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.