Nya has to walk 8 hours a day going back and forth to the pond every morning and afternoon. She has to watch out for thorns and if she gets lost there is no one to help her at all. She is only 11 years old and has a life or death chore that effects her and her family. She has to collect water that ways 45 pounds and put ut on her head if you can even call that water because it is all brown and muddy.
Nya's sister, Akeer, is sick from the water in the pond. It is a very common problem, but it is dangerous if anyone with a weak immune system has it (babies, kids, and elderly.) It starts out with stomach pains then only grows from there. Then diarrhea, fever, and people would starve with food right in front of them because it hurt so bad to eat. There is a hospital a few days walk, but Nya doesn't think Akeer will make the walk, but she can't make it without the doctor.
Nya and her family head to the doctor and thankfully Akeer makes it. After the doctor running tests and making Akeer feel better, she said that the water that was brought home needed to be boiled to a count of 200 seconds so that it would be all clean and Akeer wouldn't get sick again. That worried Nya and her Mother because if Nya could only bring home just enough water then that meant Nya would have to get more water and most of the water would evaporate so that there would only be a little clean water.
2 men came to Nya's village and all the kids ran to them, but Nya being the shy one she stayed behind. The men only talked to the big boys including Nya's big brother. Her brother took the strangers to their uncle, the chief of the Nuer tribe. Nya could only hear something about water, Nya could have told them, there isn't any near here. Later they pointed at some trees and said we will find water here. It was a very confusing process because they never thought there would be water there, but strangers come and say "Water will be here." was surprising and suspicious
The 2 men got their supplies and started drilling, everyone had to pitch in making gravel, getting water people cleared the land making only the trees stay there, they had to keep making repairs to the machine because they had to dig deep. Nya is still doubting the men and is losing hope. Nya is afraid there isn't any water and she will never be able to go to school, which that is what all girls do, they drop out when they are old enough to help.
After a lot of frustration the water finally came up, everyone was happy and now they had to build, but what would they do know? It is hard to drink out of shooting water and they had never experienced anything with there own water or clean. Will the water become brown like the other? Will the water dry up? Will Nya no longer have to walk to get water? What will happen to their tribe? What will they do next?