In Nya’s village, people are hard at work clearing the land between the two biggest trees. Meanwhile, Nya continues with her daily trips to the pond. She still doesn’t see why the villagers think they might find water beneath the dry earth between the two trees.
Nya is so used to walking the many miles to the pond that she finds it hard to accept the idea that there may have been water beneath her the entire time.
Salva and the others bury Uncle Jewiir in a hole. The group doesn’t walk anymore that day. Instead, they stop to pay their respects to Jewiir. After dark, they begin walking again. To his own surprise, Salva walks more quickly than he did before. He feels numb, and yet he also knows that Jewiir would have wanted him to fight to survive instead of despairing.
Even though the group wants to get out of the desert as soon as possible, they stay behind to honor Uncle Jewiir. This is a clear sign of the refugees’ respect for Jewiir: Jewiir was a protector and provider, not just for Salva but for the entire group, too. But Salva doesn’t give up hope, even after his beloved uncle has been killed. Under immense the pressures of hunger and the threat of violence, he rises to the occasion and summons the strength to keep moving toward safety.
Now that Jewiir is dead, Salva has no choice but to beg for food. The other people in the group sometimes give him food, but always begrudgingly. Salva senses that everyone thinks he’s a waste of food and energy. But Salva looks forward to proving them wrong.
In the last month, Salva has been through one trauma after another. But instead of giving up in despair, he has the opposite response: he makes a promise to himself to be strong and survive.
The 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 walking for so long, it feels odd to be in the same place all day. Nevertheless, he’s glad to be in a safe place where he’s fed twice a day.
The passage underscores how quickly Salva’s way of life has changed—after a traumatic month of fear and uncertainty, a life of relative stability, with food and water, feels utterly alien to him.
On his second day in the camp, Salva notices a woman in an orange scarf who might be his own mother. He pushes through the crowd, trying not to lose sight of this mysterious figure.
Even after all the horror he’s lived through, Salva wants to believe that his mother is still alive. He hopes for the best—and, Park implies, his hope gives him the strength he needs to survive in war-torn Sudan.