Although trusting your own inner knowing is vital, we should also be mindful of the fact that we are interactive creatures with varied experience of each other. Unless you have a real Jekyll and Hyde personality, other people’s perception of you will be largely similar. So, if one person is telling you that you are arrogant and uncaring, while everyone else sees you are affable, kind, patient and tolerant, then it’s most likely that this one person is bringing their own issues into what they are saying about you.
For me, encounters and interactions with others are ripe learning opportunities for growth and perfect understanding of issues. My encounter with Mr. Mahama this afternoon confirmed this assertion. What you perceive to be true and what is actually true aren’t always the same and Mr. Mahama confirmed this assertion during my encounter with him. Let me use this opportunity to once again wish my brother John Domelo and the wife a happy marriage. I attended the wedding ceremony with some Nigerian friends. On the main issue:
We lived close to Mr. Mahama’s father’s residence in Tesano. My brother Kofi (Sparo) was a friend to the Mahama family. Kofi was always with Alfred one of Mr. Mahama’s siblings. His siblings were very open and easy to approach. Through Kofi, I had the opportunity of chatting with Mr. Alfred and the other siblings on many occasions. Mr. John Mahama was the calm type very reserved. Perception, they say is the path to truth and lies. I formed a perception about him because of how he carried himself around. I know If he reads this piece and my previous perception of him, it will sound alien to him and will probably find himself wondering where on earth they were coming from. Kofi always rubbished that perception he always said me John, is the most approachable of all his siblings. He told me how he will singularly cook for all of them and the jokes he cracked. Ernest, my father’s mechanic also said same about Mr. John Mahama.
The family left their father’s place to different locations. Kofi later joined Uncle Alfred. When I heard that Mr. Mahama had been made Prof Mills’s running mate, I called Kofi to find out from him how this cool and reserved looking man was going to execute the job assigned him. Kofi narrated his political exploits to be but his narratives couldn’t convince me enough. I had moved to Kenya so was not much abreast with happenings in the country. I knew he was an MP but I saw his new position as too complex a space to occupy based on my long-held perception of him.
My next opportunity of meeting him was in New York when he attended the Sustainable Development Goals summit. I attended the programme as one of the reps of ‘ AFRICA REDEFINED’, an NGO based in Nairobi Kenya. That was Mr Mahama addressing me and others in that huge auditorium. I wished I had pictures with him to show to my Kenyan friends. How to narrate our days in Tesano to them was a difficult task because of the position I took about the man. Will this man recognize me when I approach him after the programme? Should I mention the name ‘Sparo’ to him to see if can recollect the Tesano Days? Those were the questions I was asking myself sitting with my Kenyan friends. Mayzel, who was part of our delegation, suggested that we interview Mr. Mahama and the Norwegian Prime Minister after the event. I quickly reacted by supporting her suggestion. As if by divine grace, myself and May, were asked to execute the assignment. We were made to suspend our interview to the next day.
I knew that he has the potential for great public speaking and he confirmed that when he spoke at the place. I prepared adequately for that. Something unusual happened. The old perception misled my thoughts and actions. I was going to interview a man so stern, unfriendly and emotionless. That unfair perception made me not want to be that nice to the man I had lived in the same vicinity with. When he saw me, he shouted Bridget, Bridget, wow!wow! I never knew the man I have crucified in my heart knew man name and will receive with me the way he did. He jumped from his seat, embraced me and maybe, forgot that his security personnel was around. He started talking about Tesano. Mayzel looked surprised and watched the two of us in shock. The interview turned into a family conversation and my partner Mayzel took advantage of the opportunity to ask him few questions for her husband’s magazine (The Window).
I asked him why the trainees loan scheme instead of the allowance. I asked him that particular question because of how the allowance scheme supported me during my days. My father lost so much as a result of a case between him and Limbrest. It was my allowance that supported me in school. He quickly responded by saying Bridget, if it is about promises and assurances, I am the President, I can give all the promises on earth just to win votes but all will come back to hunt you after you’ve been elected. I know the strength of the economy and know these promises could damage the economy. It is tough decision to take but we must also take into consideration the economy and the future of our country. Mayzel became an apostle of Mr. Mahama after that statement and in most of his articles in his husband’s magazine, she quotes this statement when admonishing Kenyan Politicians.
The second encounter was our meeting today. I did not expect Mr. Mahama at the place. When he arrived, the whole place got jammed with all the actors and actresses from Ghana and other West African states rushing to catch a glimpse of Mr. Mahama. I think if want to get a better understanding of yourself, you could try asking someone you trust to videotape you on their phone when you’re out in public. The cameras and phones were all on the man and I stood totally surprised at what I was witnessing. Today was another reminder that what you think is true may just be an alternate reality that you made up. Jim Brown said; if you can’t accept me because of some false reality that you created about me, that is your fault, not mine. This was the message I heard within as I watched the man I have disliked for so many years being welcomed by hundreds of people who attended the wedding ceremony. I walked confidently to him and it was a scene to watch.
In my opinion based on the two encounters with Mr. Mahama, when you jump the gun and make the assumption that your perceptions are correct, without asking if what you believe as true is actually true, you’re traveling a dangerous road where people’s name could be tarnished and their reputation corrupted.