Friday, November 28, 2008
Four more things for which I give THANKS: Luke, the loyal-- He touched down on the airstrip today with his mop of 3-months-away-from-home thick hair and his ever-taller frame, giving hugs and receiving the enthusiastic greetings of family and team. His first term grades show us that in spite of his peculiar and patchy education, he had managed to learn something and can hold his own in an American system, though in some classes the teachers commented that it took time for him to adjust. We got to read a children's illustrated story he wrote for Creative Writing class (about Hasty the Chameleon), and see a 99% grade on his BC Calculus final. His photo and graphic design were chosen for the invitations to his class's major social event in February, the Senior Banquet. He's growing up, in full-term spurts that are all the more evident by his absence. Caleb, the healed one--I am thankful for quiet healing. In a nothing-short-of miraculous way, he is suddenly growing. For those who have known us, you may remember that Caleb suffered serious illness from chronic gastroenteritis during his first two years of life in Uganda, and completely stopped growing for a while. After a major Hopkins work-up including intestinal and liver biopsies and growth hormone testing, the conclusion was that he was just like most African kids, preserving his life and his brain at the expense of the rest of his body in a sea of sickness. So we settled in for a life of shortness, as he re-set from being a huge baby to a slight child. Suddenly, though, he's growing. On Thanksgiving Day we measured: 5 feet 7 and 1/4 inches, taller than me, pretty much exactly where Luke was at the same age, leaving the 10th percentile way behind and closing in on the 90th. I thank God for this amazing gift of healing. Julia, the brave-- Yesterday Julia and Acacia took Wibble the goat back to his pen at the Massos after our rodeo. Suddenly Acacia cried out, Julia, come, help. A baby goat named, somewhat confusingly, Cow, had fallen into the Masso's trash pit and could not get out. Trash pits in Africa are not nice places. I have never actually been IN one, and never hope to be. But the goat was in trouble and her friend was distressed, so Julia climbed down into the hole dug deep for trash, lifted the little goat named Cow, and managed to push him up and out. Our heroine, the shepherdess. Jack, young Abe--Also at our party last night, Barbara had the idea of asking Jack to recite the Gettysburg address. He had memorized it for school this year, and reminded us of the values that make us proud to celebrate Thanksgiving. Bravely he stood in front of the crowd of 29 and delivered the famous speech. Jack has had a tough year, the youngest in the school, injured and unable to play sports, desperately missing his brother. It was good to see him able to speak, to laugh, to gnaw on his turkey leg with his friend Ivan by his side, to dazzle us all with his articulate rendering of the address. These are four amazing kids, I know I'm not objective, but today I just want to be thankful for them.