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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

growing up

Luke hiked to Fort Portal with the Sudan interns and Nathan yesterday, and Caleb hiked to the forest and back down with our new team mate John Clark. No parents involved, or needed. Luke's purpose in going all the way over was to visit a young man who became his closest friend at CSB. Kataramu Taddeo is an amazingly pleasant teenager, with the most remarkable study habits and best grades of anyone we know. He and Luke consistently took the top positions in all their classes. Since finishing O-levels, they have stayed in touch, though Kataramu is from our neighboring district and only ended up at Christ School because of an orphan sponsorship program through his church. On Good Friday, we got a call from Kataramu that his mother had died. He had already lost his father long ago, and 5 of his 12 siblings, so he was no stranger to grief. Still, as the youngest and only one still in school, we know the untimely death of his mother (from asthma, a death that most likely would not have occurred in a more resource-filled world) hit him hard. We missed the burial, but Luke decided to go and see his friend within the 4 day traditional mourning period, a very culturally appropriate and important response to such an event. He left his fellow hiking missionaries in a hostel in town and took a motorcycle taxi out to Kataramu's home alone, to spend the night. This is a pretty big step for a 16 year old, to go stay completely cross-culturally with a family whom he knows only through his school friendship, hours from home. He was so glad he did, though. It is gestures like this that cement friendships, and Luke has been around long enough to know that friendships like Kataramu's (and his other friend Nuuru's) are a rare gift. He met back up with Nathan mid- morning in town, and the two of them set a WHM record for hiking back over the strenuous mountain pass in 4 hrs 5 minutes. It usually takes us at least 6 hours, sometimes 7 if we rest a lot. To do the 20+km route, with about 5 thousand feet of elevation change up and down, twice in two days is pretty crazy.

More than probably any time in the last few months, I am very aware tonight that our son is growing up, that the independence of going away to boarding school in another country is maturing him faster than I had imagined.

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