When I began my origami business
in 2011, I dared to approach established people to seek opportunities to work
with them. I once approached the CEO of a design company and asked him if he
would be interested in the paper art. He agreed and asked me to see him the
following week. I was held up because of a huge project my organization was
conducting that week. I wasn’t able to see him. However, the following week, I
popped into his office to explain myself and to apologize for not communicating.
The reception was a shock. As I was ushered into his office by one of his
workers, he stood up and addressed me at the entrance.
“Please don’t waste my time,
okay?” he began.
“You’re not serious with your
life. I don’t waste my time with people who are not serious. Go get serious
with your life and come back.”
He might as well have slapped me
in the face. I knew I had made a mistake but it felt like I had masterminded
9/11. I tried to negotiate.
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it last
week. We had the Strategic plan meeting and…”
“I don’t want to hear you
excuses,” he interrupted. “Listen to me young man. I am a serious business man
and I work with serious individuals. I don’t have time to waste with you. Now
you’re wasting my time. Get out of my office!”
He laughed. He was considering? No, he was mocking me.
He stretched his hand to the door
handle and repeated. “Get out!”
The origami animals in my little
box looked at me in shame. I had let them down. I had let myself down. The man
had taken me apart, humiliated me beyond recognition and sent me scampering
away with my tail in-between my legs. I was deflated. There was more life in an
Egyptian mummy. I wasted away that afternoon still stunned by the ordeal.
2012. It was a new year and I had
new spirits. I had begun working in a new organization and the origami had
grown so much thanks to Ms. Miriam Mukasa and Mr. William Gilbert of AfricaTalentBank
. I had
invented a few designs of my own and boasted to have graced big events in
Nairobi. I had forgotten the past ordeal until I received a phone-call from my
former work-place. It was Mercy, the secretary. I was glad to hear from her. I
had a cheque to pick from her. That was not the reason she called though. She
let me know that someone had been looking for me. The CEO of a design company.
The same design company. The same CEO. The man who had ripped my heart to
shreds and left me for dead. What did he want? I wanted nothing to do with him.
Not so for him however. He asked me to call him. I texted him instead. He
What ensued was the most awkward
phone conversation in my life. The man began by noting how he had not seen me
around the premises this year. He went on to ask how I was doing and if I liked
my new job. I answered him, very skeptical. What did he want? The bush was now
without leaves. He had beat about it so much that it cried for him to get to
the point. He did.
“The last time we met, you were
to bring me some origami designs but you didn’t come.”
His words robbed the air out of my
lungs. The nerve! I craved to rant! Was he serious? He was either a goldfish or
he really needed my help. I concluded that he was a goldfish that really needed
my help. And help he needed. The man had received a business opportunity that
would rake in huge money for his company. A new organization wanted their
company logo designed. They didn’t want it in computer design. They didn’t want
it in sketch. They didn’t want it in sculpture. They wanted it in origami. Origami!
The man had searched all Nairobi for any origami artist but the one he had
chased away. He failed. Skillpages, Facebook and Google showed only one
established origami artist in Kenya. He needed my help. He was calling to ask
What goes around comes around.
Here was the opportunity to give the man a full dosage of what he deserved. I
could have begun an eternal verbal onslaught and he would have taken it in. I could
have declined and cost him lots of money. I could have contacted the client
company and designed the logo for them and gotten the money instead. But I
didn’t. He had taken my pride. He had taken my ego. But I wouldn’t let him take
my dignity. I agreed to help him. I met him the next day and to his great
demise or surprise I had the design the company needed. He drowned in his
shame. The same office that had me a victim ushered me in a victor. I won his
respect and I too learned an important lesson. The cloth that you cast away today,
may be the garment that will keep you warm tomorrow.
Romans 12:18 "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (NIV)