Remembering Legson Kayira

I just learned that Legson Kayira passed away.  My Mom sent an email saying his wife called to give Mom and her siblings the news.  It makes me a bit sad that though I had some correspondence with him, and of course heard many stories from Mom, my grandparents, and my Mom’s siblings, I didn’t get the chance to meet him.  He was an amazing human being.  

In his honor I’m reposting a blog entry I wrote in April 2007.  This is, without a doubt, the most commented on post I’ve ever done.  Legson inspired so many people, touched so many lives, and it’s amazing to me how many people found my post while searching for him and then wanted to try and get back in touch with him again.  I hope, for my part, I was able to help in getting some of those connections made.  I always replied to people who asked that I would contact Legson, give him their info, and leave it up to him if he wanted to make contact.  I was honored to hopefully put him back in touch with so many people and maybe remind him how loved he was and how important he was to so many.

As I said in the post I am so proud of our family’s part in his journey.  It was truly inspirational, as he himself was inspirational as well.

Legson Kayira

Families have many stories. One of ours involves a man named Legson Kayira. Giving Legson a home during the 60′s is something my family is proud of, and should be. They took him in, which was probably not really as easy as they let on, and then proceeded to make a life long connection with him. In fact, during my mom’s wedding last summer one of the events we have pictures of was a phone call to London, where Legson and his wife have lived for several years. In the photos my mom and all of her siblings who were present are lined up along the side of the house talking on the phone, or waiting to talk on the phone, to Legson.

Today I was looking around for info on Legson Kayira because, I think, I’m facinated by the story of a man who would walk across Africa to get an American education, and I’m proud of the part my family played in his journey. Legson later wrote a book called “I Will Try” about his experience and has written others since. My grandparents had a copy of that book and I remember as a young child being told the story of Legson’s journey and how he stayed with my family (grandparents, mom, and her siblings) after arriving in the states, during the time he attended Skagit Valley College. At the time several articles were written about his journey and experience and during my search I happened to find the article from Time Magazine called Destination: Skagit Valley. Amazing what can be found online.   My favorite part of this particular article, of course, is the quote by my grandmother. It’s classic Martha. As for our family’s part of the story, it’s classic for them. They took in a man who valued education because they could appreciate that aim, and because they felt they had something to offer him, which, for my part, I can testify to. It’s an amazing family, who has, throughout the years, touched many lives in such a postive and great way. They’ve left, and are still leaving, an incredible legacy, of which Legson Kayira is a small, yet amazing part.

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