On Saturday, June 13th you sent me a message to try a tourism quiz from zikoko, and very unlike me, I answered it and sent back immediately my score. We chatted briefly and I went back to work. That day was one of the busiest for me but it’s been a while we talked. On Sunday the following morning, I woke up pretty early and you had responded. I sent a message and you responded after a while. You got me updated on what’s been happening to you. You had a home accident and your leg was in a cast. I apologized for not reaching out often.
On Monday, June 15th, the whole world went bleak and black for me. I could not believe it. I was in the middle of project work in the office but I could not help it. My junior colleagues were helpless as they watched their boss weep like a baby. Why did you have to go now? I lost my friend and travel buddy on the 15th of June 2020, I was shaken and devastated. I thought about the past six months and I realized I had lost two friends. One was a colleague and friend and now my travel buddy. What took me apart was there was no picture of us together, as in I and my friends. There were pictures of us with other people but none of us together.
This actually startled me. It made me ponder on how I have been relating with my friends. I know I can be straight laced to a fault that some are surprised when I am joking or laughing with other people.
The following questions and thoughts came into mind:
Have I been true with my friends?
Why am I not so free with them?
What insecurities am I hiding or are we hiding from one another?
Why have I not talked about my faith with my friends? (Even though I am struggling with mine too)
I made the following decisions on my relationships with people I call friends. I will also like to throw it out their as a challenge to us all with our friends.
- Always take pictures with your friends at every opportunity you have to hang out. Create five minutes of selfie and goofy videos time.
- Post it with the hashtags : #DearFriend, #FriendshipProject #Goofyfriends
- Write a dear friend letter once a month to a dear friend
- Take your friends to lunch or breakfast or hangout once a month. Create that time
- Travel to a destination together once a year or more if you can afford it.
I have the memory of hanging out with my colleague a few weeks before she died. That was the only fun memory of no work mode that I have. I felt so sad. Now this one with my friend. There was not so much memories I can point to but there were moments I remember. Life is to be lived, lived well and create fun memories. My friend wanted to be a full time photographer but fear of insecurity and will he kick off immediately held him back. Fear of the unknown. Hmmm…
Here is my Dear Friend letter to Negedu (I always call him that. I recently realized that it is the surname and his first name is Idoko).
I got to know you on one of my wanderlust trips. I had advertised a trip and you were interested, that started the relationship of traveling for about four years.
You are quite adventurous and would never mind trying out new things, except visit a shrine. You were religious and superstitious like that (smile). When I go on a trip without you I get to fill you in and help plan your next one to the same place. We explored Enugu, Obudu, Owu waterfall, Osun State, exhibitions, and art markets together.
You introduced me to National Geographic proper. Your knowledge of geography and the love for it was infectious. Time spent with you was to answer curious questions and expand the mind around photography. You were the quiet wind around me while I was the fury. No matter how upset I get with your actions you always make sure it’s resolved. You grounded me with your calmness and maturity. Your jokes, excitements on discovering new places, joy, and smiles were so natural.
Thank you for always making time to try new things when I propose them to you. You made my journey fun because you always make sure you take pictures of me without my knowledge, while you will hand the camera over and say take my pictures. I shake my head and laugh, I have never met a photographer that loves to stand in front of the camera like you. You are always a ready model for pictures. Your calmness ad maturity with everyday challenges is quite astounding. It’s a pity we never got to visit the North properly together, the photography you wanted to do properly is just a dream. You were waiting for the right time to step out and do photography fully.
As Lara said, we will take the trips on your behalf. The 36 and 54 will be explored fully and I promise to make you proud of what we will achieve with our dream for the nation and the continent in the area of tourism. Your sojourn on this earth was cut short, but I know the angels will be glad to have one of the finest and patient photographers take their pictures in heaven.
Any little chance you have do not forget to give a shout out. Take care my dear friend.
Sun re o.