Wednesday, 30 July 2014

#MasenoDays: Punch to the face

I've never been a fighter, not that I can remember anyway. Or maybe I didn't call them fights because as a child it felt more like we were pushing each other and less like we were throwing punches, or maybe my childhood friends just had girly punches lol. That being said, I don't encourage fighting, I am a pacifist at heart and believe that we should strive our best to find other solutions before we resort to "proving we are men".

So it was during our games time which was normally around 4pm and me and a few other house members had decided to skip that ever dreaded compulsory games time. We had hauled ourselves up in the house and locked the door lest the games captain decided to make his rounds. Power in Maseno was sometimes a dangerous thing, it would turn friends to foes and no attempted interventions would persuade the lost soul to find his way back home.

During our haul up, a disagreement ensued between two of my house mates. At first I thought it was something that would pass but one of them seemed to be getting more agitated by the minute and the other wasn't letting up on making fun of him. The agitated housemate then started seeing red and he was baying for blood, he lunged forward and no attempt to hold him back seemed to work as the other housemate tried to make a quick escape. I set myself in between them and was about to open my mouth when I saw it flying towards my face. The punch hit me square on the jaw and I felt my teeth shift with the force, I spit out some blood and heeled over in agony. It made him stop long enough for the other housemate to get time to make a run for it.

He apologized but that didn't make the pain go away, his anger seemed to have subsided though. My squishy face seemed to have acted well as a punching bag that day and in as much as I don't advocate for violence, in that split second before his fist made contact with my face I wished the roles could have been reversed. It sure looked nice punching someone in the face, just sayinG. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

How to Save a Life

I don't know how this one skipped my mind but I'm sure its one of those things that will stay with me for life. Not sure if I've mentioned this before but I'm a big fan of swimming, been doing it for as long as I can remember. From the days of the infamous floaters (I don't see them these days) that branded you a swimmer in training to national competition level where I so graciously received my participation certificate, I won't say how many times.

But for the story I want to tell we have to go a little further back, to days of primary school when I was still learning the ropes. I was blessed to be in one of the few schools in town that had a pool within its compound so P.E for us would on one day entail immersing ourselves within the cool waters to avoid the ever  scorching sun. On one such day our class had made its way to the pool and as per the usual we were quick to jump into the pool. The swimming coach was already in the pool instructing guys from the deep end, me and a couple of friends were somewhere in the middle, story telling by the poolside.

That's when I saw .... let me call him Sam, diving as if t o pull something out. I watched for a few seconds before I decided to move closer and ask him what was wrong. He was frantic, he told me how a pal of ours was drowning and that on his attempt to save him he had almost pulled him under. I quickly dived down to see if I could be of help, I grabbed him by the armpit and pushed him towards the shallow end. The coach just got there in time to carry him out and perform CPR (this is a very important skill). Guy was a little shocked but didn't stop him from getting back into the pool. Just goes to show even experienced swimmers are at risk of drowning, just sayinG

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Open Road

Its been too long since I took a trip to no where, just got into the car and headed to no where in particular. I believe those are the trips you won't so soon forget, no set destination just you and the open road and a world full of possibilities. This takes me back to my first ever road-trip. 

I believe it was in the winter of '98 (as if we have such things) and my mum had traveled to Amsterdam if I remember correctly. So the weekend she was meant to come back my dad wakes up on a Friday and tells us to get in the car. Being kids, a chance to get in the car and go somewhere was like waking up to gifts under the Christmas tree unlike children of today who see cars as a necessity rather than a privilege.

Mornings have never been my thing so of course I dragged my feet a bit but I was eager all the same,we dived into the back seat and off we went. There's something about the open road, the way nature keeps rushing by as the car speeds off into the distance. We told stories I honestly can't remember but the car was full of laughter, that much I am sure of and geography was taught as our dad brandished us with his worldly knowledge watching as our eyes filled with wonder and amazement.

That was the first time we passed Kericho and I remember wondering why the grass was so tall and green, looking back now its a good thing I kept my thoughts to myself. It was a beautiful sight to behold, still is to this day, for me anyway. We were hell bent to make good time therefore Nakuru was skipped as a stop point in preference of Naivasha. We made the stop at some petrol station, Oil Libya if memory serves me right, there was a restaurant somewhere within the vicinity packed with travelers heading up country and some like us heading towards the big city.

We went with the kid's menu favorite, chips & sausage, to date I still don't understand why kids love that meal so much. That sausage wasn't beef though, it was NOT beef. We ended up throwing them somewhere on the outskirts of Nairobi as we gazed upon the lights of the city that seldom sleeps. Fatigue had begun to set in, 7 hours on the road is no small feat especially at that age. I honestly can't tell you where we slept but it will be a while before I forget that trip, just sayinG.

#MasenoDays: The Rat In My Bed

We've all seen these little devils at one point or or another, they scamper through the house with bolt like speed and ill intent and eat our food while we're deep asleep. They seem to always appear out of no where like a ghost come to haunt you but when it comes, best believe they will make their presence known and you better be prepared to counter them.

The first memory of rats was when me and my brother were around ten or so and found them in the oil we used for frying. I'm sure you can guess how that equation ends (they fry just as well as chicken, not that I ate one). Back to the rat in my bed, so soon after I joined Maseno I discovered that I had a "pet" that liked to watch me sleep. I woke up one night to make my way to the washroom, this usually entailed a quick night running session because I always had this feeling that someone was waiting for me out there in the dark (urinals were a bit far). I had come back to the dorm when I saw something move on the net at the head of my bed, now given that this was about 2 am and I was sleep deprived I didn't pay much attention, not until I tried getting back into bed and a small dark figure moved towards me.

I have never jumped that quickly off a bed, had to tuck my net all around before I could sleep with some resemblance of comfort after it left, talk about sleep deprivation. The culprit would return every so often jumping on my net at unholy hours in an attempt to get at me, it would seem that for the moment I remained far out of reach which is more than I can say for one of my housemate who got up close and personal with the night crawler (cool name, I know).

I remember that night I was awoken by a faint scream, it sounded faint to me because it I was in deep slumber. The night crawler had somehow found its way into his bed and into his Pj's, as the rat tried to make its way out it got trapped as the edge of the sleeve which was tightly bound at the wrists. Never have I seen a man scream so vehemently, honestly I thought it was someone receiving a sweet dose of mob justice. I think the rat did like 5 laps before it bit his lower lip and jumped out into the night. Fortunate for him, there was no rabies involved but it did intensify our hunt for the night crawler. We never caught him though, hope the new tenants of Stansfields are keeping safe. just sayinG

Monday, 14 July 2014

Gut Feeling

Of late I've been thinking about what guides our subconscious, whether or not we take heed to it and what repercussions our final actions have. I'm sure every one of us has made a decision that when asked they can't trace it back to any logic and so your natural response becomes "It was a gut feeling".  I stumbled on some article that referred to a gut feeling as that quirky urge. A funny tingle. That little voice in your head. It goes ahead to talk about how a gut feeling, in a sense, is your own form of innate wisdom and a lot of other interesting facts about how gut feelings are our subconscious mind speaking to us, from what I understood anyway.

A gut feeling can help make decisions whose impact is far more reaching than we could ever imagine. So the other day I was making my way to school, well I was actually preparing to leave the house. I had gotten into the car and was about to get out of the parking when something told me "go into the house to confirm if you have left my school ID". Logically I would have simply opted out of doing that since I have a backup ID which means getting into school shouldn't be a problem but on this occasion I thought what the hell, why not indulge the feeling and just check.

I had only made it past the front door when I heard a screech of tires then a loud bang, A bus that was trying to overtake a lorry had swerved off the road to avoid an on coming  matatu and rammed into the wall of the hospital opposite home passing squarely at the junction where I would have been positioned had I left those few seconds earlier. In short I had survived being hit by a bus because I went back to look for an ID I didn't need. Of course as is the culture of Kenyans everyone rushed to the scene to find out what had happened, fortunately or unfortunately for the injured passengers the hospital staff rushed to their rescue ferrying them towards the hospital so that they could be given medical attention. At least there were no fatalities ,kinda makes you wonder about life though.

There have been other incidents where I have narrowly escaped being mugged in town because I just got this feeling someone was following me and I make my way into a shop where I have no intention of buying anything, or I decide to break even though the guy in front of me isn't driving recklessly then they go ahead to swerve out of the blue and luckily I have time to react. Little things that when you add up make you realize that you must on some level know these things are going to happen, even if it is subconsciously or maybe you have super powers. just sayinG

Sunday, 13 July 2014

#MasenoDays: It was the Principal

If you've ever been in boarding school then you will understand that sleep is a basic need , more basic than food, shelter or clothing. You will struggle continuously to stay awake, balancing your head between your hands on your desk. There will be snoring intermissions between you and your desk-mate,  heck you might even experience the elusive head pendulum swing as you attempt to stay awake. In Maseno school when you attained the highest level of sleep, you gained the title "Swachist" , I only had the pleasure of knowing two in my four years there.

My first dangerous encounter with the fore mentioned monster was in second term, form one. I had so far been able to keep sleep at bay but on that fateful afternoon as the CRE teacher gave a lecture with her heavily influenced accent I just seemed to drift away. I thought I closed my eyes for a fraction of a second and awoke to find half a page of scribbled wavy lines. But the purpose of why I write is not about that tale, for my story we have to move further into future (well... past now).

We were in form two and like every other day we were required to be in class for morning prep which started at 5. I can remember how I used to dread that morning bell, the continuous gong for a whole ten minutes. I occasionally wake up in a cold sweat in the fear that I hear the bell somewhere in the recess of my mind, talk about being scarred for life. During morning preps the principal would sometimes make rounds to make sure that his students were hard at work (talk about dedication to your job). If you had a good desk-mate they would wake you up before the principal saw you sleep but on this fateful day he caught us all off guard.

The principal would normally walk into a class to see who was sleeping and his 7 feet something height was definitely an advantage. Now on this occasion he decided to peep at us through the window, unfortunately for the guy next to the window his desk-mate saw the principal a second to late and all he could do was pretend to have not seen a thing and stare at his book with the might of Hercules in the hopes that he would not be asked why his desk-mate was dead asleep. The principal slipped his hand through the window and tapped the student awake, "It's me"

"Oh, its you", replied the student

I think in his dazed state my dear classmate didn't take the time to size his words, fury burned through the principal's gaze. He made a pimp slap attempt for the young man who missed it just in time, at this point all we could do was hold back our laughter (I think I was crying from the laughter). The student was told to go to the principal's office. Of course at this juncture all of us were awake, there was a lecture given about not letting your desk-mate sleep and the principal continued on his way. I'm yet to find out what kind of punishment our friend faced, I bet it was something severe. just sayinG

Friday, 11 July 2014

#MasenoDays: The Dark Pits

Sometimes we forget how good we have it until life so diligently decides to remind us. This was a lesson the great school reminded me of on more than one occasion. But the one that I will never forget was the pit latrines, before joining Maseno my perception of pit latrines was associated with ancestral homes so during my first week as a mono imagine my surprise when I asked for the washrooms and I was directed to a red iron-sheet far removed from the sleeping area.

At first I thought it was a joke but the moment reality dawned on me and I realized there was no other option, that was a dark day. I made my way to the dark pits situated at the edge of the school where the natural gas of human waste was all you could smell. Now given that this was all new to me, I didn't know the most fundamental of rule, You always take off your shirt. It sounds simple enough but yet people still forget. I learnt why people do this after I returned to my seat in class and my desk-mate curled up his nose as if to waft away the smell. All I could do was stare blankly ahead and pretend to be highly fascinated with what the teacher had to say.

Now the beauty of learning is that its a continuous cycle. Given that I now knew to take off my shirt before getting to "business" I made sure to do so next time. It was a normal day like any other as I made my way to the pits tissue in hand. I set my shirt and sweater on the designated "Coat hanger" (this was basically a pole placed outside the pits) and proceeded to enter the pit. Now my neighbor to the right it would seem had come unprepared, he proceeded to ask one of the most awkward questions I've ever been asked

"Wewe msee, ukona TP ya kutosha" *insert puzzled look* 

"Niokolee leaf kaa nne hivi"

Of course I couldn't say no, didn't make the situation any less awkward though. I continued returning to dust what came from dust without little care of the happenings around. When I finally exited the dark pits all I found on the pole was my tie, carefully placed like a handkerchief on a tux. I started frantically searching the surrounding areas in the hopes that maybe the shirt had been blown by a strong wind but to no avail. So here I was shirtless with at least 300m between me and the dormitories.

I peeked around to make sure there was no teacher around and slowly started making my was back to the dorms. Now following Murphy's law this was not going to be that simple, as I approached the dorm, a teacher appeared from no where, I had to run to the back side of the dorm. So my options were two, stay and get caught which would result in punishment no matter my explanation or climb in through the window and change into a new shirt. I chose the latter, I was almost done changing into the new shirt when I heard the teacher walk into the dorm. I rapidly flew out the window without a second thought and made my way towards class via numerous deviations of course, couldn't afford to be caught after all that.

The anticipation as I watched the teacher complete his rounds almost killed me but it seems I had eluded him for the moment, it would seem my luck would hold. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

#PoetsCorner: You Remind Me

You remind me of a time
simple, sublime
when life was made of sense
and the sword mightier than the pen
maiden in high towers round tables and power.

You remind me of a life
full of joy , full of love
romance ruled the day
lust conquered the night.

You remind me that there's hope
when the darkness does engulf
tunnel light is all that's left
and tomorrow brings a better day.

You remind me , yet I would rather forget
and let my mind be free the shackles
of memories cause it hurts to remember
and I would rather be free