Imagine he goes ahead and tells my mother why I am such a nuisance in class, and the whole school. My eyes are growing big in unbelievability. Some people in my class were punished every day. Me, it was only three times a week; Monday, Thursday and Friday. And ati that is now an issue. SMH!
The headmaster has also come, and some teachers too, and he too wants in on the drama. He tells my mum, ‘Awww… this pretty boy…’ Imagine that guy called me pretty without butting an eyelid. So now it is me who is becoming offended.
Anyway, ‘Awww… this pretty is becoming troublesome. Something is not right. When you are done with him, please allow me to give him a few vibokos. I would like to give him two canes. Just to escort what you will have done.’ Kuchapwa imekuwa harambee.
I rolled my eyes so hard at him, I saw the inside fatty layers of my diab.
Him chapaing me was not the issue. It was the fact that he did not know how to cane. Our headmaster was the worst beater on earth. And that is what made him dangerous. And because he was so bad at it, he wanted to prove a point with me. I was so sure he was going to break my bones.
Imagine my mum tells him, ‘ati two? That is not enough, just give him 4, please, because today I am not feeling well. So please help me there.’
My mum never ever beat me when she was feeling well. And I almost always went to the ICU. I knew the day she would catch me when she was feeling perfectly well, I was going to go to meet Father Abraham, and his many sons, the many sons of Father Abraham.
The headmaster goes like, ‘Nne tu? Issorait. Hiyo ata sio shida mzazi. I got you!’
And that is why I don’t regret that day we hunted his chickens in the compound and ate them.
Anyway, mum tells the teacher to warm me up kwanza with six of the best. I look at my mum with the cutest look. Like, those are already 10. ‘How you gonna do me like that, huh? You are just going to feed me to the lions, fam?’
She did not care.
So I tell her, that I joined CU the other day. And the bible says, pray without ceasing. And I would like to go and pray, before I pay for my sins. Because the spirit of the Lord is upon me. I even threw in 2 or 3 Rrrababoshes. The actual plan was I go get a thin towel, put it some water on it, then put it on my diab so that it makes a soft landing. I cannot begin to tell you how important that was. That my maths teacher was also the school’s discipline master. He was so skilled at caning people, he could separate the born and the marrow. We called him, The Chief Whip!’
My mom is who? She just told me, you can pray as you lie down. And then she remembered;
‘Na hiyo ni CU gani? Si last term uliniomba pesa ya challenge weekend?’
Nikajilalisha tu chini pole pole.
So the teacher flexes a bit, he gets his stick and lands the first one. VVWAAPP!!!
It entered a good one, I almost clapped for him. It was so loud. And painful. I want to rub my back side and roll and be dramatic, but I just lay prostrate. I did not move one inch. I just twitched a bit then lay down flat. Not moving. The teacher thought he had killed me. My mum is wondering why this thing is ever going to teach me if he can’t tell the difference between acting and drama.
MUM: Why have you stopped? Add him another one.
HIM: (Scared) He is not moving.
MUM: And so?
HIM: Maybe he is dead.
MUM: If this one was going to die, he would have died when he was just two months old. Juu siku hiyo ndio alinikasirisha ile sijawahi ona.
HIM: Maybe just one is enough.
So my mum grabs the cane from and nyoroshas me two chap chap ones. Vwap, vwap! I think more are coming, like millet being poured from the sack. I jump up quickly. And hatisha the third. My mum just hits the hem of her garment and she just went off…
‘I am dying. Nina kufa. This child has killed me now? Who will take care of my other children. My children are orphans now.’ It’s like 20 minutes of her crying. So the initial pain has left.
Aunt Mary calms her down and then she tells the Chief Whip to hurry up, because they are busy, they have people to see and places to go.
ME: Mwalimu, those are three. Bado tatu.
MUM: Huyu mtoto kumbe hajui maths ukweli.
ME: But you gave me two and he has done one.
MUM: Count his, not mine.
He lands the third one and I choose the dramatic way. I scream so loud the whole school comes to see who is fighting who. The third and the fourth donjo nicely. The fifth and the six, the teacher feels for me, and lands them very lightly.
MUM: Mwalimu those last two were fake, you think we are joking here.
TA: I tried my best.
MUM: Next time, pull up your socks.
My mum is not satisfied. But she has to keep her end of the deal. So he dismisses everyone back to class and calls me to go with her to the headmaster’s office. And then the chief whip opens his big mouth and say, ‘there are other teachers who keep complaining about him too.’
ME: Ni nini buda??? Which ones? Mbona kimbele…
Queen Mother pinches my lips together and seals my mouth. ‘Usifungue hiyo mdomo tena. She is so vexed, she yells, she pulls me like that to the headmaster’s office. Sasa ni msomo. ‘Your father and I are dying in Nairobi, fighting thieves everyday, trying not to get killed by mosquitoes, matatus want to run over us, we bring you to the best school in the world and you are out here embarrassing us. You are wearing a trouser and shoes, your father wore shorts and leaves. Is this how you repay us.’
She tells me, ‘Go and bring your things. I am taking you out of school, you can go and look for a job.’ I am sure she is not bluffing, so I go ahead. Some guys comes to say sorry and goodbye. I slap one; the others flee in seven different directions. Ok, that’s a lie.
My mum gives me one more chance, but she says she has to go through my books. I was glad. Because I was doing very well, contrary to the fake news the teachers were peddling. I had absolutely no problems with my mum going through my bag at all. I mean, what’s the worst she would find? A piece of lunch I left there three months ago. Or a dead grasshopper. Or a ding’oing’o.
No matches, no cigarettes, no weed, no knife, no gun and no bomb. Pshhh.. I was clean.
She carefully placed all the loose papers I had in the name of books, one by one, on top of the table. And then she called me.
‘Simama hapa! Hizi vitabu tukizinunua zilikuwa hivi?”
I am silent.
So I am, standing next to her. We are going through my bag and books.
Her: Sasa Baba. (Change of tone completely).
Me: Poa sana, mum.
Her: How was your day?
Me: Eish… it’s been a bit hard the one last hour.
Her: (Giving me the look). Sema, ‘Fine Thank you!’
Me: (Mumbling) Freishoknl tjisyivevjh ysiufbhos.
Her: Ati umesema nini?
Me: Very fine thank you madam.
Her: Why are you not asking how was mine?
Me: And how was yours?
Her: It was good. It could have been worse.
Please note she had almost killed me. Together with the chief whip.
Her: Ebu explain to me how your day was?
Me: Ilikuwa fiti sana. Hata hii wiki sijakula stress. Unlike last week. Last week ilikuwa tafash kiasi.
Me: Ehe, bana.
Her: Pole, sana baba.
So now we get into the details. She goes through the books, question after question after question. We cover why I write like a dead chicken, why my Swahili book has Geography notes, why I drew a crooked line with a ruler.
Of course, ngoto and a pinch hapa na pale, but it wasn’t bad.
My mum opened the math book I had just received, and 5 envelops drawn beautifully just fell out, on to her lap. They were love letters.
That boy who I lent my math textbook was using it as the post office box to send letters to some girl.
She pushed them from herself and covered her mouth as if she had seen a ghost.
Hapo ndio kiliumana proper.
[Check out for Part 3 soon!]