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Grace's Story
Solomon Island's
August 2003
Age: eight years

Just to the north of Australia, is an island in ruins. There, an eight-year-old girl lives in fear.

Grace (her name has been changed to protect her) lives with her parents and two younger bothers. Grace lives in the west of Guadalcanal, the biggest island in the Solomon Islands where the capital town Honiara is located. She comes from a village about five kilometres from the coast.

One night, when she was sleeping in her home, a terrible incident occurred that Grace still can't forget. She heard gun shots close to her house. Grace cried and ran to her parents, who were also frightened.

"These are Harold Keke`s men who have come to attack our village. Hurry up, let's get out before we get killed," her father said. Without delay they all ran out of their house and into the jungle

When Harold Keke's men entered the village they killed three young boys. They burnt down all the houses in the village and killed all the animals they could find.

For two weeks, Grace's family and the other villagers hid in the jungle - surviving on food from old gardens and wild fruit. Grace said she found it very cold without any blankets and she was covered in mosquito bites. .

"This was a very bad experience and I didn't like it."

The family walked across the island, climbing mountains and crossing rivers. They walked to the town of Honiara to find help and a place to stay.

"We were fortunate and lucky that kind villagers sometimes gave us food when we got hungry and shelter too," Grace said.

Grace and her family are now living at a site on the outskirts of Honiara. Aid agencies have supplied them with tents and other necessities. Grace attends primary school and helps her mother with kitchen work, and can visit cousins who live in a nearby village.

Grace is glad she is safe, but can't forget the happy life she once had in her old home village.