BY PJ DUNN
Chapter 1, West Africa, May, 1855.
Twelve-year-old Manni helped his mother,
Mala, as she was stripping bark from a eucalyptus
tree, then winding the fibers into strands that she
would later weave into flat sheets for Manni and his
brother to use as sleeping mats. It was a very hot
and humid day in the West African Empire of
Yoruba. Manni’s younger brother, Jalani, was
playing with some of the other younger children,
next to the riverbank. Manni called to Jalani to get
away from the riverbank, it was very dangerous.
Just last week, one of Jalani and Manni’s friends
was attacked and killed by a crocodile. Danger was