She hugged the book to her chest. Years of pencil scribbles, random words that she had learned, not a scrap of the paper not used. There was only one page left.
She thought back to the day when Operation Christmas child had handed around the gift boxes, shipped from the UK. It was a charity project designed to give unfortunate children such as herself a special Christmas. When she was given her very own box, she stroked the shiny paper, savoured the way it felt beneath her fingers. She still had the box, with all the gifts she had been sent. But the book…that was her life. It was the best thing she had ever been given. She remembered the tears that streamed down her face as she picked up a pencil for the first time, and made a mark on a clean, white page. She had clutched it so hard it had almost snapped. Now it was barely a stub of lead, and she wept for the book. Without the book, she had nothing. It was like a piece of her soul. The girl looked across the barren land at the setting sun, and wondered how many sunsets she had left before the malaria killed her. Silently, she thanked God for her life and whoever sent her the book that got her through life.