WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 165 of 195

library reading belles-lettres literature bestsellers media authors books One Banana Leaf at a Time N A Z S I O S H A N S I writer in wellesley resident Katie Smith Milway's new book, The Banana-Leaf Ball: How Play Can Change the World, she tells the story of Deo Rukundo, a little boy who has to flee his home in Burundi and settle in Lukole, a refugee camp in northwestern Tanzania. On the night when his family realizes they have to immediately escape, Deo is forced to leave behind his prized possession, a banana-leaf ball, which is a soccer ball that he created by wrapping dried banana leaves around with twine. On his flight into the forest, he is sepa- rated from his family and manages to survive on rain water, wild fruit, and leaves. He is finally found by a fisherman, who brings him to Lukole. At the camp, life can be somewhat normal when there is food, but when shortages occur, fights break out. Some boys form gangs, bullying others for the little food or few possessions that they may still have. To comfort himself and remember home, Deo starts to make a new banana-leaf ball, but the dried leaves are soon stolen from him by the camp bully, Remy. A coach comes to the camp and places Deo and Remy on the same soccer team. The boys learn to play together and support each other. This is a turning point for Deo, and after the camp is closed and he is able to return home, he continues to coach the younger children in his town, teaching them how to work together via soccer. The story of Deo is based on the actual childhood of Benjamin Nzobonankira from Burundi. In 1993, when Nzobonankira was 10 years old, he was forced to flee his village after the first democratically elected president of Burundi was killed. Like Deo, he was separated from his C O U R T E S Y O F K I D S C A N P R E S S / K A T I E S M I T H M I L W A Y 164 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8

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