INMAN PARK — Buyoya Paul Biswalo was the type of person everyone wanted to be around and with whom they felt at ease.
In the restaurant business, those would prove to be two traits that made Biswalo, 32, a favorite waiter at some of Atlanta's most popular eateries, including Wisteria.
More importantly, they were qualities that made others who knew the Tanzanian national eager to count him among those they called "friend."
Biswalo, who was scheduled to graduate from Georgia State University next semester, drowned Aug. 6 in the Chattahoochee River during a rafting outing with friends.
Jason Hill, who owns Folk Art and Wisteria, is hosting an Aug. 24 fundraiser for Biswalo's family, which is trying to raise $25,000 to cover his funeral expenses and travel costs to bring his mother and brother to the United States from Tanzania.
"He was just the guy that you wanted to be around," told East Atlanta Patch. "He was the guy you wanted to have a beer with."
One hundred percent of the proceeds — $40 per person — will go toward the fund, which has already raised more than $19,800 for the cause.
"He was a really good guy," Hill said.
A father with two sons of his own, Hill said he was moved to do the fundraiser not only because Biswalo was a friend, but because as a parent, he could identify with his mother, who sacrificed a lot so her son could build a life in America.
"I have two boys of my own; I can't imagine losing a son," Hill said.
"The nice thing about Paul is he lived life to the fullest every day; he made everyone smile."
IF YOU GO: Folk Art — 465 North Highland Ave., Atlanta — will be serving appetizers and drinks from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 24 for the Biswalo funeral fundraiser - $40 per person - please come by and please share with your friends.
The funeral service to celebrate the life of Buyoya Paul Biswalo will be held Saturday, Aug. 24 2013 at 1 p.m. at Murray Brothers Funeral Home, 1199 Utoy Springs Roadd SW, Atlanta, followed by laying him to rest at Greenwood Cemetery, 1173 Cascade Circle SW, Atlanta.