Most of us probably have a memory etched in our minds everytime someone mentions highschool. For some of us it’s a whole cascade of them, others perhaps one or two moments that you never even want to recap. And for the one and only’s, like yours truly, it’s been both. I had my hills and valleys but that’s part of the journey. The Letters, the Work. The Love, the Hate. The Vibes, the Disses. The Girls, the Boys. The Weekends, the Weekdays. The Teachers, the Cooks. The “Funkys”, the Clinics….. I could go on and on really.
However, like any other good game there are those moments that make up the highlights. The moments that just stand out from your whole experience and never fail to crack a rib or two, or perhaps the entire cage. Those stories you’d probably still struggle to stand and narrate years later when your back is literally killing you. For most of us who have been to Kenyan highschools most of these tales have a common denominator. An old guy with the energy of a five year old child with a tendency of coming alive in the most weird of times. Like 4:59AM in the morning. Like CHILL A LITTLE!!! Anyways, we call them teachers. And the best one of them was my class teacher, Mr. Ayieko.
“Some of you are really trying my patience. Mnanijaribu Sana. Boys!” The time is 0828HRS and the whole assembly ground mumbles with low key laughters but with one thousand and five hundred plus adolescent boys it’s more of a low key ugly growl. By this time, the story had already made rounds so it’s not news. Infact, we were all waiting for this moment because apart from being the best teacher, he was the best narrator there is. It was an exciting morning! And speaking from a highschool perspective you’d know these are rare to come by. Like figuring out what the Late Ken Walibora really meant in some of our setbooks. A real headache! May his soul rest in peace.
It’s raining. Normally, this would be the time we’d have our little morning routine with Mr. Ayieko and lest I fail to mention, his sidekick Mr. Ogada. The lakeside brothers. It’s nothing out of the usual really, just a little motivational early morning jog. Once in a while it’s a 100M sprint depending on your proximity from the “site of crime” but that solely lies on your ninja skills to blend in the dark and award winning acting if worse came to worst . But for once today, it was quiet. Very quiet. The rain, like a badly tuned radio, slowly gains pace in the deafening silence. It’s near freezing outside and the beddings are devine.
We might just get away with this!
The coup is staged.
It’s the annexes, one of the old dormitories in the school with apparently only two exits. The main front door where Mr. Ayieko is apparently stationed and the back door where Mr. Ogada is. The hall is still pitch black and the innocent inhabitants just as clueless. Totally in the dark. Pun intended.
“Ogada hawa watu bado wanalala!!”
“Hawa nimewaweka X!!”
Loosely translated; back and forth, back and forth, we’re basically done for! End of the road! X marks the spot! We all know how the story goes after this. The ending is always the same as any other Disney tale out there except there are no flying carpets or magic lamps or fairy godmothers. We buried about thirty eight innocent souls that morning. They basically massacred them. The memorial service was short. Just kidding, but you remember the one or two moments you never want to recap I mentioned earlier? This was those one or two moments and we had been caught hugging with the scenes of crime!
Looking back to this moment I never fail to tear a little amidst withheld laughter. Being in African schools we all have that mass punishment we’d never forget. And maybe it’s our messed up sense of humour but never, even once, no matter how great the punishment did we ever fail to come out laughing. Along the way, they’d provide the most entertaining noise making seasions. Pain bonds. And we’d mimick each others wails on a scale of one to ten. Ten being for an opera singer and one a 10 year old girl. It’s amazing how we learnt our lessons.