Bodies slick with sweat, we walked in silence. To talk was to waste energy.
I looked at my father’s face, searching for something that would reassure me. But all I saw was fear.
Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die, don’t die. I chanted the words in my head like a mantra.
At an age when Australian youngsters would have been playing with toys or starting school, David Nyual Vincent was trekking across the Sahara Desert with his father, in a desperate attempt to flee war-torn Sudan and stay alive. Sudan was in the grip of a terrible civil war, and his father had taken him away from his mother and sisters, believing they would be safer in neighbouring Ethiopia.
Over the next 17 years David grew up, separated from all of his family – including his father – living in refugee camps, struggling for food, shelter and hygiene, even being trained as a child soldier. Eventually, in 2004, David was granted a humanitarian visa and resettled in Australia. Here his life changed, but he had new battles to face, including the demons of his past and his determination to make a difference for the country of his birth.
The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die is a moving, honest account of a young man’s struggle and growth as he faces seemingly insurmountable obstacles. There are scenes of horror and despair, but also many moments of triumph and even humour.
Written in first person voice by David, with support from journalist Carol Nader, The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die gives a wonderful insight into the life and journey of one person, and at the same time helps readers to a more intimate understanding of the refugee experience.
The Boy Who Wouldn’t Die, by David Nyuol Vincent with Carol Nader
Allen & Unwin, 2012
Available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.