Wednesday, January 20, 2016

It's a Sue Thing. They Hate Having Photos Taken of Them, But She Taught Me Relationships Are Most Important, So....

A few weeks ago I learned that Lugendo Muya was marrying a young lady who resides in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the last few years, I've known this young man from Tanzania traveled back and forth there, but I didn't know if it was for his music career, his family, or something else. I now know it was for something else - to have time with his bride-to-be (so happy for him).

When I found out he was spending a few months in the 'ville (and he must be laughing at their snow days - he's a Syracuse kid), I needed him to meet my Louisville mentor, guide, supporter and mom, Sue. I'm so lucky to have had Syracuse Sue (my mom) and Louisville Sue (my away-from-home-longhaired-hippie-naive-teacher-starting-his-career mom). It took an entire village to raise this kid! As the Great Whatever had it, Sue and Lugendo finally met and they instantly hit it off. In fact, Sue wanted him to make Louisville his permanent home so he could begin a career working with relocated youth at Iroquois High School (all reports stated he was an instant hit: a man with integrity, poise, sophistication, and class).

The two of them met at Vietnam Kitchen last week (a slick, back-handed lunch arranged between Lugendo and me). I was happy to learn that Lugendo broke a sweat while eating the most delicious food in the city. He wrote on Facebook,
★It was amazing meeting with Sue and beyond joyful dining at Vietnam Kitchen. I am honored 2 meet such an outgoing professionist [professional]. All thanks 2 Bryan Ripley Crandall★I'm grateful for the opportunity★Thanks a bunch Bryan!! #Connection#Louisville  #2K16
My continued faith in Ubuntu was demonstrated here and I am definitely who I am because of what these two represent together.

I met Lugendo when I was doing my research in Central New York and although he wasn't a direct participant in my study, he was central to the knowledge I acquired while in the school for over a year. My ethnography was to blend into classrooms (I stood out like a sore thumb...old, graying, and typing like a madman) and I was in an advanced ESL class with him. They placed me in the seat behind him and we were often partnered to do work. Truth be told, he has the same creative and whacky personality traits I do. We never got in trouble, but we definitely bonded and laughed. And man, his teachers were phenomenal. I was in awe of Ms. Kinney and Mr. Anderson - they are what teaching is all about.

It's been a pleasure keeping up with Lugendo as he went to OCC and enrolled at Syracuse University. I love when he updates me with his musical talents and videos, and now I'm thrilled to know he's taking next steps in his life. I have tremendous faith that he'll achieve everything he sets out to do. He's an athlete, a singer, a motivator, a community organizer, and a total charmer.

I have only seen 4 or 5 photographs of Sue in my life (she really does shy away from the camera). Leave it to the charisma of Lugendo, however, to get a picture of her. I love it!

But now I'm craving an A4, shrimp, noodles, and delicious Vietnamese broth. Ah, but I am going to cherish this photograph for a long, long time.

This is a great way to kick of a Thursday morning.

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