Pale Sekondri School. We had to wake up on time. That was very important. A minute late, your entire day is cloudy, with high chances of punishment. We woke up early to do silly things they called ‘manual work.’ It wasn’t work. We were in a concentration camp of boys breaking their voices, and growing sharply protruding nipples. My parents, paid fees; for me to work in a labor camp school. My parents paid fees, so that I am completely enslaved, enlisted in forced labor, and only fed nyoyo and porridge.
Why dad, why?
Manual work was supervised by the devil’s children called prefects. It was dictatorship, ran by people the government hired to lie to us that we would be using the Pythagoras theorem to deduce how tight a diaper should be tied.
It was hard work. Some guys assigned to sweep the dormitory, others to sweep outside. Some cleaning classes, cut grass, wash toilets and bathrooms, collect litter. Others would go fetch water some 15 minute distance outside the school, for porridge. We hated that most. Man, some guys were once sent to bring water for uji, and never came back for two week. WE WERE MAD. They got suspended. They had gone drinking early morning. We never forgot. We made them sleep outside the dorm, with the watchman for two days. We are still mad at them for the breakfast we missed. They were so inconsiderate.
If you messed up in anyway, manual work became extreme punishment. There was no escaping it.
Imagine a guy called Matuga almost got expelled from the school for taking a Form One’s shirt. That guy was so huge bana. If chest hair could make rain, this guy’s chest could have been a water catchment area, managed by ministry of environment. He would be protected by Kenya Forest Service. He had chest hair for days. Like he was into chest-hair horticulture kind of production, for export. Hectares upon hectares on his chest.
He woke up one day, unhang the guy’s clean new shirt from the line, and wore it. That young man cried so painfully. Didn’t even take his porridge. That young man, was not me. How do I know? I am the one who drank his porridge as I consoled him.
The headmaster heard about it and was furious. He told the guy, ‘Explain yourself or you get a suspension!’
The guy stood up like he was James Orengo, a lawyer of sorts, ‘Did I do it, your honor? Yes I did. I am guilty. Guilty as charged. But this was not my fault. (He banged his fists on the headmaster’s desk). This is your fault, Bwana Headmaster.’
The headmaster was SHOOK!!!
‘If there were no form ones,’ He continued, ‘there would be no clean shirts. And since Form Twos are untouchable, we would have been ok. Mr. Headmaster, if there were no Form Ones, there would be no clean shirt to admire. And no one to take it from. So, NO FORM ONES. NO BULLYING. The defence rests.’
He got a standing ovation. Even me I clapped and cheered.
The headmaster was like… ‘Mmmhhh. You have a valid point.’ But he gave him quick quick two canes for banging his desk, and then he still went ahead and suspended the guy, more for wearing a very small shirt that made him look like he was wearing a bra, with chest hair making holes and breaking through the shirt. When he gave it back it was so stretched it looked like a lab coat. So we nicknamed him, Lab Assistant, or L.A. L.A. was such a nice chap.
When Matuga came back, he had to slash an entire field for two weeks. He would have done it as part of manual.
But then, there were other badass punishments.
A guy was kicked out of Sawagongo and brought to our school. As punishment. He came with his ‘Sawagongo-ness’ to our school. He was about to know he did not know.
You know those pesky kids who went to Sawagongo or St. Mary’s Yala, and thought they were God’s gift to I don’t know what? Those who went to St. Mary’s Yala toddlers and now have really big heads? Heads so big they would need two instagram accounts; one for themselves, the other for their heads, because social media cannot can with both of them together in one account? Those St. Mary’s Yala infants who were so loud on the pitch, but had sopranos on the sidelines of soccer and rugby games? Those Sawagongo urchins who lost a soccer game to the 9-nun squad at Lwak Girls.
Ja’Sawa was a thug by all standards. He never did manual work and never showed up for math and chemistry classes even though he was among the best student at both. He loved food and was always hungry, spoke about food in his sleep, and always wore his old school’s uniform because attachment issues. He was such a sharp student, and so, all the girls liked him. Girls were impressed by trivial things like brains and grades. Puh! We hated him. We the boys.
The greatest of his shortcomings however was love for sleep. He slept until sleep ishad. Which was somewhere around 10:00am. Almost always immediately after math and chemistry classes. He was such a prolific nuclear-grade sleeper, we called him, Anindo! And I am telling you, ANINDO SLEPT.
Anindo slept with plate, cup and spoon in hand. He woke up only to eat or to attend classes he liked. Never went for clubs, was never in any games. He woke up and went straight to the kitchen. And his breakfast had best be there, waiting for him like he instructed it to.
Anindo once missed lunch. The 3 Cooks, Owino, Ja Nyabeda and Adundo saw nothing but pure fireworks that day. He locked himself inside the kitchen with them. We only heard unheard of screams and painful cries. Shortly boiler is on, and smoke. Sufurias clanging as people are still screaming and crying, and begging for mercy. Shortly Anindo emerges from the kitchen with very hot food.
We dash to go see what happened, the 3 cooks are nursing injuries. They look like it was a short encounter with real Mob Justice. They are sweating, crying, lying on the floor.
So this day the Headmaster, and his deputy are around for AGM. About 700 people are around. Everyone is on best behaviour. Anindo is who? Bugger slept past the required time. As the meeting is going on, out in the field, someone notices a guy in a totally different school uniform whistling and strolling down towards the kitchen, cup and plate in hand. The students start giggling and laughing. It disturbs everyone. He is not giving a rats diab for what was going on in school becauseis singing so loudly;
Ja Nyabeda mbass na.
Kuon luonga mwalo u kanyo.
Ngwech kela. Timnae uru gimoro.’
(PS: Ask a Jang’o to translate, please.)
So the Heady and Depa changamkia him at the kitchen counter.
HM: Kijana, who are you and what are you doing here?
Anindo: I am a student here, in form three.
HM: How comes I have never seen you?
Anindo: How comes I have never seen you?
Depa interrupts. He confirms he is a student.
HM: Where are you going?
Anindo: I am going to pick my breakfast.
HM: What time is it?
Anindo: I have not had breakfast.
HM: Why not?
Anindo: I was asleep.
Some other teachers, BOG members and parents also bring their kiherehere their. The cooks, Owino, Ja Nyabeda and Adundo are just waiting to see how Anindo will tandika all these guys.
Anindo bishanas with them a bit, he reluctantly kulas a few canes from the male teachers, he throws his plate and cup up and walks back to the dorm. Two teachers follow him with a kiboko. The rest come back to the meeting like nothing happened.
Shortly Anindo comes to the meeting. Carrying his beddings.
The headmaster tells Anindo tandika down there, and sleep. He refused. His mum is so mad, because he is embarrassing her. She jumps, like a Chinese martial artist, from her chair and gives Anindo like 12 quick slaps. He makes his bed faster-faster and proceeds sleeps. He slept through the AGM. He slept so hard, someone had to shake him when he started snoring, or wake him up for lunch.
After AGM, he is called to the headmaster’s office. He is told his punishment was to cut grass and pull out a trunk of tree. His mother insisted he was going to do it, and everything else, on that mattress for a whole week. She meant business.
Man, Anindo went to class with his mattress and slept on it during every lesson. He carried it to labs, meals, games, he cut the grass and pulled out the trunk, all on his mattress. He brought his mattress during assembly and slept there. He only stood up during the national anthem.
He even spoke to those girls who liked him on that mattress. They still liked him.
The Most Baddass High School Punishments ever.
Image Courtesy: www.kenyans.co.ke (August 21,2018)
PS: Know anyone who has gone through cancer victoriesly, or anyone, a man, who lost their father while they were young and have been able to navigate into manhood / adulthood without the influence of their father? I would love to hear their story. Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM on Facebook at Paushinski