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336 pages, Hardcover
First published February 23, 2016
I don’t count how many trees we pass because I don’t count the things that don’t matter. I don’t count unripe pods. I don’t count how many times I’ve been hit for being under quota. I don’t count how many days it’s been since I’ve given up hope of going home.
“A lot of bad things happened to us . . . Just because you were there when they happened doesn’t mean they’re your fault.”
It hurts too much to think that, after all this work, there may be some journeys that you just never come all the way home from.
There are thousands of kids like us, working across the country to make a sweet for rich kids in other places. Thousands. It’s a number that matters so much I can’t wrap my mind around it.
It's a disaster. A deep, jagged-edged gash slices down Seydou's forearm, biting through the base of his hand. I see the pulp and meat of his arm and a white thing lurking in the red of his wrist that might be bone. When Moussa pinches the two edges of skin together, blood pours out of the sides...
...I can't imagine living here that long."
I consider that for a moment.
"The bus drivers in Sikasso told us it would just be for a season, also," I say finally. "We didn't come here thinking we'd live here this long either.
"I hate it here too," I admit. "But the faster you get used to it, the better you'll be. You've seen what happens when you try to run away. They catch you and bring you back."
"It was a joke," I say coldly, masking my disappointment. "I wouldn't expect help from someone as selfish as you."
Tears hit my hand and I glance up at her. Her eyes are dry.