This starts out a seriously gut wrenching book about a 6 year old boy that is stolen from his family, thrown into the back of a truck with dozens of other children and hauled off to a military rebel training camp. He witnesses things I would never want to witness in my entire lifetime, let alone one of my own having to live through what he did at age six. Lopez Lomong takes his life one day, one hour, one minute at a time. Thanking God at every turn for whatever comes his way, good or bad.
After, miraculously, making his way to a refugee camp, he is offered an experience that only comes once in a lifetime. To go America. At a young age he was entranced by watching the Olympics on a black and white TV hooked up to a car battery, when moments before he didn’t have the slightest clue what the Olympics even were. He set a goal. My goals are generally to take a shower and get through the day with less than 10 time-outs…but this boy set a goal of running in the Olympics, specifically on the US Team. However, this essay he needs to write to determine his future needs to be in English, a language he doesn’t even know. Lopez doesn’t even have a pen or pencil, only sponsored kids get those, so he has been doing his school work in the dirt with a stick. By the grace of God, the letter gets written in literal and choppy English and he is chosen to immigrate into America and placed with a foster family.
From there it is just amazing to watch how grateful he was for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. He went from having nothing to having the world at his fingertips. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to never see a light come out of a bulb and then, also, have no idea that there is a switch to turn it on and off, thinking that we American’s must sleep with the light on 🙂 Water coming out of a wall? And you can adjust the temperature? That is something that Lopez never thought ever existed at age 16.
Every turn of the page there was something that made me go “What?! Are you serious?? I could NOT imagine!”. For instance, the fact that he was obsessed with soccer BUT in order to be able to play soccer at the refugee camp you had to be one of the first boys to finish a race around the perimeter of the refugee camp…….WHICH IS E-I-G-H-T-E-E-N MILES. He did this everyday! I’ve hit the 18 mile marker four times in my entire life and I was wearing shoes and an iPod with water and food strapped to my waist. And I sure as hell wasn’t going to play a game of soccer afterwards!
There is so much jaw dropping stuff in this book that I could go on and on about it and I’d never ruin the book for you 🙂 I would totally recommend it to anyone. It would even be a great book for teens to read to see how fortunate they really are.