Amadou and Seydou are cutting the pods from the cacao trees, for this has been their job for more than two years. They must make their quote for the day or endure their punishment for failing. Amadou takes care of his eight-year-old brother Seydou, the responsibility sometimes overwhelming for the fifteen-year-old. They’re just waiting for the day that their debt is paid off, for Amadou feels that, when that day arrives they will be allowed to return home to their parents. Day in and day out, the boys in this camp collect the pods that will later be sold. Their bosses getting paid for the work that these young children have accomplished. The boys get an interesting addition to their group when Khadija is brought into the camp. A girl, and a wild one at that! Khadija puts up an amazing fight as she doesn’t want to work at this camp and she longs to be free. I enjoyed her determination and spirit. While others watched, she was able to stay strong and fight for what she wanted. While most of the boys in the camp see Khadija as a female, Amadou and Seydou start to see her as something else.
I enjoyed the hostility between Amadou and Khadija as they began to interact with each other and then watched, as their relationship turns into something greater. As the drama begins to intensify, the novel moves along quickly. I enjoyed this novel until the very end. To think that young child must work in these conditions daily upset me, for them to dream of their freedom when in reality their work will never be done.