The Mayor

On August 18 Bulgarian mineworkers and retired ones celebrate the Day of the Mineworker. On this date mineworkers have the chance to reunite with old friends and colleagues, sit together at large tables, listen to music, chat, eat and drink. The holiday is like a feast.

The man who had to arrange for this year’s holiday was the mayor of the village. I have lived in the village which was inhabited by approximately 1100 people almost all my life; I have also known the mayor since I was a kid. 1100 mightn’t seem enough people to bring about any problems; believe me, 1100 people can have a lethal effect on the mayor. This year the feast was attended by 260 people.

It took the mayor several days to organize every aspect of the holiday. The mayor had to find additional chairs and tables since there weren’t enough seats for all of the 260 mineworkers. More chairs and tables were fetched from two of the nearest villages with a truck. When the feast was over, I was called to offer some help; what I did was to load the chairs and tables which didn’t belong to my village on the truck, travel to one of the two nearby villages and unload them there. I volunteered for 2 hours till the job was done; at the end I was convinced that to be a politician is one of the toughest jobs in the world.

Firstly, I want to say that in politics you won’t achieve the results wanted if you act alone. A politician won’t survive unless he is supported by some organization or is part of a team that consists of reliable members. That’s why parties are; also, if teamwork is necessary for the success of an idea or project in sports or jobs, the most vital thing in politics is exactly teamwork mainly because a single person cannot be on more than one place at the same time.

That day the mayor was backed up by a team of volunteers. Even though the feast was over, he was busy giving instructions to many people and at the same time loading chairs on the truck. Before all was done, he couldn’t stand without holding a cigarette which indicated he was nervous. The mayor had lent his car to a friend of mine in order my friend to transport people from one place to another and ask for certain information. Even with the support of many volunteers the mayor was still eager to be on several places at the same time; he looked pensive while walking rapidly not realizing his physical restriction.

The second thing I would like to talk about is corruption. I know that many people, especially politicians willingly become corrupt when they do not care about their job and the people they are responsible for. Other people, I believe, are forced to become corrupt, though they mightn’t want to, because of the threats of some shadowy higher authorities.

Luckily, the mayor of my small village was neither corrupt, nor on the verge of becoming so even though he deserved a higher salary. The mayor had faith he could make the village a better place; he offered help to black and white without being prejudiced and earned their respect. The mayor had dedicated years of his life to solve problems, initiate projects and lead the village to prosperity; he feared being rejected by his family for he was kind of obsessed with his job.

The third thought that came up in my mind while I was a volunteer was the importance of showing a genuine interest in your job, proving you care about your job and aren’t going to disappoint the people you are supposed to help. For me, the mayor had proven all that and he deserved his position more than any other politician and wouldn’t lose the next elections.

To my eye, and supposedly to the eyes of many other people, the mayor didn’t appear a mayor at all, positively speaking. I mean one could hardly find the mayor in his office because the mayor was always among people; that day after the feast was over, for example, the mayor helped volunteers load and at the same time give instructions to other people. No one perceived the mayor as an authority in a suit abusing his position; the mayor himself, in contrast to his counterparts, didn’t feel superior because of the privileges he had acquired. The mayor I could refer to as Che, the leader of the Cuban Revolution in the 1950s, because Che was always near his people helping them harvest, for instance; whereas the mayor offered help whenever loading the truck was due. I learnt, as I said at the beginning of the paragraph, that when people show trust toward you, especially if they furnish you with certain privileges you have to meet all their expectations and prove you are the right man, because, truth is, if you playing superior and selfish, those who have provided you with something will easily take it back.

Once I asked the mayor in person if he was going to stand as a candidate for the next elections and he told me that he would because if he won the elections for the second time he would be fulfilled since that will indicate to him he had met the expectations of the inhabitants of the village and they respected him in turn. The second reason the mayor would put himself forward as a candidate again was because he had gained significant experience in the field of politics and would contribute even more to the improvement of the village in his second mandate. I believe the mayor won’t face any strong opposition.

The fourth lesson I learnt from the mayor of my village is a lesson everyone should know along with the three aforementioned ones. The mayor proved to me that sometimes it is important to turn as much of your, say, enemies as possible into true friends for the success of your job. Now I would like to say I perceived the mayor as both a leader and a “uniter”. He was a leader because he tried to give everyone a new lease of life and make the village prosperous. He was a “uniter” because he strengthened the bonds between his friends or supporters and their bonds with each other as well as he established strong bonds between his friends and his “non-friends” by turning his “non-friends” into supporters. I was amazed by the mayor and his social skills. He made his supporters gradually realize they should not have disagreements of any kind between one another; he told them he would consider everyone’s problems separately. He made his “non-supporters” gradually realize they should start supporting him because he was going to be the mayor for several years and it was in their interest to be involved in the community in some way or another. He told them: “Are you really going to wait for years till someone else takes my place? Why do you think we cannot work together and improve the quality of life in the village?” Thus, the mayor won the hearts and the minds of both his supporters and “non-supporters” and made groups of people befriend another groups. He has been taking more and more people under his wing; this time I would like to say the mayor reminded me of a scene from “Lost” when Jack tells the rest of the survivors of flight Oceanic 815: “If we cannot live together, [short pause], then we are gonna die alone.”

I dedicate this post to you, Father, because I stand in awe of you for your internal strength and inexhaustible desire to help people and provide for the village. No one will ever disagree with you that you accomplished more than any other mayor has done for the mere four years of duty. You endured so much stress and sleepless nights that you doubtlessly deserve everyone’s respect and honor as well as a little rest for your willingness to risk you health and well-being for the sake of the good of the others. Father, I am proud to be your son and think the village must thank God it has you; be saved from yourself and mind that Heaven awaits you.

Do not ever worry if you work isn’t done…

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