Memories of My Days at Noru-Moru
As I was taking a leisurely walk around our home's compound today afternoon, I couldn't help thinking about my days at Noru-Moru Primary school where I began my schooling in 1993 and stayed on till Standard Seven in the year 2000. Noru-Moru is a public primary school that caters for the educational needs of children of the poor in my home-area.
Back in the '90s when I was a student there, all the windowpanes of the school's classrooms were broken and nobody bothered to have them repaired. The school had no access to electricity and piped water. It also had no fence around it. And some pupils used to attend the school barefooted and in tattered uniform. It truly was a school of the poor.
Because the school had no fence around it back in the '90s, pupils could get into it from any direction. And that was advantageous to latecomers who tried to dodge teachers on duty.
I don't really know what it was about Noru-Moru that made quite a number of my schoolmates to repeat classes. Maybe it's because some teachers were lackadaisical by their not finishing the syllabus on time. Or maybe it's because of the humble backgrounds from which some of its pupils came from. All I remember is that quite a number of my schoolmates did repeat class as if they were getting paid to stay longer in school. Imagine I would at times study in the same class with pupils who had been classmates of my senior siblings.
When I talk of pupils repeating class, I have been reminded of a Maasai elder called Ole Murkuk who owned vast tracts of land near Noru-Moru. A polygamous man, Ole Murkuk used to have kids in almost every class in the school - from kindergarten to Standard Eight. He was such a virile man.
Besides its pupils, the other people of Noru-Moru I remember were, of course, the teachers. I especially recall those who were ruthless when it came to disciplining pupils. Among those ruthless teachers was one I recollect vaguely as Miss Kaloki.
Miss Kaloki was a young light-skinned Kamba woman who never spared the rod. On several occasions in 1997 when she heard us making noise in our classroom which was near the staffroom, she would come inside and command us in Swahili, "Toeni hizo magunia! (Remove those sacks!)" By telling us to remove our sacks, she meant our sweaters. She would then start caning us on the back, one by one.
Then there was Mr. Wanjohi, a no-nonsense man who taught Mathematics and Science in the school. He was merciless when it came to admonishing and caning pupils who could not follow his instructions. And he aroused such fear in us that whenever he entered class in the morning, some pupils would start trembling like trees on a windy day.
Mr. Wanjohi tutored me in Standard Five and again in Standard Seven. I recollect distinctly one lesson in Standard Seven, he taught us English in Kikuyu, his mother-tongue, by telling us that if we wanted to remember how the word "tongue" is spelt, we should pronounce it as "to ngu e". In Kikuyu, "to ngu e" means "I can die!"
Stern as he was, Mr. Wanjohi had a favourite pupil of his whom he admired because of his brilliance. And the pupil was my immediate elder brother Paddy. It was not only Mr. Wanjohi who admired Paddy; some other teachers did too.
I recall vividly one afternoon in the late '90s, a female teacher found me guilty of some wrongdoing. She took to the staffroom, asked me to lie flat on a bench and then beat me repeatedly on my buttocks, as if they were a set of drums, while asking me, "Why aren't you like your brother [Paddy]?"
Another tough teacher I remember from my schooling days at Noru-Moru is Mrs. Waguchu. Like Miss Kaloki, she too never spared the rod when it came to correcting pupils. As luck would have it, she only taught me for a short time in Standard One in 1994, so I can't recollect her ever disciplining me. Instead what I remember most about her was the way she uttered a positive comment about me in the mid '90s during one lesson.
Well, Mrs. Waguchu and another teacher called Mr. Sakuda were checking our schoolwork during that lesson. And when it was my turn, Mrs. Waguchu told Mr. Sakuda that I would grow up to be a great man someday - or something along those lines. Now that I am a grown-up man, I am trying to live up to Mrs. Waguchu's expectations.
I still meet Mrs. Waguchu every now and then during my walks to my hometown of Kiserian. She has long since retired from teaching. A couple of years ago when her son was seriously ill, she asked me for the phone number of my brother Paddy who is now a doctor. That Noru-Moru could produce a doctor shows it wasn't such a bad school after all.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on my memories at Noru-Moru, you might also enjoy another story I wrote sometimes back on "Remembering My Teachers". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Waiting on God
Back in the year 2011, there was a time I visited Rev. Sammy Wainaina, the current provost of All Saints' Cathedral in Nairobi, in his office for a talk. He is such a friendly and understanding gentleman. Well, I can't remember what we talked about that time but I do vividly recall him asking me in Sheng, "Uko na kadem? (Do you have a girlfriend?)"
I was a bit surprised to hear such a question coming from Rev. Wainaina, a respected man of the cloth. But he wasn't the first man of authority to pose such a question to me. A few years earlier in 2009 when I was dropping out of the university at JKUAT, Dr. Mbogo - the then JKUAT's Dean of Students - had asked me a similar question. It's like Rev. Wainaina and Dr. Mbogo thought that being in a relationship is a sign of maturity.
To be honest, the last time I saw a lass whom I admired was in 2007 when I was a first year student at JKUAT. Imagine I so much admired the lass that during one Chemistry lesson, I kept glancing at her as the lecturer droned on with her lectures. But you know what? Owing to my shyness, I never summoned the courage to approach the lass and initiate a conversation with her. What a poor fellow I was! By the way, I never saw the lass again when I reported back to the university in 2008 for my second year.
Since that time in 2007, no other young lady has ever earned my admiration the way that lass did. And it has not been for lack of trying. As a matter of fact, I have devised all sorts of ways to meet the woman of my dreams. Like I have turned up for social events with the hope of meeting single young women to no success. I have also signed up in several dating websites and even put an advert in a local newspaper in an effort to find "the one" but my efforts have borne me no fruits.
At another time in December 2015, I one day posted the following message on Facebook:
IMPORTANT NOTICESome of my Facebook friends laughed at that post but I was damn serious. As it turned out, no young lady showed interest in my offer, so I visited the museum unaccompanied. That I could go to the extents of posting such a message on Facebook shows how desperate I was to be in a relationship.
I WILL BE VISITING THE KAREN BLIXEN MUSEUM TOMORROW AND I NEED GOOD COMPANY. ANY YOUNG LADY WHO APPRECIATES ART AND DELIGHTS IN INTERESTING CONVERSATIONS WISHING TO ACCOMPANY ME, PLEASE HOLLA BACK.
And that wasn't the last time I felt desperate to fall in love. Over the last three years, I have at times found myself turning to Google and searching for female bloggers I could befriend. (You see, I have always wanted to date a writer ever since I took up writing as a hobby.) Google hasn't been of much help either.
After all those efforts to meet my soulmate have backfired, I have now decided to exercise patience and wait on God to connect me with the woman He intended for me. And as I wait for that divine connection, I will focus on developing my talents and becoming the right man.
All in all, I am grateful that I have been single all those years for three reasons. First, I have had a chance to know myself better. Secondly, I have learnt the ways of the world, like the pain that some people go through in broken relationships and failed marriages. And lastly, I haven't been that well-off financially to take a lady for outings and buy her gifts. Because I believe God's timing is always perfect, I have a feeling when He will connect me to the woman He intended for me, He will also avail for me the financial resources to sustain the relationship.
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed this story of mine on waiting on God, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Improving Social Health". Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.