Eight years ago today, 74 people were killed in a series of terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda. One of those killed was an American named Nate Henn. He was our friend.
Before his death, Nate had dedicated almost two years of his life as a volunteer roadie with Invisible Children. In the spring of 2010, Nate led a small team of Americans and Ugandans crossing the United States together in a 15-passenger van to share the stories of those affected by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) across northern Ugandan and central Africa. When their trip came to an end, Nate and his fellow roadies said their goodbyes and returned to their respective lives. As American roadies said goodbye to their Ugandan teammates, Nate promised to make the trip to Uganda to visit them.
Just a few months later, Nate made good on that promise and traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to be reunited with the friends who had become his family half a world away. During that trip, while standing beside his friends on a rugby field to watch the final game of the 2010 Men’s World Cup, Nate was killed by the blast of a bomb.
Like all of us in the Invisible Children family, Nate’s friend and roadie teammate, Tyler Dunning, was shocked and devastated by the death of his friend. As he grieved and tried to cope with Nate’s death, he came to find a guide in nature; more specifically, through another journey across America by way of all 59 national parks. For the next few years, Tyler made his way around the U.S., collecting stories from trails and campsites and writing what ultimately became his memoir, A Field Guide to Losing Your Friends.
Last year, Tyler and his friend, Chad Clendenin (another Invisible Children alumnus), turned part of that story of healing into a short film by the same name, which they released at the 2017 Telluride Mountain Film Festival in Colorado.
Today, eight years after we lost Nate, the violence and injustice that took him from us continue to plague our world. Why it does, and how we cope with it, will be questions we’ll ask ourselves over and over again.
An equally important question we must ask ourselves is how to honor the friends and heroes who we’ve lost along the way. In the time we knew him, Nate taught us all that the only way to live is with courage, kindness, and a lot of laughter. So whether it’s through telling stories or helping families protect one another from violence, or exploring every single U.S. national park, we’ll continue to remember our friend and honor his legacy by following in his footsteps.
Purchase A Field Guide To Losing Your Friends, Tyler’s memoir and the inspiration for the film, here.
You can help us honor Nate’s legacy and continue supporting peace in central Africa by clicking here.