Chapter 16 takes place in a rehabilitation center where Ishmael and the other boy soldiers are being cared for. The boys act barbaric and misbehave for the staff. They attack the cook, throw bowls, and silverware at the nurses, and break into the medical closets in search of drugs. In their free time they attack villagers and fight each other. Ishmael gets a gash on his hand and is bleeding on uncontrollably. He goes into the hospital thinking he would steal a first aid kit and bandage his own wound, but is greeted by a kind nurse who cares for him. While in the hospital he goes through a withdrawal from drugs and is cared for by the nurse. On top of that the boys are overwhelmed by the kindness of the staff and begin to recall events of the war. This causes them to have violent outbreaks. The staff forces the boys to do a few hours of school each day and are rewarded with trips into the city, but the schooling becomes stressful for the boys considering how little they know. Later in the chapter Ishmael begins to have a flashback of a time when him and his friend Altai slaughtered a whole village by themselves. After doing him and Altai are given nicknames and Ishmael's is "Green Snake" do to his ability to be sneaky. He is happy with the name.
The theme that I got out of this chapter is loosing your innocence. Ishmael and the other boy soldiers have lost their innocence at too young of an age. Not only are the staff of the hospital trying to restore the boys backed to health but they are also helping them become kids again. They are kind and helpful to the boys which is strange to the boys considering they have been brainwashed and drugged to fight. The boys are having reoccurring thoughts of war which should not happen to boys at that age.
In our culture for as long as we have existed there comes a time in a persons life when they must grow up and learn to "fight" for themselves no matter what they are doing. Most of the time in our society it is when you turn 18 or graduate from high school or college. Ishmael and all the boy soldiers are being robbed of this opportunity to be a kid and to grow up and learn. They loose their childhood and are now soldiers as a teenager.