This morning, for a split second I forgot, the alarm went off and I thought to myself, is it that time already. Then a wave of sadness hit me, last night I was informed that one of my dear and respected colleagues is sick, like really sick and I just feel, and I just don’t know what to say, but I know that he is not the type who would want anyone to feel sorry for him, so today I pay tribute to my dear Mr R.
It was Mr R who encouraged me to start up this blog after reading my comments on facebook, one day he sent me a private email telling me how he finds some of my posts amusing and I should start writing, he also on the odd occasion reply to one of my status updates with a quaint comment which would always make me smile. When I started writing these blogs at least I knew that if I only had one hit for the day, it was likely to be Mr R.
Our first encounter was back in 2007 when I we were both working for a prosecuting agency, I had been ‘asked’ (told) to do a job swap with a lady in another department as she wanted to get operational experience and I was told that it would be a good developmental experience if I was moved to this other department. So I was moved from a place where I loved the job and loved the people, to what I felt was punishment. I had always perceived the people in this other department as snobs, and that this was my punishment because my head of department didn’t like me.
On my first day at my new position I was seated next to Mr R. Our job was to go through legal letters requesting assitance from overseas authorities with a case, checking that it makes sense before passing it to the lawyers for their opinion before the requessting lawyer could send it out. Already pissed off, I sat down when this man looks at me and says to me ‘just so we are clear, I don’t do small talk’ (or something like that). He then went through his lists of what he does and doesn’t like, when he completed his list, he smiled and then got back to work. My first thought was ‘I don’t really want to talk to you either, in fact I don’t even want to be here so that’s totally fine by me’.
So I would come in, get to work, wouldn’t really talk to anyone if I am honest, just got on with it, when I had done my 7 hours, I went on my merry way. I don’t know when the turning point was, but after some time, the gentleman who did not want small talk actually started having conversations with me. I don’t know if it was the fact that I respected his wishes, or that I didn’t talk much (apart from the sarcastic banter between me and one of the lawyers), or that I didn’t get myself involved in the office gossip like my predecessor, but he started to open up to me (he didn’t tell me family secrets or braid each others hair but just had conversations about life, careers and stuff like that). He was very supportive when I got the chance to work for the Attorney General’s office here in Ghana and again when I made the decision to come down for good.
Our working relationship ended when I moved around the corner to do another job and he eventually took on another role within the organization.
I have to say, I was not fond of my new department, which was made worse when there was a change in management. My perception of the people though did change (apart from a few, but you will never get on with everyone in life). What I loved about Mr R was the way he is a stickler for grammer. One thing he cannot endure poor use of the English language (for which I apologize when you read my blogs), especially coming from lawyers he felt they should know better. So make the necessary changes to the letters plus correct their English. The lawyers in turn would complain that he had totally changed their letter, I found it so amusing when people would complain to me, like what was I supposed to do or say, he made the letter sound better in any event.
I also loved his dry sense of humour, his is a lot like mine, he doesn’t talk much but in one sentence you could laugh for the whole day. He also has a good heart, he doesn’t take nonsense mind you, he is not the cuddly would hug if you cry type but if you want genuine advice on a serious topic (it has to be worth his while to listen or you shouldn’t bother), he is there, he will take a deep breath, pause to think and then slowly give you his response.
So today my dear facebook friend, my respected colleague and a true gentleman. I pay tribute to you. I hope you manage to catch my blogs sometimes, I hope that most of what I’m writing is up to standard. All I can say is Thank You for allowing me to be a small part of your life if it was only for a short while, but its about the quality not the quantity. God bless.