Seasons Greetings! :)
As we move into the holiday season Rudi and I have become a bit nostalgic for American culture. Because of this, I sat down the other day and wrote a list about all that I was thankful for in this past year in Namibia. Mostly my list had to do with the people back home who have supported me, the people I have met here, and also one specific person that has touched my life...... Mcdonald. I am thankful to share his life-changing experience and see him moving forward.
This past weekend, the community had all of the confirmations in town for the young adults in the churches. Mcdonald was one of them. Thanks to all the generous contributions by family, friends and acquaintances (many of you!), Mcdonald was able to buy a suit to wear for his confirmation. When you look at the photos, there is a look of humbled confidence in his eyes and his mother looks very proud of all he has and is accomplishing. His mother is wearing a traditional Herero cultural dress which they often wear for special occasions such as this.
Then, on Monday I saw something else that made me smile. As I rode in the teacher combi (minibus) towards our school in the location, I saw Mcdonald. When he was in the wheelchair he had to pay a taxi every day to pick him up. On Monday, I saw him walking to school, with all his friends and schoolmates, using crutches for just basic stabilization. At the beginning of the year, the teachers used to have to let Mcdonald leave class early so he could slowly navigate his way to the next class. This too is no more, he now moves with ease from one class to another on his new legs, just like all the other students. When you ask him how he is doing, it's always, “I'm fine Miss/Sir” always polite and always humbled and shy, still not quite understanding why or how so many people have taken an interest in him. He is still working very hard at school and is growing into an amazing young man. He has now officially graduated from 8th grade and in January will start as a 9th grader.
His life is completely different than it was just a year ago. He has many challenges ahead of him as he grows up, but he is facing them head-on and overcoming them with youthful vigor. He is a strong, motivated young man and we should all feel very proud of supporting him and his family through this challenging time. His fund is doing well and will see him through junior secondary school and hopefully help him get into a good senior secondary school and college one day. There is clearly a lot we can all be thankful for this holiday season.
So, my main update is this: Mcdonald is happy, humble and mobile!
Happy (late) Thanksgiving!