A Tribute to a Kind Stranger

9:32 PM

This was my courageous act of the day. Stop rejecting the inclination to write. 

Four years ago today, a man named Nate Henn was in Kampala visiting his Ugandan friends that he met through his time as a Roadie for Invisible Children. It was the same trip I would take three years later. The difference was that Nate never made it home. He lost his life in a terrorist bombing during the world cup. I feel strange writing this because it is really not my story to tell, it was told much better by the best storytellers that I know. You can watch it here: 

I must say that this is weird for me to post, because I did not know Nate. My intention is not to take away from the people who feel a personal heaviness today, but instead to encourage those people as a person who has been a quiet observer.

To those who knew him; the way that you have spoken of him, and kept his name strong, has brought me to a state of deep appreciation for kind people. I could not tell you Nate’s favorite color, or his defining moment. I couldn’t tell you if he spoke other languages or what he studied in school. I couldn’t even tell you if he went to school but I feel a deep sadness for those of you who know these things. Because what I do know (because of you), is that Nate was kind, that he was infectious and that he cared about the right things. I’ve seen the way your eyes light up when you speak of him. You have taught me that this kind of character is what creates a legacy. And this kind of person is hard to lose. 

When I was in Uganda last year, my Ugandan teammate and I went on a walk around Kampala. We passed the Rugby Club and when we did, our conversation stopped. I knew the reasoning behind the silence as we passed by. It was the type of silence that results from hard memories and deep appreciation. You never stop mourning those type of people, but you also never stop celebrating them. So I want to celebrate with you guys today, a life that I never knew but was very inspired by. 

Although, I was only living in community with Invisible Children for a short time, the impact of that community continues to have a profound affect on me. And I find myself overwhelmed, because what Nate was to you, my friends, is what many of you are to me. It makes me want to work harder, walk longer, go farther to share with the world what I learned when I was in those walls. The most of which is this; if you’re going to devote your life to something, devote it to people. Timshel resounds stronger than ever, I imagine it ringing from a high mountain in his honor. We have this choice. You may. Nate did, and we will continue to. 

What a lesson you’ve taught us Nate, thank you. 

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