OF THE MAIZE AND MANGO SCHOOL CALENDAR

Boring as school might have been back in the day, there were two things that always spiced-up the calendar:The Maize and Mango seasons. Forget the school bananas we used to cut and hide until they were ripe or the avocados that were supposed to be for the’Class Shop’ that always wen’t missing when they were almost ready to be feasted.

Coming from the bottom of Mt. Kenya, we always had two of these seasons where we had maize and mangoes. Unlike the Maize seasons, there mango season characterised by rain and there was what was known as the ‘Sun Mangoes’ in other words, maembe ya jua. These were found at a certain time in September when the sun’s heat made you run to school after a ‘mangoful’ lunch not because you loved school but the sand was too hot for your bare feet.

Apart from stealing the school maize and roasting the behind the toilets, what made the season out was harvesting time. I mean, who didn’t love a whole day harvesting maize. Maize was not just maize; it was a powerful tool/thing that could get you a girl. While most would would carry boiled maize to school, it was he who knew the right time when everybody had eaten theirs and produced his that carried the day. There was nothing as great as eating your maize one by one from your pocket or desk during a Maths or GHC lesson.

Mangoes were something else. They were breakfast, lunch and even supper for many. Every school bag would carry half books and half mangoes but even so, we never got enough mangoes. Remember that story in the textbook where a boy ate so many mangoes? The season could not pass without searching for a mango king.

We use to take chance and creep out of class during ‘free lesson’ and go to a nearby shamba since the school never had a mango tree. The farm owner had always complained to the school headteacher that there we’re ‘mango thieves’ who stole ate and left only the seeds as evidence they were there, but had never caught or seen anyone. As usual, two would climb while three would wait to catch the falling mangoes so that no sound was made.

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PAUSE!! REMEMBER PEN LOVE?

A few days ago I met my class 2 girlfriend….Yes at class 2 I had already fallen in love or thought that I had. C’mon, we are all culprits here don’t pretend to be a saint. I mean, there was that girl or boy you thought was the coolest in class and wanted to be close to. The said girl was a daughter of a teacher and for those who come from the village like me, know that in the village teaching is a very respected profession.

The nice houses belong to teachers, they were the first people to buy vehicles, they belong to most village committees, are church elders and deacons and above all, they are the first to receive those invitation letters that everybody does every now and then asking for support. I don’t hate these letter but some people will find the smallest excuse of calling for a gathering like even his goat having twins. That’a story for another day. So where were we? Ah! So those days you couldn’t just approach a teacher or their family. In fact, whenever a teacher passed close and you were seated you had to stand up even if it was in the market.

So this girl was something and when I say something I know you don’t need any explanation. The cleanest, the smartest, the ‘richest’ and of course she had to be the most beautiful. I mean, there is a way that money makes something beautiful. Well, so she was admitted to our school at the beginning of class two, coming from a private school. Her mother had just been transferred to our school and she brought her along.

This was the beginning of all my primary school troubles. I was not the best in class that I could brag about and I was also not the most handsome. What I knew was I had to find a way of her noticing me. I mean, who wouldn’t? The easiest way was usually to raise my hand up even when I didn’t know the answer. One time I remember, the teacher asked the opposite of the Kiswahili word ‘Nje’ and seeing that this was a perfect chance, the devil crept into me, I raised my hand and when the teacher chose me, I answered loudly ‘Jeshi’. Where that came from I still wonder up to today.

Since I used to stay just behind her, a friend of mine in class 4 advised me to start throwing my pen at her, not directly though. I was to do it such that it hits her softly and falls just in front of her. She would pick and while she was giving me, be clammy and the pen falls. This I was to do just once a day and by the end of the week, our heads had bumped into each other and we were laughing. By the time we were in class seven, it was almost an accepted rule to throw a pen to the girl you ‘loved’ and they would immediately knew from whom it came from and smiled while picking it.

Since when they went home you couldn’t throw a pen, the acceptable rule was to throw two small stones following each other at the roofs or if you thought the father was at home, the most feared being, you had to whistle but in a way that only the two of you knew the meaning. Catching up at the river was common so was meeting at the coffee factory.

If you know the pen love, when love started with a pen throw, SHARE this!!!!

OF BOYS AND MEN

I miss those days as a boy when holiday was holiday. I mean, if you made your own jerrycan pickup/lorry, built a house on a tree, played cha mama cha baba in the bushes, fished tadpoles and of course went swimming in the river when you had been told not to, then you know what am speaking about. Oh by the way, did you trap birds using basins? That is what am speaking about. Those days.

Today, such things don’t exist, at least from where I come from. All I see is young boys sitting infront of a tv screen, spending a lot of time on the social media and well, being sent to holiday tuition joints even though Matiang’i is against it. I see boys who are not boys, but are somewhere in the middle.

Growing up as a village boy, I knew there were some things boys did and could not do. Since I come from a true African family, by this I mean a large one, we used to look forward to family meetings where as boys we would be taught how to slaughter a goat or any other animal and spend evenings with our grandfather as he enlightened us on manliness.

Turning from a boy to a man was something mystical. There were so many stories as a boy you heard of that made one really want to be a man. To cross over and see what it’s like. Those who crossed to the other side stopped associating with you and changed completely. What made them change? There was something manly about them that no one could dispute.

Being a father was also something else. You became an elder and you had to change your behaviors. Did you ever hear of something like soda ya wazee? They had their own cups, plates and spoons, not to mention chairs. They also carried themselves with what is called Nyathi or honor. Never did I see my fathers and by fathers I mean anyone old enough to be called a father go to the honorable room. This was a top secret mission.

Well, those were the days. Today……