva receives an email from his cousin, who lives in Zimbabwe. To Salva’s utter amazement, the... (full context)
Chapter 17
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In 2003, Salva is standing in the tiny hospital in Sudan, facing his father, Mawien Dut. Salva greets... (full context)
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Salva learns that his mother is alive, too, and still living in the same village. But... (full context)
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After a short time, Salva has to return to America. Mawien Dut has been in the clinic for stomach surgery—years... (full context)
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On the flight back to the United States, Salva begins to develop an idea. More than anything, he wants to help the people of... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...tells him that her name is Nya. The man smiles and says, “My name is Salva.” (full context)