Topic: "Chariots of Fire"
January, 2000, the dawn of the new millenium. It started in the Islands of the Kiribati Republic and worked its' way all around the planet known as Earth. In virtually every land people celebrated the new century with fireworks and festival. Virtually every land.
Mehamed was awakened by the screams of his family--his father, mother, three brothers and two sisters were attacked in their sleep by hyenas and killed. Mehamed somehow escaped death but the attack left him with serious injuries to his head and face. Mehamed's father had been a herdsman in Ethiopia, and his family moved about the countryside with their herd of sheep, goats, and chickens. Suddenly, all of the life that Mehamed had known was gone.
Al and Kitty Gomez of Peachtree City, Georgia, served as host family through the efforts of Children's Cross Connection, USA, an organization that provides medical services to children in underdeveloped nations. They watched as Mehamed underwent 10 surgeries to reconstruct his face. More are scheduled. They watched as he learned to speak English in less than six months although he had never had any formal schooling. They watched as he became an integral partner to their four other children. When the time was right they adopted Mehamed.
Mehamed Gomez is now a freshman at Landmark Christian High School. He will not talk about the attack on his first family. He does say that he misses them and the life that he once knew. It is running that has helped him move on with his life.
Mehamed Gomez is the Number Three runner on the Cross Country team. "It feels good to run; it gives me something else to think about. If I don't run, I wouldn't be using the talent God gave me."
The numerous surgeries have impacted Mehamed's training, but his coach feels that he will develop into a top-notch runner. "There is one aspect of American life I cannot understand," he said. "I cannot stand to watch more than 30 minutes of television. I enjoy the outdoors."
Frodo will watch the newspapers knowing that someday he will have an opportunity to watch as Landmark Christian visits one of the schools in the Shire. On that day Frodo will go and cheer for a young man with wings upon his feet, and if truly fortunate, perhaps have the opportunity to shake the hand of Mr. Al Gomez.
Frodo believes that he will share the sidelines with a herdsman.