Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Part Three: Refuge

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 29 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. enslave
    force into servitude
    Women and girls had been captured, killed, enslaved...
  2. seldom
    not often
    At the time, the world paid little attention to the war and its victims because East Africa is so isolated and so seldom featured in the world’s news.
  3. distribution
    the act of spreading or apportioning
    I made sure that sick boys got medical attention and oversaw the distribution of food.
  4. stout
    having rugged physical strength
    I showed my group how to get wood from the forest outside camp without axes or saws. I climbed a tree until I got to the high branches. Then I grabbed a stout branch and jumped.
  5. gobble
    eat hastily without proper chewing
    We started eating when the food was still hard, gobbling down the kernels and the lentils as fast as we could.
  6. barely
    in a sparse or scanty way
    The food the UN brought to Pinyudu was barely enough to live on.
  7. ration
    a fixed portion that is allotted
    The group of children I lived with pooled our camp food rations and boiled them in a large metal cooking oil container we had cut in two to make a pot.
  8. sanitation
    making something sanitary (free of germs) as by sterilizing
    Not long after we arrived, a terrible disease called cholera raced through the camp. It spreads wherever there is no clean water or sanitation.
  9. sewage
    waste matter carried away in drains
    We used that same stream to bathe, and from time to time we saw raw sewage in it that came from outside camp.
  10. spade
    hand shovel that can be pushed into the earth with the foot
    This was before the UN brought us tools, so we had no shovels, axes, or spades.
  11. crude
    belonging to an early stage of technical development
    We dug into the earth with sharp sticks. We could only dig about eight to ten inches deep with our crude tools.
  12. burrow
    move through by or as by digging
    In addition to diseases, everyone in camp suffered from tuktuk. It is an African insect that burrows under the skin of the feet.
  13. infest
    live on or in a host, as of parasites
    Some boys’ feet got so bad they could not walk at all. They just pushed themselves along the ground with their hands and arms, but that only led to tuktuk infesting their hands.
  14. exposure
    the state of being vulnerable to something
    Some boys went insane from constant exposure to disease, starvation, and death.
  15. clever
    showing inventiveness and skill
    Some boys found clever ways to get enough to eat.
  16. trance
    a psychological state induced by a magical incantation
    For a bowl of food with a tiny bit of meat, he would pretend to go into a trance and find lost objects and catch boys who had stolen things.
  17. intact
    lacking nothing essential, not damaged
    The elders advised the UN to put us with mothers of young children or with the few families that had made it to Pinyudu intact.
  18. carefree
    without trouble or worry
    During the day we could almost feel carefree, like children again.
  19. ember
    a hot, smoldering fragment of wood left from a fire
    You could see the dying embers from the fires as little sparks across the camp.
  20. wade
    walk through relatively shallow water
    People also washed clothes and other things in the river, so it was not exactly clean. I would try to wade out away from shore and dip the water there.
  21. hoist
    I’d hoist the biggest can onto the top of my head or ask someone nearby to help me, and then carry a smaller can in my hand.
  22. fascinate
    cause to be interested or curious
    When we went to the river for water, we often saw the Anyuak people, and they fascinated us.
  23. creek
    a natural stream of water smaller than a river
    It rained so hard that the little creeks filled with water, and the river would be full of fallen trees.
  24. megaphone
    a cone-shaped acoustic device to amplify the human voice
    We didn’t have radios or TVs at Pinyudu, so when the UN wanted to tell us something, they’d send a couple of guys around with megaphones to spread the word.
  25. rebel
    a person who takes part in an armed insurrection
    In May 1991, when I was sixteen years old, the rebels drove the president out of the country and set up a new government that was friendly with Northern Sudan.
Created on June 18, 2019 (updated July 17, 2019)

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