Salva is an 11-year-old boy separated from his family during a school shooting in what is now South Sudan because of the Second Sudanese Civil War. He has to walk for days with only the hope that one day he will find his family again. Salva also struggles to find food and water to survive along with avoiding gunmen. Salva leads 1500 lost boys of Sudan to a refugee camp near the Gilo River. 7 years later, he arrives in America. He lives with a family in Rochester, New York. Many years later he finds his father and starts a volunteer group to build wells in Sudan called Water for South Sudan.
Nya is an 11-year-old girl who walks 8 hours to fetch water twice every single day. Her family home is far from the nearest pond, where she walks twice a day to support her parents and younger sister, Akeer. Throughout the story, a well is built in her village so she will not have to walk so far and drink unsafe water. A school and a hospital is built in her village, and she goes to school. Soon after, a market is built as well. She then introduces herself to Salva at the end.