In Irritation and Laughter, posted in 2006, I talked about Stephen Oluka, the brother of my close friend and colleague Silas Oluka. Stephen taught me much about attitude through the example of his irrepressible laughter, even while dealing gracefully with grim circumstances.
Well, I recently learned that Stephen has died, apparently the victim of medical mismanagement of a serious and unpleasant, but eminently treatable, problem. (If you must get sick, I advise doing it somewhere other than Kampala, Uganda.) The world is more impoverished for his passing, and the schools of Uganda especially so.
I don’t know if Stephen managed to retain his sense of mirth to the end; if anyone could, it would have been him. But I’m quite sure he’s laughing now, taking hysterical new delight in the great and beautiful joke that is life — without in the least diminishing its sanctity, pathos, or grandeur.
Here’s to you, Stephen Oluka.