There are those who
believe in you from the very first meeting. Mikie was not a professor and never
had me as a regular student at Skidmore, but the man had such confidence in me
that often made me wonder. He would sometimes text to encourage me to stay on
the good path, and every now and then I quietly received a few bucks in the
mail as donation to the Jeneba Project Inc., with an accompanying apology that it
wasn’t a lot more. As a technician at Skidmore Media Services, he taught me
almost everything I know about new media—patiently repeating the information to
a novice who barely knew how to type.
Mikie was very proud of
his Ukrainian heritage and I remember the light in his eyes the first time I
agreed to attend a show by the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus with him. It was one
of the greatest times we had together. Mikie also loved nature and he drove me
to a few beautiful natural spots in upstate New York. I remember once standing
with him in front of a beautiful waterfall and hearing him comment that he wished
no one ever destroys it.
Mikie wrote me awhile
back to inform me that he had acquired a small property in the woods and he was
planning a reunion of his favourite Skidmore students there. “You would love
this place, Joe,” he said to me on the phone, “and feel free to visit whenever
you want.” He even volunteered to pick me up from Vermont.
The last time Mikie
texted me was to tell me that he loved me, and that the world was full of
corrupt public figures. Again, he made me promise to stay true to the cause and
remain genuine. The message made me happy, yet I remember feeling a little
eerie. I told another friend who was nearby that I hope Mikie was fine.
Life has taken me from
end to end since I left Sierra Leone and I have met several wonderful friends
along the way. Mikie was one of them. We never said goodbye, but I hope life
was kind to you in your last moments, my friend.
In your memory!
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