Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Part Two: War

In this memoir, Jon Bul Dau and Martha Arual Akech describe growing up during the civil war in Sudan and their eventual journey to America.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Part One: Peace, Part Two: War, Part Three: Refuge, Part Four: War, Part Five: Refuge, Part Six: Peace
25 words 44 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. omen
    a sign of a thing about to happen
    The Dinka had heard omens of war for a long time.
  2. doom
    an unpleasant or disastrous destiny
    The tortoise told the man, “I am sent by the Lord. I bring you news of doom. Your country, Southern Sudan, will be destroyed.”
  3. weather
    face and withstand with courage
    Some argued in favor of drought. They knew they could survive because the Dinka have weathered many a dry spell.
  4. famine
    a severe shortage of food resulting in starvation and death
    But drought meant famine, which would hit the women and children the hardest, so the villagers rejected that choice.
  5. prophet
    an authoritative person who divines the future
    Then a prophet had a vision. This man, named Ngun Deng, lived among the Nuer, a neighboring tribe. He saw bad things in the future.
  6. prophecy
    knowledge of the future, as from a divine source
    War would come to Southern Sudan, he said, and many would die. In the end, Southern Sudan would defeat the enemy, but it also would suffer defeat. Then he spoke a final prophecy: “Yours will be a generation of black hair.”
  7. quell
    suppress or crush completely
    Northern soldiers stormed into southern villages to quell the violence, but the fighting raged on.
  8. strafe
    attack from above with machine guns or cannon fire
    As government soldiers shelled and burned the countryside and airplanes strafed and bombed the villages, refugees moved south.
  9. refugee
    an exile who flees for safety
    As government soldiers shelled and burned the countryside and airplanes strafed and bombed the villages, refugees moved south.
  10. hoarse
    deep and harsh sounding as if from shouting or illness
    As I felt myself being pulled into the grass, I heard a hoarse whisper.
  11. lurk
    wait in hiding to attack
    As we fled we might encounter more soldiers, not to mention deserts and jungles and the dangers that lurk there.
  12. emerge
    come out into view, as from concealment
    When the noise passed by, we emerged and started running again.
  13. pummel
    strike, usually with the fist
    When Abraham hesitated, the men pummeled him with sticks and the butts of their rifles until he took off the shirt and offered it to the officer in charge.
  14. vicious
    able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering
    It took a long time to recover from this vicious beating, but Abraham and I grew strong enough to walk again.
  15. destination
    the place designated as the end, as of a race or journey
    I learned then that we had a destination: Ethiopia.
  16. grim
    filled with melancholy and despondency
    Facing the threat of starvation, thirst, and murderous soldiers, I looked upon our long walk as a sort of grim game.
  17. submerge
    sink below the surface; go under or as if under water
    Abraham and I had picked our apai and submerged our bodies comfortably in the water as we chewed.
  18. dwindle
    become smaller or lose substance
    The group that joined us began to dwindle away.
  19. gourd
    any of numerous large, often inedible fruits with hard rinds
    We had to keep all our food safe from rats and mice and cats, so the women wove grass baskets for storage. Or they would cut the top off a big gourd they had grown and use that, sticking an ear of corn in the opening to seal it.
  20. prod
    urge on; cause to act
    Nyanriak grabbed us and her five small children and herded us along with the crowd, prodding us to run as fast as our short legs would carry us.
  21. scramble
    climb awkwardly, as if by rushing hastily
    The people ahead of us had made a path in the grass with their running, so we followed that, but sometimes we had to scramble through thorny bushes that scratched as we passed.
  22. slink
    move or walk stealthily
    She was shaking, but she slowly, quietly crept into the bushes to hide. Finally, the huge cat slunk away, and she ran home.
  23. malaria
    a disease caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite
    I shivered so hard and was so weak with a fever that I couldn’t move. I probably had a disease called malaria.
  24. pester
    annoy persistently
    Most of the people in my group got it at some time or other, because mosquitoes carry it and they were always pestering us.
  25. daze
    confusion characterized by lack of clarity
    The gunshots woke me out of my sick daze, and I started screaming and screaming and screaming.
Created on June 18, 2019 (updated July 17, 2019)

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