Why did Nya get bitten by a snake in A Long Walk to Water?

While Nya is not bitten by a snake in A Long Walk to Water, there is always the potential for such an occurrence, as Nya and the people of her village must travel many miles each day to obtain even a little bit of muddy, contaminated water.

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In Linda Sue Park's book A Long Walk to Water , eleven-year-old Nya and the other people of her village in Sudan must walk many miles to draw water from either a muddy, contaminated pond or a muddy, contaminated lake. Nya is exhausted by her trips to the water...

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In Linda Sue Park's book A Long Walk to Water, eleven-year-old Nya and the other people of her village in Sudan must walk many miles to draw water from either a muddy, contaminated pond or a muddy, contaminated lake. Nya is exhausted by her trips to the water source, yet her family must have water, so she continues to go, day after day, month after month, year after year. Once, she steps on a thorn, which pierces her foot, causing great pain. Another time, her younger sister becomes very ill after drinking water from the pond. The nurse at the clinic (also miles from Nya's home) tells Nya's mother that she should boil the water before drinking it, but Nya's mother knows that if she did, most of the water would evaporate, and there would be nothing left to drink.

In chapter 11, the narrator mentions that scorpions and poisonous snakes that hide in the grass in Nya's village and, presumably, along the way to the pond or lake. Nya is never bitten by a snake, but that is certainly always a risk for her and for the others who make the daily journey for water. There are, of course, many risks on that long walk, including everything from those poisonous creatures to attacks by enemies or wild animals to the potential for falls and injuries, but the risks must be taken because families need water, as muddy and filthy as it is.

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