Friday, June 25, 2010

Twesigye Jackson Kaguri

On Wednesday, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri stopped by to sign copies of his book, The Price of Stones. While I folded the jacket flap into the title page on each of the copies, I read the summary and then went on to read the first few pages of his story. This man is amazing. His ancestral village in Uganda had, while he was studying in America, been absolutely ravaged by AIDS, and especially hard hit were the children. Seeing the hopeless plight of the youngest generation in his village, he decided on the spot that they needed a place to grow, to learn, and to get the opportunity to turn the raw deal they had been handed into something meaningful and as lasting as possible.
He built a free school for children with AIDS, stone by stone, over five years, with the help of his family and friends. Faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and pressures to give this unlikely dream up, he nevertheless followed through on his promise, and there in the village of Nyakagyezi, Uganda, stands a fully accredited primary school filled with children who would not have been accepted in any other classroom.

So, Mr Kaguri comes in and introduces himself, and starts signing books and talking to me, my coworker Zoe, and the customers in line. He sold two books to the first two women in line, and told us we needed to get some more people in line before he finished the pile, as he could sell all of them given the chance. And I have no doubt he could.

It was a beautiful thing to behold: here was a man who saw the opportunity not to gain, but to give. For so many the goal is retirement, release from labor. But for others, the true release comes with the undertaking of great tasks, and the realization that as long as there is life there is work to be done. The key is finding out what that work is.

I don't ever want to retire. Thanks for stopping in my store, Twesigye Kaguri.

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