How I Met a VIP
Around that time in 2011 when I was preparing to run for a political seat in the forthcoming Kenya's General Elections, I tried to solicit for support in a Facebook comment from Hon. Peter Kenneth who was gunning for the presidency. A friend of mine named Ken Ogutu happened to view my Facebook comment which made him rebuke me for openly asking for support from Hon. Kenneth. He thought that very ungentlemanly.
Then Ken Ogutu went ahead to share with me the email address of Hon. Kenneth so that I could contact him privately for whatever help I needed. He instructed me not to share the address with anyone, "even under torture".
Soon afterwords, I contacted Hon. Kenneth through that address in an email in which I mentioned to him I was preparing to run for a political seat. And to my delight, he replied to the email and invited me to meet him in his office on a day whose date I never recorded.
All I remember was that on the eve of that day I was to meet him, I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of meeting Hon. Kenneth who was emerging as one of the leading politicians in the country. I phoned my friend Michael Njeru to inform him of my meeting with Hon. Kenneth the following day but he didn't seem to share in my excitement because my calls and messages to him went unanswered.
When the day I was to meet Hon. Kenneth finally dawned, I found myself feeling anxious. And that morning before I departed to his office and perhaps to allay my anxiety, I entered into a cyber cafe, got into Youtube and listened to the wonderful old hymn Pass Me Not, O Gentle Saviour whose refrain goes as follows:
I arrived at the building that housed Hon. Kenneth's office before noon, feeling as nervous and timid as a mouse. After I was cleared by security agents, I was asked to wait for Hon. Kenneth in a waiting room where I found myself with another elderly and poor-looking man who was also scheduled to see him.
Saviour, Saviour, hear my humble cry;
While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.
Being forced to wait for Hon. Kenneth only served to heighten my anxiety. It must have also bored me because I constantly felt like dozing in the sofa I was seated on - something I feared would put me at loggerheads with the security agents.
Hon. Kenneth did finally arrive to his office. And after a while, my turn to see him reached. Well, my meeting with him didn't turn out to be as magical and monumental as I had anticipated. On the contrary, it turned out to be a normal chat: the kind that people have in a pub.
He asked me why I had chosen to get into politics, a question whose answer I can't remember what I gave. He also asked me whether I knew Peter Munene; for that question, I remember answering "yes" because I have known Peter Munene since I was a boy. Later on, I learnt that Hon. Kenneth had visited my home-town to establish connections where he met Peter Munene who was then serving as the councillor of my home-area.
Before we ended our normal chat which turned out to be short, Hon. Kenneth advised me to visit churches in my campaigns.
My dear reader, that's how I met a VIP. And that's all I am saying for today. Adieu!
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How to Win Friends
The other day, I was leafing through an old Reader's Digest magazine when I came across a brilliant article that said having friends is the secret to a long and happy life. Friends, the article said, help us cope with the difficulties of life. They also boost our immune system.
Because friends are that valuable, I decided to write and share with you, my dear reader, two lessons I learnt on how to make friends from Dale Carnegie's evergreen How to Win Friends & Influence People. Only two lessons.
The first is to remember people's names because a person's moniker is the sweetest word to him. I can testify that is very true from a personal experience I had when I was Fourth Form at Starehe Boys' Centre. Well, I was playing football with my schoolmates when a popular, handsome chap of Indian descent named Michael Mahinda called out my name "Thuita." I felt so honoured to be known by a person of Mahinda's calibre. (By the way, Michael Mahinda was killed in a motorbike accident early on in this decade. May his soul rest in peace.)
So it is true that if you want to make friends, try to remember the names of people you'd like to win as buddies.
Some years back, I invented a trick of making a name stick in my memory when I first meet a person who is new to me. That's by having a short discussion about the person's name. For example, if someone tells me he is called Owen, I reply, "Oh, so you are Owen? You remind me of an England striker who was called Michael Owen." Such kind of chatter, as unnecessary as it might seem to be, has helped me to remember the names of people when they first introduce themselves to me.
The second lesson I learnt on how to win friends from Dale Carnegie's book is to compliment people whenever they say or do something excellent. And that actually works because I know from personal experience how great it feels to be complimented for a job well done. Like my happiest moments these days is when I post a story in this lovely blog of mine and someone out there appreciates it.
In a nutshell, if you want to win friends - remember people's names and compliment them for a job well done. Adieu!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on how to win friends, you might also enjoy another one I wrote on "Bidding a Friend Farewell." Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.