KCSE is over! I had forgotten about KCSE, it’s existence, and importance till this year. My brother, who has had a very difficult high school life and a live-in cousin have both completed KCSE. Welcome to semi-life, Evans and Alex. Now, please stop, and tell your parents to stop, calling me asking if you can come to stay with me for some time. I’m a bachelor about town and I like staying alone. More importantly, I want you to stay at home and ‘enjoy’ life as I enjoyed it back then-raw!
It was quite a year, well, not really a year because life became hard and I shipped myself to college too soon. It was a year I had been looking forward to for four years- when I would be finally free from the high school bell(I hated that thing), githeri and Maths. I would also turn 18 at some point in that year, and hence the license to do adult things.
Right after high school, an older cousin of mine talked my mother into making me go to her place to help her run her shop. It was fun for me because then, our part of world didn’t have electricity and I was a sucker for music, movies and coloured TV. I would spend the day alone in the shop in a very bad location, reading novels, listening to music, playing Snake on my Nokia 1100….. and entertaining girls from the neighbourhood, also Form 4 leavers. Winnie, are you reading this? 🙂
It got boring. I had fast, warm blood and I didn’t want to stay in a remote town doing nothing. I wanted to go back home where I knew more people, and where I would stay without working.
So, I ‘resigned’ and went to Computer School. Those computer basics classes people go to study Microsoft Office and MSDOS. Here, I reconnected with friends, made new friends(Are you there – Jon, Maureen, Aggy, Matthew, Deno?). It was a fine, two hour class, after which people would take each other for lunch, go to one of the rich kids’ house to play computer games and deejay; laze around, or go home. Life was good. Until KCSE results came out in February! People separated themselves-those who passed, those who failed and watu wa katikati. It was a childish game of esteem. Don’t ask me where I was.
In the process, I got a job! You see, I was, and I think still am, a fairly respected member of the society and I was offered a job to teach every afternoon, after computer class, at the local secondary school! They didn’t have many teachers and had to share classes among three or four teachers, but then, there were only two classes, Form 1 and 2. No one could teach Geography. I asked them to give me subjects I loved, like English and Swahili but the elder who approached me told me they believed I was capable of teaching any subject. So Geography it was-never mind I didn’t take Geography in high school. I simply summarized the text book and dictated notes. For a whole two weeks! And then I resigned. Teaching wasn’t fun. Ladies and gentlemen, this was how long my career as a teacher lasted-two weeks!
Since there was nothing I was doing in the evenings, I started going out like a proper circumcised Meru man.
I would go to “canteen” ( take it to mean town or shopping centre) and hang out with other guys. I have always been sensitive about who I hang out with, so, I never misbehaved too much. I never chewed miraa, which everyone else was, so, I would always get tea and ngumu and make intelligent analysis of the village politics, play pool and watch soap operas. I did not miss a single episode of Love is Timeless on KBC!
I had just discovered Hip Hop and in true gangsta livin'(knowwhatamsayin?), we would spend days in Maua town, listening to hip hop in barber shops, photocopy bureaus, and cyber cafes. The crew- Marti(he used to run his father’s battery charging joint), Royson, Kawaida, Kiumbe, Anto(the only employed person in the group-those chopees work for Equity after school), Mwalim Tembe(he had accepted the teaching vocation) and Alex (he used to run a photocopy)- had formed a clique, clad in flashy tshirts, baggy jeans and standin’ caps). Sometimes, armed with Marti’s car batteries, Anto’s woofer, Alex’ computer and my music CDs, we would go to parks, blast music (I should have become a DJ, Virtual DJ) and fool around with the hottest girls in town.We were living the gangsta life, man.
|Don’t they look G? Royson, Marti, Kawaida and Chief Kiumbe
But then we started disintegrating, or growing up. Some of us were shipped off by their sore parents. At some point, an NGO appeared, giving courses on community mobilisation and HIV to idle school leavers. We formed an objective group of five. We called it Touch and we had lots of dreams for the community. We would perform play-skits in churches, youth camps and an event we developed-The Touch Extravaganza. It was fun. We were talented. We would not write the scripts. Since I was tasked with coming up with ideas, I would write one paragraph synopsis, and the team would know what to do or say. I have paused here to stare at the ceiling in nostalgic memory. That was a good team. Me, Alex, Doris, Bessy and Mfa (Bless his soul)
. I think this is how the high school leavers should spend their one year. Getting creative for the society.
I also had a girlfriend(say Amen)
. She was still in high school and I would make her late for school every time on opening days. When she was around, we would spend as much time as we could. She had two other friends and with my clique of Alex and Royson; and a few introductions and match-making, we became a group of 6 young lovers-3 couples trying to outdo each other in love antics. We did crazy things. Not bad things-my girlfriend dumped me because I was not ready for sex no matter how hard she tried. Story for another day.
Buoyed by the new free labour, my father finally bought a cow. For too long, we had been the only home in the neighbourhood without a cow. And the cow he bought was a guzzler. A Fresian cow. Those things can eat- they are supposed to eat 90 kilos of food and 50 litres of water every day. Living in a suburban place, there was no way we could get this much food. She was placed under my care and life became hell. I cut all the banana migomba at home to feed her, I ran a fence to the ground, I drained the water tank, and the cow would moo throughout with that loud mouth of hers. I decided that was tabia mbaya and resorted to corrective action. Every time she mooed, I would whip her, or hit her with a stone. Soon, she associated mooing with pain and stopped. What was the name for this from Biology?
|The Fresian cow is a beast. Pic: LIC
But she was a snitch. Any time she heard dad come through the gate, she would throw tantrums like a kid. She knew this would always earn me “why is the cow hungry” questions. Another thing, she hated women. No woman would go close to her. And I was the only guy spending time at home. Why do females hate each other so much?
Silly cow made me cut my free year short and go to college.
Main Pic: Unemployed youth www.amshaafrica.org