This evening is a happy milestone--Iain and I are going to a party to celebrate Ahror's successes, and his beginning a new life in Los Angeles.
Ahror Rahmedov is a young Uzbek man who has overcome a number of obstacles to resume his life, after an accident that derailed his medical training (this newspaper article summarizes his story).
I met him in my capacity as a massage practitioner, working with him before and after some of his reconstructive surgeries. It was clear even then that after his immediate need for the surgeries had been taken care of, that he needed something to go back to, although finishing medical school was obviously out of the question.
Ahror has a very quick mind, and a talent for math and physics, and he had just gotten interested in using computers to stay in touch by email with people all over the world. So we thought that maybe we could combine those skills with his previous medical training, and he could make a new career in medical informatics. I began teaching him Visual Basic, but he quickly surpassed what I had to teach him because he picked it up so quickly--for example, I got one of those little kids' ring toss games to illustrate the Tower of Hanoi, in order to teach him the concept of recursion. I thought that since it was a brand-new idea to him, he would get it after a couple of reiterations, but he sat back looking at it, thought about it for a moment, and then got it on the first try. That was typical of our sessions, and at that rate, he quickly went past what I was able to teach him.
Now he has completed his degree in Computer Science and Engineering, and will graduate from the University of Washington on June 11th. He has been accepted to UCLA for graduate study, and will be a research assistant there.
Ahror has accomplished a lot, and we expect a great future from him.