Identify key events that help to establish the main problems in the beginning of the book.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There are some key events that present themselves at the exposition of the narrative which help to establish the problems that Nhamo faces at the start of the book.  One of these events is her father's abandonment.  Her father abandons she and her mother when he kills a man.  As opposed to staying and accepting responsibility, he runs away.  This is a critical event because one half of Nhamo's parental unit is gone.  The other half disappears when her mother is killed by a leopard.  With both parents gone, Nhamo is, essentially, an orphan.  This helps to establish her as a scapegoat, something that the muvuki ends up doing when consulted as to why the villagers are suffering from malaria.  Nhamo's scapegoating becomes one of the accelerants to get her out of the village and out of Mozambique, in general.  These events end up playing a critical role in establishing the main problems that Nhamo faces.  She is marginalized because of her parental situation, and with few, if any to advocate for her, she must find her own voice apart fro her community.  These events help to establish this challenge in the course of the narrative.

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