My friend Gideon is one of those guys.
He is from Cameroon, which is on the west coast of Africa. I met him through my friend H, whom he tutored in Chemistry. She invited him over to dinner to meet her family and tell them about life in Africa. Since she knew my heart for anything African she invited me and a friendship began. He has tried to teach me how to throw a punch, cooked an African meal for me and mademe watch a horrible 4 hour long African movie. I've tried to show him some more American-fare - like swimming in a pool, eating out in restuarants and my favorite -the American musical!
Gideon is here in the states to become a doctor. Most of the time he is working or studying. In fact we went a year without getting together because he was so busy. Recently, we finally re-connected. We went for a walk and he stopped to pick the leaf of a plant. He crumbled it in his hand and smelled it. He told me it looked like a leaf they use at home to stop bleeding, but it wasn't the same plant. He once told me about falling out of a tree and breaking a bone. There was no doctor, no cast. You just set the bone and rub something it on it and it heals. A few minutes later he stopped at another plant and told me it looked like a wild strawberry plant. Both just looked like green plants to me.
At the end of the evening I was telling him how I was disappointment about attending an upcoming wedding alone. He offerred to see if his cousin might work for him that evening so he could go with me. I thought, "this is perfect. I'll have someone there with me and he'll get to have a night out, have fun and dance." Unfortunately, his cousin was going to be out of town that weekend. I resigned myself to going alone again.
A week later Gideon called to tell me he wasn't giving up yet. He would keep trying until he was out of options. My heart was so touched that he was still trying. Honestly, I think he was excited about going. Even though I was praying for a miracle that somehow he would get the night off, I didn't really think it would happen...
At the beginning of this week, he texts me to see if I have found a date already and would I still like him to take me. I can't believe it! I was on the verge of happiness. And then the let down. His uncle will cover for him but only until 10pm.
This presented a dilemma. Wedding starts at 6pm and is over an hour away. For Gideon to be home by 10 means leaving at 9pm, which would be right in the middle to end of dinner. We would miss all the fun. I was completely torn on what to do... I went back and forth. I asked advice. In the end I had to tell Gideon it just wasn't going to work, but I appreciated all his efforts.
I wish it could have been simple and we could have gone and just had a fun night. But what an amazing friend I have! Yes, indeed, there are still good guys in the world.