In 2008 we met an Ik man named Mark (pseudonym) from the
Fast forward a year or more later. We stopped briefly in the Karamojong town of
Fast forward a few days. I’m working in our yard in Timu. A Dodoth man who speaks Ik tells me in Swahili that he found a man lying alone in the forest. He says the man is very sick and is coming to see us. “He should have gone to the hospital in Kaabong instead of risking his life to walk to us”, I thought. I was annoyed. Why do people put so much on us? Why does a dying man seek us for help in the middle of nowhere? “I’m not a doctor”, I said. “Let me get my wife”.
Mark was skin and bones. His body was ravaged by an unknown disease, and we didn’t have the means to diagnose or cure him. We called his relatives in the next village to come get him. We gave him something to eat and drink. The next day we arranged for a humanitarian agency to pick him up on their way back to Kaabong.
Yesterday I found out that Mark died three days later. No one knows what killed him. The hospital either doesn’t know or won’t tell. As for me and Amber, we have our first major regret of our time here. We regret not reading the signs better. Mark was knocking on death’s door the last time we saw him. We regret not treating him better, not treating him like a wounded king. We regret not praying for him and praying with him. I particularly regret not talking with him about his soul’s destiny.
There’s no use beating ourselves up over this. What we can do is let the regret sink in, in hope that next time we will be more prepared.
May Mark rest in peace.