A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water


This novel contains two stories that intersect toward the end of the book. The first story is a realistic fiction account of Nya, and chronicles her life in Southern Sudan and her daily trek to get water for her family. The inconvenience and illness that comes with this unpurified water prevents girls in the Nuer tribe community like Nya from going to school and living a healthy life.

The second story is a true account of Salva Dut, a young Sudanese boy who loses most of his family, flees his home during the civil war in the mid-1980s, and ends up in America. He eventually returns to Southern Sudan to drill water wells for his tribe, the Dinka, as well as others.

Problems identified by students:

  • Nya must walk long distances in the desert and gets thorns in her feet
  • The water is heavy to carry such a long distance
  • The water is dirty and unsafe to drink

Solutions designed by students:

  • Shoes that are comfortable and easy to repair
  • Thick shoes to prevent thorns getting through
  • Water carrier for her head that has handles and an indent that is cushioned to fit on and around her head
  • Filter for the water so her family can drink it
  • Cart for pulling her sister in and then the water back to their home

Material suggestions:

  • Cardboard boxes, batting and fabric, clear plastic tubing, plastic bottles, strong string for pulling or making handles, plastic for lining things