Lost Boy, Lost Girl: Part Four: 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 15 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. tension
    feelings of hostility that are not manifest
    At first we had all gotten along with the Anyuak, but tensions had grown and there had been a few fights with them.
  2. mortar
    a muzzle-loading high-angle gun with a short barrel
    I was resting and eating my lunch on the side of the river when the Ethiopian army attacked us with bullets, mortar shells, and grenades.
  3. impact
    the striking of one body against another
    I panicked and jumped in the water, flopping into the mud and reeds at the river’s edge. The impact knocked the air out of my lungs.
  4. flail
    thrash about
    As I slowly made progress, I glanced anxiously left and right. Everywhere, people were screaming and flailing.
  5. shrapnel
    shell containing lead pellets that explodes in flight
    Bullets and shrapnel hit their bodies and put blood in the water.
  6. range
    the limits within which something can be effective
    I ran too, until I was out of range of the guns and mortars.
  7. scarce
    deficient in quantity or number compared with the demand
    Those who survived found themselves back in Sudan, where the war raged on and food was still scarce.
  8. marvel
    be amazed at
    As the Lost Boys found one another, we came together in groups and marveled that we still lived.
  9. oppose
    be against
    The northern armies controlled much of the homeland of the Dinka. And there could be no life and no peace in Southern Sudan for anyone with dark skin who opposed the national government.
  10. trek
    any long and difficult trip
    Thousands of other boys from Pinyudu joined me on the trek to Pochala.
  11. barrack
    lodge in buildings used to house military personnel
    I spent my first night in an abandoned military barracks.
  12. maize
    corn
    We began to trade the few clothes we had brought with us to the Anyuak for food. They would come to town and bring corn and millet, sorghum, and beans and take the T-shirts or other clothes the UN had given us in exchange. Maybe a T-shirt would be worth two cups of maize.
  13. debris
    the remains of something that has been destroyed
    People were taking what they could from the ground. They didn’t care if the food was mixed with dust and debris. This was food, and they were starving.
  14. tarp
    a sheet of waterproofed canvas
    Over the simple shelter we lived in, we now had a nylon tarp for a roof, supplied by the UN.
  15. relief
    assistance in time of difficulty
    Thank goodness the UN and the Red Cross kept up their relief missions, flying over Pochala and dropping loads of food, medicine, and clothes.
  16. distinguish
    mark as different
    We got very good at listening for the sound of airplane engines and distinguishing the sounds of enemy bombers from friendly cargo transports.
  17. cargo
    goods carried by a large vehicle
    We got very good at listening for the sound of airplane engines and distinguishing the sounds of enemy bombers from friendly cargo transports.
  18. territory
    a region marked off for administrative or other purposes
    Soon we were in the territory of tribes I had never seen.
  19. yam
    any of a number of tropical vines of the genus Dioscorea many having edible tuberous roots
    At a town called Pakok we found some yams and peanuts.
  20. outskirts
    area relatively far from the center, as of a city or town
    We came to the outskirts of Kapoeta in the barren, dusty land called the Tingilic Desert.
  21. barren
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    We came to the outskirts of Kapoeta in the barren, dusty land called the Tingilic Desert.
  22. native
    characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin
    A native tribe called the Taposa lived in the desert and envied the food that we carried.
  23. envy
    feel desirous of another's advantages
    A native tribe called the Taposa lived in the desert and envied the food that we carried.
  24. grove
    a small growth of trees without underbrush
    He just lay in a grove of thorny trees in too much pain to move. And that’s when the Taposa attacked.
  25. hostile
    characterized by enmity or ill will
    In this way, the cruel drivers led people farther and farther from the safety of Kapoeta, into the countryside where they could be attacked by hostile tribes.
Created on June 18, 2019 (updated July 17, 2019)

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