Fire Walkers

It’s 1974, a coup has just installed a repressive military regime in Ethiopia. A family of five undertakes to escape from Addis Ababa to Djibouti, cross the brutal Danakil Desert on foot. Beth Gebreyohannes, a young girl at the time, describes that grim, perilous journey. Betrayed by guides and robbed by bandits, lost in the desert without food or water, they are rescued finally by a trading caravan of nomadic Afar tribesmen, complete strangers who feed and guide them on to Djibouti. In this port city, other strangers house them until—more than a year after they left—they receive their visas for Canada.

This is a story at once gripping and moving, about the endurance and courage of a family escaping to freedom against all odds; a story everyone would acknowledge as a portrait of our times, when so many everywhere run to seek safe havens.