[2015] Abigail Clickstein: A Long Walk to Water

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[2015] Abigail Clickstein: A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Waterby Linda Sue Park




In the novel A Long Walk to Water, written by Linda Sue Park, a boy named Salva flees his village Loun-Ariik and eventually his country, due to the war against the government of Sudan. During this time in the mid 1980’s, the rebels are fighting against the government for religious beliefs. Salva leaves behind his family for over a decade and has to survive on his own. He travels to refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya in search of safety while crossing the Akobo desert, Nile River, and Gilo River. Many children in Sudan are orphans caring for themselves. Everyday, thousands of people are forced to leave their villages/homes because of the dangers of the war. The refugee camps are set up by the country’s government. Most refugee camps have tons of people staying there and are in terrible conditions. With so many people there is not enough food, shelter, and space for everyone. It can be hard to survive living in a refugee camp. During the Sudanese Civil War, refugee camps impacted the lives of children and adults emotionally, and their futures in a negative way.

Refugee camps gave shelter to people/families who had to leave their homes because of the war. Refugee camps are set up and ran by the government of the country that’s in war. Even though the government runs the refugee camps, they aren't always in the best conditions. People live in poor conditions with not enough food and water. For this reason, many of the people staying in a refugee camp are malnourished. This can cause health problems and lots of worries for larger families. Many children are scared and hungry too. The Sudanese Civil War is still going on today, starting around the 1950's. During this war, Sudan split into two countries, North and South Sudan. The government is trying to make all of Sudan believe in the Islam religion, but some people are fighting back against the government causing the war to grow. This war is about what people believe in. Some people are just born into the war without even knowing much about it’s history. However people want the war to end, but yet there are still fights and many people are killed. There are usually refugee camps in neighboring countries, such as ones in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Sometimes people have to travel out of their countries to find a refugee camp. With no belongings and sources of food or water, the journey to another country can be horrific. People staying in refugee camps are still not safe from the war. Children that don’t have families, or that are orphans, are abducted from refugee camps and brought up by soldiers to fight and kill. There are children as young as eight years old who are fighting in war. Also there is approximately seventeen thousand children soldiers in Southern Sudan. This can scar children for the rest of their lives, and there is a little chance of getting away, and even a smaller chance of surviving the war as a kid. Women are also kidnapped and sold as slaves from refugee camps. This can leave families worried and stressed. Many of the people staying in a camp probably suffer from depression. Also there are many diseases and viruses that are contagious in camps. They spread quickly because there are so many people. If the war wasn’t happening, then people wouldn’t have to go to refugee camps, and children wouldn’t be fighting in war. People are hungry and sick, but it’s hard for them to become healthy again when there’s not enough supplies provided.With the Sudanese Civil War happening now, there is no time to build services near refugee camps that are vital for people to survive. Refugee camps are usually in a distant location. This makes it hard to bring supplies to a camp. The destruction and violence occurring in the vicinity makes it hard to provide refugee camps with enough supplies; such as food, water, and medicine. With millions of people who had to abandon their homes, there is not even enough to eat at refugee camps. If there is enough though, people stand in lines for hours maybe just for a bowl of milk. In some camps, there is also minimum building supplies. The camps are poorly built with no privacy or work nearby. Since there is so many people in a camp, they most likely don’t get enough sleep because there is not enough space for everyone, and the people are living in poor living conditions already. The adults and children both are living in poor conditions, with the lack of food, water and medicines for the sick. Children try to understand what’s happening and why there’s not enough resources, but it’s hard to without any education. Since there is no time for needed supplies there is also no time for educational services. Most children lost their parents and are orphans, so they have no one to take care of them. These parents could have educated their children, but the parents sacrifice their lives for their children. Children learn from their parents. It's apart of parenting. Without anyone to teach them life lessons and skills, it's hard to get through life. The kids have to take care of themselves. Also without any education it can be hard to find work in the future. People who are lucky and make it out of a refugee camp, have a hard future. It can be hard to make money and support a family too. When these kids grow up they will have to go back to school to have a successful and a good paying job. It can be hard though to move on from a harsh childhood. No one could forgot about leaving their home and living in a refugee camp for most of their lives. Living in a camp is like sharing a home with hundreds of thousands of people. Having no education is a problem, and with the poor conditions of a camp, life can be hard.

Living in a refugee camp impacted Salva’s life and his future. The camps also affected the lives of children and people emotionally. Along with others of thousands of people, Salva traveled for months to find a refugee camp, while leaving his family behind and losing his uncle all at the age of eleven. The war brings a lot of destruction and violence, but does not bring enough services like hospitals. The children in a refugee camp don’t get enough educational services and the adults don’t have many options of work. People are outraged because the war has ruined their lives. So many villages and families are destroyed. These people are rebelling against the government and create more conflicts. People are faced with many challenges while living in a refugee camp. Salva overcame his challenges and never gave up hope. The Sudanese Civil War is still going on and people are fleeing their villages in hope to find shelter, or a refugee camp. Many people are frightened for what the war will bring next, but many people have courage and hope for a better future.

Abbi Clickstein


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