I attended Upstate's white coat ceremony for incoming students last night to support my friend Marino Mauro. Marino is a graduate of LeMoyne College and studying to be a Physician's Assistant after his four years of undergraduate study and continuing education at Syracuse University. Standing outside an auditorium that was donated by a family who is seven years in the medical field, I began to think about how historical it was to be with Marino last night - the only Sudanese American in this particular graduating class (other individuals from international backgrounds were also present).
From the wars in Sudan, the orphaned childhood, and the belief in the American system, Marino is putting in 20 hour days to fulfill his goal. Attending the ceremony with Lino Ariloka (who was featured in Ping Chong's Tales of the Salt City), I felt a sense of karmic pride. He introduced us as his Syracuse family which redefines the global reality of the 21st century and success in the United States.
I am proud of Marino for his hard work and the efforts it will continue to take for him to accomplish the next step of his life. Buying him a copy of David Egger's What is the What is a small token of appreciation for celebrating his historical place on this earth. As Lino and I remarked on the drive home, "The Gods Must Be Crazy."