Two Sundays ago I wrote about the Vote For Love campaign I’ve been running ahead of TT’s 2020 general election. What started as a simple red-on-white Vote For Love sign on the front of my bike became two red-on-white hand-painted campaign posters on either back window of my vehicle.
Noticing the signage, some people on the road would call out things like: “Vote for Loooooove” or “Ah votiiiiiiiiiin’!”...sometimes accompanied by bodily motions, like the man standing roadside, victoriously pumping his fists in the air and calling out “Yes! Vote fuh Love gyaaal!”
I’ve been having many enriching interactions with members of the public through this campaign.
Some of my “campaign promises,”small but noticeable signs painted in red all caps on white wood, were strategically placed at certain vending points.
Love is Kind was placed at the fruit stall across the road from D’ Colosseum. My hope was that customers would chat with the vendor about Love being kind...or Love in general.
Let Love Lead was placed at Moesha’s doubles stall, Canaan. I gave Moesha $5 so that the first person to discuss the sign with her in a meaningful way would receive a complimentary doubles.
Spread Love was placed at the street entrance to Shore Things Café...and so on.
My aim was to get people demonstrating and discussing Love in different places and for the spirit of Love to pick up steam on its campaign trail.
When random strangers expressed interest in the campaign, I gave them wooden campaign signs to display where others could see them and be inspired. On one occasion I gave campaign signs to two men. One man received “Power of Love.”
“I appreciate this,” he told me, holding the compact block of wood in a meaningful way.
Some days later a friend Whatsapped me a photo of that “Power of Love” sign front and centre’ in the interior of a private taxi he had hired. As fate would have it, the taxi was owned and driven by the man who had received that particular campaign promise. He had cherished it sufficiently to display it prominently for his passengers.
“The seeds are growing,” my friend texted.
“We like yuh sign. You have it right! VOTE FOR LOVE. Love ent go empty de Treasury,” the white-haired, wheelchair-bound man outside the grocery told me one night.
On subsequent days, whenever he saw me, we would chat about Love, life and his favourite topic, God.
Many may pass him by as “a homeless man.” I myself had never fully stopped and taken time to speak with him – until Love led me to.
His name is Simon. Diabetes has crippled him. He has lost his right big toe, has a big ankle sore, sleeps on an old mattress in an unfinished building and relies on pennies from the public to sometimes buy soup at the corner. Sometimes a good Samaritan will bring him a meal.
Many may see him as having nothing, but his deep inner “God will provide” peace strikes me as treasure. He tells me about his current life, smiling, laughing despite obvious challenges.
“You know what I like about you?” I say. “You’re so grateful, where anyone else would be miserable, complaining and begging.”
“If you ent have Love you ent have nothing. God is Love. He always sends someone.”
I head home and type up that day’s Love Campaign report on social media, telling Love’s followers about Simon and how it would be great if we could get him a new wheelchair,at least.
Within minutes there are offers of help. The next morning someone offers a second-hand wheelchair, but one wheel needs fixing. Someone else writes about the possibility of a brand-new wheelchair. The options are increasing. One will come to fruition.
Tomorrow TT heads to the polls...but many of us have already voted, inwardly, choosing Love to lead our way.
Do not depend on political promises and parties to “make TT better,”
When we ordinary citizens come together in Love to uplift each other’s lives, simply because we can, great things are possible.