Rudolph Sanders, "aka" Roo, (which means "also known as") was born in Australia but has spent most of his young life travelling around the globe. The kids in his English boarding school gave him that nick name as he's from "down under." Just look on a globe and you'll see Australia is indeed "down under." His father happens to be a vice president of a large grain company and so travels the world taking his son with him when he can. On one of those travels to southern Africa, Roo met Hakim at the Internet café. It didn't take long for Marco, Roo's pen pal from school, to join the boys playing some computer games and becoming fast friends. And yet it is there that Marco and Roo begin to become aware of the desperate situations facing children like themselves in 3rd world countries.
"You see, my mother's dead. No, it's okay. It happened long ago when I was just born; not that I was the cause of it. Well I don't mean it really is okay. I would have liked to have had a mother. I don't think I miss her much 'cause I never knew her; but sometimes I think about what she was like and wonder if she would be proud of me. Dad said so once, and then he gave me such a big long hug. I kind of thought it was for her, you know.
"I've tried, but can't get him to talk much about her. Every time I ask, he changes the subject. We're close though, Dad and me. When I'm out of school I travel with him a lot. That's how I met Hakim.
"I was on the internet with Marco, who's my pen- pal through our school program, and Hakim was just standing there. Dad had some business to do in Africa and he let me stay on the computer at the Internet Café. I told Hakim to join us. He's never played any video games, and the three of us had an amazing time. We've been in touch ever since.
"Then there was the time a village, not too far from Hakim's home, burned down by some gunmen. They were actually, terrorist. That's what I'd call them. They killed all the people; the animals as well. A truck from the UN came in with supplies but they hijacked it, murdered the driver and stole everything. Marco, though, found a way to help—it's all in the book. That Marco, he's a quite a bloke!"