The school day mornings were never as ideal as we purported in our compositions.
To begin with, there was no alarm clock to wake us up..
For my case, no biological clock either to wake me up exactly when I needed to unless I had wet my bed and was awaiting the first sign of daylight.

My ‘alarm’ was my brother who would yank off my blankets, throw them onto another bed then open the windows to let in some cold morning breeze.
No matter how slothful you were, you couldn’t ignore that.

Sprucing up never entailed a full body shower but rather a passport which every household summed as “kichwa, uso, mikono na miguu.”
Not that we abhorred bathing, but because we always took a comprehensive shower in the evenings.
But for the bedwetters, a morning shower was a must.
Nevertheless, some classmates were on a. few occasions accompanied by a pungent ammonia smell.

The clothes were never the neatly ironed set of clean uniform we mentioned in our compositions unless it was a Monday.
Finding the clothes was a hustle because some of us couldn’t remember where we had placed the clothes the previous day.
A funny observation was the sweater and shirt being always intact so that we would put them on as one piece of clothing.
The few times you had hair long enough to be combed, you were forced to wet it with water first because of the hard tufts.
Small blanket threads would then collect on the forehead and you knew you had done a good job.

Breakfast was never taken at the comforts of the dining table but rather in the kitchen.
Those who came late found the ‘kiti moto’ full of early comers hence took breakfast standing.
Tea was always on the menu.
Remember you’d have to cool your tea first either by using a second cup or the sufuria that was used to prepare the tea.
Escort, as the tea accomplice was referred to in many households, would comprise bread, sweet potatoes, pancakes, the previous night’s ugali, chapos, mihogos or mandazis.
Of course in case of chapos or mandazis, a small piece was taken to your best friend not so as an act of generosity but evidence to back up your story. 😉
No wonder our shorts always had an oily patch around the pockets.

The first lesson always belonged to the class teacher.
As he/she walked in class with a hearty, “Good morning class?”
We would all stand and respond “Good morning Sir/Madam”
Followed by “How are you doing?” Reply, “We are fine thank you Sir/Madam. And how are you doing?”
“I am doing fine thank you, sit down.”
Final reply, “Thank you Sir/Madam and welcome to class 2 West.”

The teacher would proceed to call out the register and then return the marked assignment of the previous day
Woe unto you if under the date and signature was, “See me”.

Some teachers were good. If you had made a mistake, they would ask you to follow them to the staffroom, work on your sitting apparatus before releasing you.
That space between staffroom and class(mates) gave us a chance to sneak to the lavatories where we would cry and curse the teacher in hushed tones, go wash our faces and head back to class pretending nothing happened…totally oblivious that the red eyes and the smell of cypress all over our bodies told a different story.

A few teachers would unceremoniously grab you from you sitting comfort with slaps and tell you to kneel in front of the class….because of a small mistake like not doing homework.
Sometimes I would feel like telling such teachers they should be proud of me because the rest of the class had copied from one pupil.

“Piga magoti Asselo! Kamau amka enda ulete viboko!”
If Kamau was your friend, he would bring some frail sticks which he knew would break easily.
If he wasn’t you friend and to make it worse, had denied him a bite of your mango the previous day, he would get big cypress branches and the instant he stepped in class you’d realised the importance of ‘kupanda mbegu.’


We never cried after a public beating. ‘Tulikua tunakausha’.
We would be completely engrossed in wiping off the dust from our knees,socks and shorts following the beating…..until a person whispered ‘pole sana’ and then nothing would hold the tears back and you’d vehemently swear that ‘utafunga shule na Kamau’.

The classroom wasn’t that bad anyway. We had our moments as pupils
Do you remember how being mixed to sit with girls was meant as a tool to curb noise making?
And it always worked especially if you ended sitting with your crush.
Applying ‘pilipili’ to a friend’s pencil or biro pen was never cool. I was a victim severally and that’s why I don’t like chilli to date.

There was the issue of “removing carbon dioxide”
There were guys who were specialised in fishing out the perpetrators.
Silent ‘yusufff’ farts were the norm hence a sniffer would be called upon, to go behind the suspected pupils’ buttocks.
Some of them were so good they would single out the culprit several minutes after the fart incidence.
I guess they could pick the reservoir fart that remained in the clothing.
Girls were never suspected. Big Mistake we made there. No wonder a number of fart cases were never solved.

Whenever the teacher wasn’t around, we would make paper planes. And hope they fly towards the girl we have a crush on.
Or hit the enemy with small round mud balls or small chewed paper using the biro pen holder.
That, would sometimes lead to a fight.

The fights were a welcome break to the class monotony.
The participants would only be separated after a winner was determined or if a teacher was seen approaching.
Yes, whenever a fight started, some people would stand on top of desks to serve as our surveillance.

To show how brilliant we were, we applied the rules of linear Inequalities…..a topic taught in high school yet we were just in primary school.
If Mong’are beat Kamau once. Then Kamau beat Njuguna later on. It was assumed Mong’are can beat Njuguna as well.

During exam times, we would concentrate more on covering our works so as not to be copied more than we even concentrated on the exam.
Sometimes the exams would be hard….especially those joint exams or JESMA.
Guess work would be applied and then on the back of our answer slips we write,” Oh God help me pliz to get 90% in this paper…..Amen”

The break times had their share of craziness.
The first break was short and yet we had so much to do i.e bask in the 10 am sunlight as well as empty our bladders.
Boys would device means of doing both at the far end of the field.
The action required skill for perfect execution.

First you needed to locate an unused site, then unzip while standing…..unbutton rather since our shorts never had zips then.

Alternatively in keeping up with the spirit of saving time,we would lift one leg of our shorts up to a level where our member would be safely released.
Then you’d lie down, lift your pelvis a bit, micturate, roll over and button up or roll back the lifted leg….job done!

Sometimes, something went wrong, like you didn’t lift your pelvis high enough or while rolling over you went over a territory another boy had just marked.
I always wondered why the teachers never caught us.
But now I realize even they were busy emptying their bladders and totally missing the days they would do it like us.

We applied the concepts of nomadism whenever the grass turned yellow.
Yes, as kids we literally went for greener pastures! 😉

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