Sofia's Journey Through Africa

By Frances Dungey

Secrets in the Fire was a truly remarkable book. The words the author used made you feel like you were in the book or a character yourself. I still can't get over the fact that this is based on a true story. So this girl called Sofia had to go through all these problems by herself or with Maria.

Secrets In The Fire:

In the book there was an old lady called Muzaena who told Sofia and her sister, Maria, that if you looked hard enough into the centre of the fire, you could see all the secrets and passed people.So the title, Secrets In The Fire, Sofia journey was a secret too all, but  only the readers really new what Sofia had gone through.

Character Profiles

There were many characters during the book may have had an influence or a big influence of Sofia’s life. Sofia was a strong girl through the whole book, but there were times when she had to look up at the people around her.

Mama Lydia

Mama Lydia was Sofia’s mum. She was a very strong woman and would do anything to keep her family going. She never showed too much emotion to anyone that passed her. Mama Lydia went through so much pain, but she stayed strong and went on with her life. Sofia was much like her mother in many different ways. She was strong and had determination to the extreme. Sofia had got her mothers strength and was able to survive the blast from the land-mine.   

Doctor Raul

Doctor Raul was the one that did the surgery on Maria and Sofia. Maria had fewer injuries, but she was bleeding internally. Sofia had to get both her legs amputated, as both were to badly ruined. Doctor Raul had done such a fantastic job; she recovered well and was able to walk again. When she met her step-dad she didn’t like him from the instant her eyes feel upon him. She didn’t like it at home so she walked all the way back to Doctor Raul’s car and she stayed with him, then moved her to a friend, where she stayed with her for many months. He helped Sofia’s through tough times and she could always talk to him about anything.


Maria was only a year older then Sofia. As Sofia only had Maria (because that was they were the only 2 girls in the family) they did almost everything together, but out of the both of them, Sofia was the bravest. Maria asked the question and Sofia would answer them. Maria would also tell Sofia to do the things Maria was too scared to do and Sofia never complained about doing. Sofia could always talk to Maria about anything and Maria would listen with great care. Sofia told her sister things she would never even dare of telling Mama Lydia.

Sofia's Journey

Either Sofia or Sofia and the family, both were huge adventures. As you can tell by the photo below, Sofia had a bit or a walk to do. When the bandits came, Mama Lydia, Sofia, Maria and Alfredo started their joruney to go out a find a new family village. Both journey's were quite big, but both of them had something in common. Sofia walked BOTH of the tracks, one with her actual legs and the other with artificial legs. She is one brave and determined  little girl.

Key Events

From the start to the finish of the book, each chapter had either the one or many events hidden between the pages. And this is how they went.

·  Sofia and her family had to run away from their village as bandits had come and killed nearly everyone.

·  Sofia and Maria’s dad died protecting them from the bandits finding them.

·  When they were walking towards (what they hope to find) a village, they met an old lady who had a plastic cup from her village.

·  The old lady died over might and they took her plastic cup and left.

·  Sofia and Maria got to see the ocean for the first time.

·  The ended up finding a village (but it was actually a refugee camp)

. ·  Sofia and Maria got accepted into the village’s school, and they would go every afternoon      

·  One night all villagers had to come to a meeting. The leader of the refugee camp, Jose Maria told everyone that they had to stay to the paths, as there were landmines everywhere underground accepts under the path.

·  Sofia met an old man called Toto, and he promised to make her a dress, but she just need to get the material and thread.

·  Sofia new it was very bad to steal, but she promised Maria she would make her a dress, so in the quiet darkness of the night, Sofia snuck out and stole the one of the 3 sheets hanging up out near Jose-Maria.

·  Sofia returned Totio earlier the next day and he made her the dress. She gave the dress to Maria a day later.

·  It had been rain over night and the paths were slippery. Sofia made up a game. The game was to see who could run along the path the furthest with their eyes shut.

·  Sofia started running, but slipped and went off the path. She put on of her the ground and when she was about to hop back onto the path the ground exploded.

·  They were both rushed to hospital to get surgery on their injuries.

·  Sofia had more injuries then Maria but Maria was bleeding internally. Sadly that night Maria passed away.

·  Sofia slowly recovered in hospital and then was moved to a house where you stay while you learn to walk again.

  ·  Sofia met a girl there called Hortensia, which, after time, felt like Sofia had another sister.

 ·  It took her awhile to learn to walk, but she finally got there and was able to return home.

·  When she arrived home, she met her new stepfather.

·  Sofia didn’t like her step-dad as he drunk tononto (homemade liquor) nearly every afternoon and he would hit Alfredo.

·  Sofia left her village one night, and started walking back to the city.

·  It took her a couple of days, but she got there. Doctor Raul saw her sleeping against his car and decided to take her home.

·  When she arrived, the first thing she did was take a bath, for the very first time.

·  After a couple of days Dr Raul moved Sofia into his night guard sister’s house.

·  Hemongarda (night guards sister) asked if Sofia wanted to do anything while she stayed with her. Sofia said that she would really like to sew.

·  Hemongarda had a friend called Fatima that owned a sewing shop close by and she said Sofia could work with her, but she wouldn’t get payed. Sofia did care if she got payed or not.

·  Sofia stayed working with Fatima for many months until she got a visit from her mother. Sofia was so happy.

·  That day Mama Lydia came, they both visited Maria’s grave. Maria didn’t have a head stone, so Sofia made a promise that she will save her money to buy one for her.

·  Mama Lydia went home and Sofia stayed for another month.

·  During Sofia’s last couple of weeks in the city Totio came to visit her and asked if she wanted to take over his sewing machine and hut, as Totio and his wife were moving back to their original village.  

·  It took Sofia many days to think about his offer, and she eventually said yes.

·  Now Sofia lives by herself in a hut, with the sewing machine and gets money fixing of making clothes for people.

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