Hi, its been a while…! I hope you’re having fun in this thing called life? I am happy to be sharing another post titled “face value” which stems from a personal experience I had few months ago. Please wipe your eyes or glasses and enjoy the read ❤ …
In the second quarter of this year, I and my siblings traveled to Namibia for a mini getaway. I must say, Namibia is beautiful (a post for another maybe). Among the various activities we partook in, the boat cruise is one activity I cannot forget.
Early that morning after we ‘finally’ got on the boat and it began to sail, our tour guide, a Boer Namibian, began his lecture on various creatures we were going to see on our short adventure. Half an hour into trip, he began to speak about oysters and how few people in the country were beginning to make their mark with home grown oysters. Then he asked a question, “how many of you like oysters and how many of you do not like oysters?” I among a few other people put up our hands that we did not like oysters. Then he asked again, “how many of you have not eaten oysters?”. I and a fewer others raised our hands.
I know some of you reading this post may asked the same question he asked me next but anyways, keep reading.
So this guy initially wanted to pick on the white folks sitting in-front of him, but then he stopped and instead picked me and asked, “how do you know you don’t like Oysters if you haven’t eaten it?” I was not expecting the question to be honest and I doubt many of us were. But I somewhat saw the message he was trying to convey which I did not entirely agree with since it was in the context of oysters. The message was that our conclusions are not always right especially when we make them on face value judgment or shallow misgivings.
I do think that there are moments when face value judgement is enough and in the case of oysters, face judgment was enough for me. I felt like responding to him because I didn’t want to be made a fool of seeing that some of the white dutch folks in the boat had this condescending attitude towards us ever since we got into the boat. Did I mention that I and my sibling were the only black people on the ride except for the guys tending to the ship? Sadly, I didn’t follow through with explaining myself since the lecture had carried on.
However, I was going to ask him, “Sir, do you like shit (feces)? Have you eaten shit? How do you know you don’t like shit if you haven’t eaten it?; sir, do you like cockroaches? Have you eaten cockroaches? how do you know you don’t like cockroaches if you haven’t eaten cockroaches?” sir, do you like maggot? have you eaten maggot? How do you know you don’t like maggot if you haven’t eaten maggot? Believe me, my head was popping but I couldn’t let out what was on my mind else i’ll seem vindictive. Firstly, Oysters smells real bad plus it is usually served raw which makes it unappetizing. To me, eating oysters is like an extreme sport, an endurance thing which I have no patience for. So no thank you, I’ll pass!. But of course, there is room for me to change my mind in future only if someone prepares it differently from what I usually see.
Let me pause the story a bit…
Going back to the lesson that our conclusions are not always right especially when we make them on face value judgment or shallow misgivings, I find this really true in our day to day meetings or interactions with people and in various situations we may find ourselves (including new food, yes. but it is trivial in this case since it bears little consequences). I often say this, “who we truly are is not written on our foreheads”. This is why I agree with the saying that goes like, do not judge a book by its cover. Many have lost potential friendships, marriages and opportunities all because they judged too quickly and too harshly especially when what they saw wasn’t as pleasant as what they expected. Many have equally fallen into deep financial loses, abusive relationship and many more through face value judgments. Therefore, we should ensure that the information we have about a person, a place or a situation is enough to make sound judgment or conclusion.
Back to the story…
Few minutes before we headed back to shore, the entire crew was asked to come together for entertainment. I could not help but notice how I and my siblings were stared at. A lady even made sure that her little daughter stayed away from us. But we acted as though we paid no attention to them. Until an elderly lady began to chat with my sister, then I and my younger brother. I could tell that those who paid attention to the conversation that was not their business in the first place had a changed of heart towards us. I found it funny believe me. I could not help but wonder what they thought about I and my siblings initially as we got into the boat and what about the conversation we had made them have a change of heart. Was it because they got to see that we were educated? or was it because we could interact effortlessly with people? or because they saw that we were not intimidated or shaken by anyone whose aim was to intimidate? or that we were lover of adventures and good life like anyone? I wondered what perception they had of black people in Namibia or in Africa that our presence defiled.
You may ask “how did you know they had a changed of mind/ heart toward us?” Well, they began to warm up to us. No, they did not all start talking to us, though some did, but I could tell that the subtle hostile air had mellowed down. That “on your guard/defense” feeling some people had was no more. They were willing to be friendlier. It was as if the elderly lady had open their mind to the possibility that we could be so much more than whatever they thought of us. They judged us at face value. Not that it mattered to me because I found the whole thing funny and childish. More so, I was not looking for or yawning for acceptance. So far no one trampled on my right as a person or that of my siblings, I was fine. But reflecting back, I am always reminded to keep an open mind.