Then, after he had been on the farm for two weeks, Francis started work. His job was to look after Giemma’s goats and sheep.

For the next ten years, Francis worked as Giemma’s slave. He was paid nothing. He could not leave. He was unhappy, but there was nothing he could do except keep working. If he told Giemma he didn’t like working so much, Giemma talked about cutting off one of his legs so he wouldn’t be able to run away. Francis knew this might really happen because he had seen a young slave on another farm who only had one leg.

When he was fourteen, Francis tried to run away. He got caught. Giemma hit him and talked again about cutting off one of his legs. Francis ran away again the next day and he got caught again. This time Giemma tied him up and pointed a gun at him. Giemma’s wife told him to shoot Francis. Giemma told Francis he was going to kill him in the morning.

In the morning, Giemma told Francis he didn’t want to kill him because he was doing a good job of taking care of his animals. But he also told him that if he tried to run away again, he would kill him. Francis decided to wait three more years before he tried again. He knew he had to be bigger and stronger and smarter first.

He did try again after three years and this time he didn’t get caught. After many adventures, he got to Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. And in 1999 he went to the United States. There, with the help of Edward Tivnan, he wrote a book about his life called Escape from Slavery.

-- information from: “Escape from Slavery,” Francis Bok and Edward Tivnan, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y., 2000

slave:
person who is owned by another person

sword:
long knife-shaped piece of metal used for fighting

capital:
city where government is

peanut:
large seed that grows underground; eaten by humans in many places; also called a ‘groundnut’

stick:
long narrow piece of wood