Chase has lived in Houston all but the first few months of his life. His birth certificate lists Hannibal, Missouri is his birth place, but he proudly claims to be a native Houstonian. His parents, younger brother and sister are native Houstonians. Chase has dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins and most of them live in Houston, so his family roots run deep in the Bayou City. After attending Lamar High School, Chase enrolled in Houston Community College and is now at U. H. Chase says his goal is an engineering degree, but he admits, writing is one of his passions. He began writing recreationally at the age of 11…mostly musical lyrics and poetry. Chase says he and his family are big fans of This I Believe so he admits it’s a thrill to record his essay for the radio series.
Here’s Chase Foreman with his essay for KUHF’s This I Believe.
“I work with a friend named James. We serve fine wine and cuisine to the doctors of the Texas Medical Center. My friend James is black with a heavy African accent. He has a cheery disposition and is constantly cutting up in the banquet halls as we lug tables and chairs. James and I have nothing in common except our friendship. When asked about his homeland, James talked about his wife and children who remain in Africa while he works here in the U.S. James attended Houston Community College and works this job, sending most of his money back home to his family. James is exceptionally bright and genuinely humble.
One day, James told me the story of his country’s hero, a native of Sudan who received his doctorate in America and returned home to assist the Sudanese people. They were being oppressed in a political takeover. The hero opposed the takeover and eventually died in a plane crash. Many thought it was an assassination. James told this story with a solemn tone, his eyes gleaming with pride. I listened intently as we polished the glassware.
One night I watched a documentary about the so-called “lost boys” of Sudan. They lost their families in a civil war and were run out of their own country because they were believed to pose a threat to the takeover. Their fathers were murdered. Their sisters and mothers were raped, killed, or assimilated into the enemy culture. The boys had no home and shared overcrowded campsites in Ethiopia, in the truest of poverty. After enough attention was brought to the travesty, programs were initiated to bring these young men to America. James was one of them.
When I came to work the next day I looked for James. When I saw him I called out…”James! Hey…I know about you man!” “You’re a lost boy! I learned about you and your brothers.” “Yes,” he gleamed. “Yes, me and my brothers…We are lost boys.”
The respect I feel for that humble man is hard to express. I grew up with everything I needed. James grew up escaping genocide. I believe in appreciating a friendship.
There we were…two men with little in common except a friendship…polishing glassware at the top of a decorative waterfall overlooking a golden city.”