The Leopard Tree
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Three orphans from Kenya stow away on an airplane to embark on a desperate quest to meet the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York City and deliver a message they hope will help millions of homeless and hurting children in Africa. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz becomes their guidebook as they journey alone across the United States. The trio one with HIV, one blind amputee, and one who hasn t spoken for years after watching her family slaughtered find themselves embroiled in a situation beyond their imaginations as they get close to meeting their goal. This book was written with the hope of raising awareness of the millions of people in Africa who suffer the effects of malnutrition, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and the unspeakable atrocities associated with armed conflicts.You can help by doing whatever you re able to do: send a donation,learn what s going on, offer a home, visit the continent, buy an extra copy of The Leopard Tree. Profits from the sale of The Leopard Tree will be used to support projects that help those who need assistance in Africa.
down the jetway and onto the plane. With only one row of three seats left, the flight attendant on board assumed the children belonged there and quickly shooed them into place. She smiled and said, “I bet your mom is glad you made it. Where is she sitting?” Daudi motioned a few rows behind, hoping that someone back there would look like she could be the mother of the three. Fortunately, someone rang a call button and the attendant quickly shifted focus and moved away. “Did it work, Daudi?”
everyone else on board filed off, looking at the youngsters as if they were from another planet. They had been on the plane for almost 20 hours and they looked it. They were so travel-weary that they could do nothing but wait as Carole had instructed them. She finally came for them, and said, “Okay, it’s time to go. We’ll get your paperwork sorted out and I’m sure we can find whoever’s supposed to meet you on this end.” She escorted them through the long corridors, pushing the wheelchair she had
to read a novel. Her mind was whirling with thoughts about what to do when she landed at Philly. Her busy travel schedule for bigger stories would have to wait. This had become the one story that mattered to her. She had family in trouble and wanted to be there for them. * * * Masozi could not keep still. He walked around and around in the very tight space in the caboose. Gus chuckled at Masozi’s energy and willingness to show off his new leg. Daudi tried to enjoy the spectacle, but coughed
think the interview went well, but our yellow brick road ends here, does it not? We came to meet the wizard, someone who will make it safer where we live. And now we know the wizard is not really very interested in hearing from us after all. It is like the book more than we thought. Except there will be no errand we can do that will make the wizard change his mind and meet with us. So we will go tomorrow, talk to those who care to listen and then we will go home.” Daudi’s voice held
first, then television and some sort of crazy improvisational stage show. Honestly, I’m not even sure what’s happening here anymore but we’ll go with the flow.” Technicians streamed over the stage while Mayor Baumer treated the kids to hot dogs from the closest vendor. * * * They picnicked behind the stage, in good spirits now that they were all together again. Though Daudi was smiling, he seemed quiet. Rosa noticed when he passed his uneaten hot dog to Masozi. She started to say