Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: First (as in original) (01/10/05)
I was a senior non-commissioned officer with two wars under my belt, so I felt immune to all the squalor and perversity that Seoul, Korea had to offer. That was until that day when I was walking along a street in Eitaewan near 8th Army Headquarters, and I felt a grubby cold hand snuggle into mine, when I looked down there was the filthiest little five year old I had ever seen, but with the soulful eyes of a fawn caught in a trap. He was emaciated and almost without clothes. He didn't say a word until I asked his name, and he understood enough to reply” Kim”, now most people in Korea are Kims, that's like Smith or Jones in the states. I was touched enough to ask if he was hungry, he just nodded his head.
In Seoul, at that time, there were food carts selling kimchi, rice, dried fish on almost every block, so I took Kim to one of the carts and filled him up on their specialties - soup, kimchi, rice and dried fish. He ate like he never had food before, but even then he couldn't eat much, I imagine his stomach had shrunk too much. I paid the vendor and was on my way, or so I thought, until that grubby hand grabbed mine again. I tried to push him away and told him to go home, but that fist was still tight to my hand.
I was within a short block to my compound at Seoul Area Command, so I brought Kim with me. My idea was to get the “house-boy” to get him a bath and some clean clothes and take him home. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Choi, the house-boy took Kim in tow and got him cleaned up with some clothes, God knows where, but I got the bill. Choi ask about with the police and his other sources and he couldn’t find any information about young Kim or a family.
Kim stayed with me and as days grew into months and my rotation date was nearing I had to do something, by this time Kim’s English was almost as good as mine, and that little hand, not so grubby now, but still fast attached to mine. I contacted the local American Embassy office and they used their resources to investigate the lost little Kim. I learned he was an abandoned child when his parents were sent to North Korea with the retreating North Korean Army. I inquired about adopting Kim, but being a single soldier the chances were slim. I pulled some strings with my senator and things got done. We came home as father and son, but mostly as good buddies.
As I stand here today at commencement exercises, and look back It was all worth while, as Reverend Pak Yun Kim graduates with his class at Southern Methodist University.
I hope that Rev. Kim can relearn Korean as fast as he learned English as his plans are to return to Korea and work among his people as a servant of Christ..
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