In Summary
  • My parents felt it was best for me not to school too far from home given the situation the country was in.
  • Despite having qualified to attend most of the provincial schools I had applied for, my parents forfeited those admissions and sought for a school that was closer home.
  • They made me understand that this was the best decision at that moment.
  • Sadly, when you are a teenager raging with hormones, reason does not always settle in nice and pretty.

I lay in bed on a Saturday afternoon staring at the bottle of Jik bleach placed on the curtain box. I flirted with the idea of swallowing a few drops.

I did not want to take my life, no, I just wanted to draw attention to the seriousness of this issue. I figured if I ingested some of the detergent and got sick enough, my parents would be summoned.

When they came, I would apologise profusely for doing such a foolish thing, then beg them to consider my plea. The thought of my parents getting summoned to school because I had deliberately tried to harm myself made me shudder.

GREATEST CHEERLEADER

I pictured my mom’s pained face-a mixture of hurt and disappointment. Growing up, mom had done everything in her power to nurture an open relationship with me and my siblings.

However, it the thought of my dad that made me instantly rule out the Jik idea. My father would be crushed. He was my greatest cheerleader and had staunch faith in me.

We used to laugh over the fact that were it not for my mother’s stringent interventions, I would be a classic spoilt brat.

The unfairness of putting my loving parents through such an ordeal made the Jik plan lose its appeal. But that did not resolve the ache in my heart. I knew I had to do something and do it soon.

I retrieved a foolscap from my bag and settled down to pen a letter to my parents. I figured it was the best way to express the grievance that had been squeezing the life out of me; I wanted to change schools.

UNEASE IN THE AIR

I sat for my KCPE in 2007, an election year. With the skirmishes that followed the general election, many people refrained from travelling beyond their home-turfs especially in the zones that did not experience the post- election violence.

Our home area in Ngong town was relatively calm although a dark cloud of fear hung in the air as we did not know what the new day would bring.

My parents felt it was best for me not to school too far from home given the situation the country was in. Despite having qualified to attend most of the provincial schools I had applied for, my parents forfeited those admissions and sought for a school that was closer home. They made me understand that this was the best decision at that moment.

Sadly, when you are a teenager raging with hormones, reason does not always settle in nice and pretty.

It did not help that all along my primary school years, my parents had urged me to study had; get 400 marks and above then go to Alliance Girls High School.

My dad had jokingly added that if I didn’t work hard, I would end up in the nearby local school. From as early as eight years of age, I learnt to associate that school with average performance.

Now, this is not true. In fact, the school was upgraded to a national level later on and has gone ahead to produce some of the greatest professionals in the country. I guess my father teasingly said that to motivate me.

THAT SCHOOL

I could not believe that just because I had missed the 400marks target by a whisker, I was being made to go to that school.

They took turns, mom and dad, to make me understand that this was a safety issue. I sulked, nearly skipped my meals but didn’t quite do it and dished them the silent treatment for a day or so.

My dad did not have the courage to plead with after all, he had told me repeatedly that I was to work hard lest I ended up in that school. My mom gives tough love. She is a friend but a mom first, a role she takes very seriously.

A few days later, she announced that we were going for shopping and I knew that the deal was closed; local nearby school; here I come.

On admission day, my father pulled me aside while I was tearfully bidding farewell to the entourage that had brought me to high school. When he begun whispering conspiratorially, my heart warmed with hope. “Daddy is changing his mind,” I thought to myself.

Well, I thought wrong. Partially wrong. He asked me to work very hard in my first term and when things calmed down, we would scout for another school. Of course I was not to breathe a word to my mother.

DIFFICULT FIRST FEW WEEKS

The first few weeks were difficult, I won’t lie. The food was horrible which is a lot coming from me because I have an astoundingly hearty appetite.

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