Nuer community and Gaajaak in particular have lost a very important young man, John Gach Gatkuoth, in Australia. I first met John Gach in 1997, together with late Lam Gatluak Lueng, after joining college in Addis Ababa.
At that time, life was so hard in Addis Ababa as very few people from Gambella resided in Addis. I did not know Gach before but my best friend, late Lam Gatluak, introduced him to me. Lam was a colleague at Mizan Tefferi High School which we both attended in 1993 and enrolled in grade 9 in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR).
But Lam came and continued with his high school in Addis Ababa where he was living with Gach after his scholarship was terminated in Mizan. They both rented a house in the suburb of Arat-kilo to pursue their high school ambitions and dreams while at the same time were engaged in sporting activities.
Lam was doing martial arts while Gach was playing basketball. Gach competed in a lot of tournaments. He was very talented giant and a tall young man who represented Ethiopia in Basket ball in numerous occasions. The recent memory I had was when Ethiopian National Basketball team went to Egypt where Gach played a pivitol role in winning the series.
Gach’s club won a lot of trophies in Addis Ababa City Township in basketball competions. Lam on his part was one of the best martial art athletes in Wushu Kungfu which was then termed as Lilianji Wushu Kungfu. Lam won many fighting competitions.
Whenever, I come to Arat Kilo on the weekend from collegein Paulos, I go and watched these gentlemen in their various sporing venues. We had good time together as we go to cafe and snack and have cup of tea, cakes or milk with coffee (wetheth be buna).
Gach was very humble and so was late Lam. They talked to me with smile and do their best to make sure you are not disapointed while having time with them.
When the sun set in the evening, they provides me with fare to pay to the taxi which takes me back to the college dormitary where I lived. These gentlemen always encourages me throughout my study life in Paulos to work hard and complete my study.
After finishing college in 2000, I went back home to Gambella and started helping people. I was employed in Gambella Regional Hospital. John Gach did not come to Gambella but left for Australia.
Late Lam Lueng finished his high school in Addis Ababa and joined Gambella Teachers, Education and Health Sceince College. Upon graduation, he got a job in Lare Wereda as a Teacher and taught for few years before he passed away.
These are some of the memories I had for these two gentlemen.
Family of John Gach Gatkuoth Ruon , around the world or wherever they might be , I may not know what triggered John’s death but I know something which is that we have lost a very important good person. Let us keep strongth. During this period, I have this scripture for you 2 Corinthian 1: 3 – 4 ,
blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comfort us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
May his dear soul Rest In Peace
This peace of message was prepared and written by Wal Bichiok Wur, a dear friend of Late John Gach Gatkuoth