Monday, December 31, 2007

Lost Boys

From Dave Eggers' novel, What Is the What. The book is based on the experiences of a Sudanese man (one of the famous "Lost Boys of Sudan") who walked for months to a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He describes his time working as a "burial boy" in the Ethiopian refugee camp...

"When a boy would not rouse himself from bed, would refuse food, or fail to recognize his name, his friends would wrap him in a blanket and bring him to the clinic [Zone Eight].... Zone Eight became the last place one went on this earth.... Zone Eight was the end of ends.

'Burying Zone Eights became my job. With five other boys, we buried five to ten bodies a week. We took the same parts of the bodies each time; each time, I was the carrier of the deceased's left foot."

There's also this simple passage, describing the typical death of a boy while walking through the desert...

"By the next afternoon, we had seen eight more dead boys along the path, those from groups ahead of ours, and we added three more of our own. On that day and in the days to come, when a boy was going to die, he would first stop talking. His throat would be too dry and to speak required too much energy. Then his eyes would sink deeper, circled in ever-darker shadows. He would no longer answer to his name. His walk would slow, his feet shuffling, and he would be among the boys who would rest longer. Eventually a dying boy would find a tree, and he would sit against the tree and fall asleep. When his head touched the tree, the life in him would fall away and his flesh would return to the earth."

1 comment:

Dinabear said...

I just got this book for Christmas.