Please allow me to share my little tribute from my little corner of the world, Guyana, to a ‘big’ man who graced the ‘big’ world stage and did so successfully.
I met the late Kofi Annan in April, 2017 at a United Nations event in Geneva. I got close enough to ask him one question I have always wanted to ask five of my favourite people of which he was one. The others are: former President of the United States, Barack Obama, Pilot Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot that landed the aircraft in the Hudson River in January of 2009 and the other two are now deceased; Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou.
As I got close enough to Kofi Annan, I said ‘Mr. Annan, I have always wanted to asked you one question, how did you do it? How did you make it?’ He looked straight at me, then looked down at the floor and paused for a moment and then responded, ‘how did I make it, persistence…you have to be persistent! I guess he paused and looked at the floor because he understood that my question was loaded.
I have the photographs of that moment on the wall in my office and earlier in this year I was having a challenge and one of my colleagues in an attempt to convince me to take a certain course of action, looked at the photograph on the wall and said, ‘Audreyanna, remember what Kofi Annan said to you…you have to be persistent’. Those words were very powerful and I took my colleague’s advice and persevered.
I share this very personal story to make two points; one, my memory of Kofi Annan and the second, to share these very powerful words with every person who is experiencing both the opportunities and challenges or ebb and flow of this awesome journey called ‘life’. I hope that as they journey, they would remember Kofi Annan’s words to me…‘you have to be persistent’ …since that is the only way you will make it.
May his soul rest in peace!