- Life outside school is difficult. I can’t walk around Mwisho wa Lami in peace. I owe almost everyone some money: Hitler, Anindo the milk supplier, Maina the shopkeeper, name them. Being in school for me is therefore more peaceful.
- Things are so bad that I have had to borrow money from my mother. My mother who has never worked a day in her whole life. I even no longer walk around with my phone. I switched it off. Because the only calls that come in are from people asking for money.
- Nzomo, my beautiful colleague remains holed up in Nunguni, unable to raise money to travel to Mwisho wa Lami. Sella has been playing hide and seek with the landlord. You heard what happened to Saphire last week.
Your Excellency Sir,
My name is Mwalimu Andrew. Or Dre for short. I hope your people have told you about me.
But just in case they haven’t, I am the Deputy Headmaster of Mwisho wa Lami Primary School, a position I got after years of sweat, blood and tears. I actually should be the HM of this great school were TSC to be serious, but that is a story for another day.
Besides my many academic certifications from Kilimambogo TTC; and recorded successes in choir, volleyball and leg ball; I am also a scholar at Kenyatta University and a man renown in this county and beyond for his strategic foresight, pedagogical wisdom, warmth of character, and natural intelligence. That is why during census, elections and referendum, the government of Kenya always relies on me to run things in Mwisho wa Lami.
With all these accolades and expertise, I should be respected. But I am not.
All because I am broke. As a teacher, I hope Kaimenyi has told you that he pays us peanuts. Most of the time we can’t make ends meets. But this month there are even no ends for us to try to make meet since we received nothing in our accounts last month. Zero. Not that we would have received a lot but that little means quite a lot to us.
And this has put me in such shame and problems. Many problems.
Let’s start with the immediate ones for me. My son, Branton, was last week chased from Busy Bees Academy, as I have not paid any school fees since he enrolled; and the owner of the academy, Tito, did not see any hope of money coming from my end soon. Branton is now staying with me at home, but spending most of the time at his grandmother’s, for in my house, even the few cockroaches that remained are complaining. The bright cockroaches and rats already left for greener pastures.
The house that I started constructing last month stalled. All I managed to do was dig the foundation, which was covered after a week of heavy rainfall. As such, it seems that I will remain in this simba in my father’s compound for some time, something that does not befit the status of a deputy headmaster.
Mr President, even walking around Mwisho wa Lami is difficult. You must have been told that I go to school very early and leave very late. That is true and everyone thinks I am a dedicated teacher. That is partly true, but there is a different reason why I spend most of my time at school. Life outside school is difficult. I can’t walk around Mwisho wa Lami in peace.
I owe almost everyone some money: Hitler, Anindo the milk supplier, Maina the shopkeeper, name them. Being in school for me is therefore more peaceful. Last Wednesday, I stumbled upon some Sh50 in one of my pockets. You should have seen how I celebrated.
I don’t want to tell you all my problems. Were I to tell you all, I would tell you about Fiolina, the enviable laugh of my life. She studies at Morisot TTC and the fees for this term hasn’t been paid. And I do not know if it will be paid. Last weekend she was chased from school but did not travel as she had no transport to come home.
When I told her that I had no money, her response to me was embarrassing to say the least. “Go withdraw money from MPESA,” she texted me. “Si walimu wamechangiwa pesa? I am not a full,” she was refering to the “Okoa Walimu” fundraising initiated by the opposition sometime back.
Things are so bad that I have had to borrow money from my mother. My mother who has never worked a day in her whole life. I even no longer walk around with my phone. I switched it off. Because the only calls that come in are from people asking for money. But what is surprising, and several teachers have complained, is that no one is picking our calls. Mr President, calls from teachers are not being picked across the country as everyone knows that we want to borrow!