Review Blog

Jul 18 2017

Trouble tomorrow by Terry Whitebeach and Serafino Enadio

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760291464
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Civil war, Refugees, Refugee camps, Survival, Sudan. Obulejo and his friends must run for their lives when rebels come, searching for boys his age to train as boy soldiers. He is living in a boarding school, St Xaviers, far from his village, where he hopes for a good education, but they are all aware of the civil war outside the confines of the school, causing alarm throughout southern Sudan.
Escaping into the bush, he is exhausted, hungry and thirsty when a woman offers him food. He meets others like him, and together they head for the border with Kenya where they hope they can get into a refugee camp and be safe.
The book falls easily into three sections, the first is his village life and its disruption by civil war and the trek to the refugee camp, next comes his survival in the camp, and finally the trip to Australia.
If the trek to Kenya was harrowing enough his survival in the camp causes him huge concern. Here he learns to steal to survive. With his upbringing and education, he knows this is wrong and it causes him great heartache, but he makes the decision to focus on his education with the hope of getting out of the camp.
Densely packed with his life story, images will stay in the readers' minds, and the question always asked of what would they do in his place. An absorbing read of a life far from our own, the tale will give a background to some of the stories seen on TV, and help younger people sympathise with the plight of displaced people, who for no fault of their own have lives totally disrupted by civil war.
At the beginning of the book is a welcome map to chart his journey and at the end, Whitebeach has included a brief history of the Sudanese Civil War, along with a photo which astounded me. Reading about the harsh bush and frightening jungle through which Obulejo walked it was a surprise to see an image of a serene village surrounded by dense jungle and a mountain. It had me looking at photos of Sudan on the internet to look further at this beautiful place.
Fran Knight

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