This is a note by my friend Arnold Gitata, one of Kenya’s best kept secrets,a writing diamond.
The last day of school, packets of junkfood being passed around. Scores being settled ( ma-wanted) the only way we knew how; Sema ng’we..cross this line..
Teachers passing out report forms to students already adepts in forgery.
the bell-ringer strolls out of his class to do his duty. Even before his well-stroked bell has earned its first chorus, classes are half empty. This is waaay before holiday tuitioning.
We stream out of the gates, passing by the heavy-set woman who sells a myriad of goodies throughout your school life. Kashata, Mabuyu, Sukari Nguru, Cools..the list was endless. Sh 1 buys you a maembe with free pili-pili. Sh 2 buys one for your boys to share..
Girls?? Lets Get them!! Its amazing how they put up a fight.
The holidays are in. Ah, life is sweet. We know what we are going to do the whole ‘summer’: Lets get our bikes ( dont have one? no probs, your cohorts will give you ‘raos’,which they will prompt you to remember if ever they need anything from you). Watch out for that gang; they jack yours if they get you.
Lets play shake, or three sticks. Lets hide and seek (or Mkebe, hide-and-seek on steroids). soccer on narrow streets and dusty fields.
Thirsty? drink straight from the tap. We never got hungry, though.
Need sweets? Okay, you distract the shop-keeper, I’l get them from behind.
And then, we would steal kisses from the enemy. And they would be delighted (i think).
We had girlfriends who never knew..and were boyfriends to girls we never knew. We would literally call shotgun on everything (though we must have used another phrase).
Running wild on the streets, being chased by rabid dogs and more rabid parents.
Dusk would fall. The mbotches start coming out to call the young-uns in for their bath ( ever so loudly). The elder ones stayed out, defying parents only long enough to discover their pals have been sneaking home one-by-one.
Sneaking down the stairs, way past bed-time to watch adult programmes ( not to be confused by today’s definition of adult movies). and then, KBC would shut-down, but not before a prayer and the national anthem.
Tomorrow is sato. Then KTN changed all that..tomorrow is Tranformers. Sunday was church (or sunday-skul), followed by Saber-Rider (and-the-staaarrr-sheerriiffs)..