Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sam I Am

[warning:  The following post contains the thoughts of an overly proud mom - if you have a strong gag reflex, and are easily grossed out by moms going on and on and bragging about their kids, I'd strongly recommend you skip reading this post.  I'll go back to posts about Rwanda with my next entry.]


Over the holidays, while his sister Ruthie was home, Sam created a video depicting his life in Rwanda and more specifically, his life as a student far from any English speaking school in Rwanda.  His online school was holding a video contest which he decided to enter.  The topic was, "Why I like Northstar Academy" and the maximum length was 2 minutes - Sam's video was 1:59.

I'm proud of this video.  Rather, I'm proud of Sam for making it.

  To watch the video, click below. (Or wait until the end of the post, when I will provide the link again.)

North Star Academy: Do School Anywhere

The video represents so much more than just his answer to the video prompt, "Why I like Northstar", though it does answer that question well.  It also shows his love for his new home, and captures the beauty of the people and landscape that we see each day.  

It also represents a young man who has found his passion, and daily works to develop his new skills related to that passion.  Sam has learned more about photography and videography since moving to Rwanda, thanks to the jumpstart he received from his mentor and friend, Dave Harrison of England, than most people learn in a lifetime.
Perhaps most of all, it demonstrates the phrase "making lemonade out of lemons".  Sam would prefer, as he has respectfully told us more than a few times, to live in the USA.  He still misses his friends from the neighborhood, especially Shaunie and Hunter.  As many friends as he's made here, no one could replace them.  He misses his dog and our home and about 1,000 other things.  If we said we were leaving tomorrow, he'd probably jump for joy.


Watch the video.

See these (very non-professional) pictures I've snapped of our son, living his life here in Rwanda?

Hanging with the guys. 

Chai (Tea) Time with his good friends, Bakwyie (left) and Bernard (right)
This is a kid who has made the most of something he didn't want to do, of living in a place he'd prefer not to live.  This is a kid who has found the beautiful and the true that is here, and is making the most of it, even though he'd rather be somewhere else.

Walking back from a photo shoot with Ruthie
and their friend, Ildephonse

This is a kid who can see and appreciate the beauty around him even though he thinks Texas is even more beautiful. 

Pushing Deste on the swing, which he kindly does each day for a really, really l-o-n-g time.  


I watch, humbled and pleased, as my boy (my boy!), who hates spending time on homework, making his bed, doing chores and the like (but does it anyway, most days), gladly spends hours perfecting one 10 second section of a video on which he is working.

Helping to entertain the littlest (and cutest) missionary on the compound
during our English night church - the Francis Chan sermon was a little
too long to hold an 18 months' attention!  

I'm not really surprised, I guess.  This is the same boy who used to spend hours building skyscrapers with his blocks each day.  The same boy who could gleefully spend an entire afternoon in his sandbox, building an intricate city, even though he knew at the end of the day, it might accidentally be destroyed by his dogs, his siblings, his friends or the unlikely occurrence of rain in our dry and dusty corner of Texas.

Sam's other passion is writing.  He's started a book.   A novel.  I've always wanted to write a book, and yet, there is my 13 year old, doing it.   He is on chapter 5, and I daresay he might just finish it this year.  When that happens, you can be sure I'll be on here bragging on my boy again.  And telling you where to purchase it on Amazon.  :)

I hope you can see his video.  Enjoy!  (By the way, Sam gave permission for this to be posted - though I'm sure he had no idea I'd write all this mushy stuff about him.  He asked me to ask you for any criticism or comments that he could use to try to improve his work.  So, comment away!)

If you haven't yet seen the video, here is the promised end of the post link:  North Star Academy: Do School Anywhere


  1. Way to go, Sam! Tyler and Caleb have really gotten into this type of thing too. You live in a beautiful place! We miss you all! -Stowell family

  2. Very good video. Excellent work Sam.

  3. Well done Sam!
    God has BIG plans for you... and your family.
    Nancy Tiller