A few weeks ago, the neighbour kid was having a sleepover at my house. Her mum had gone to shags and didn’t want her exposed to teenage boys like … you know … her brother. So the girl camped at my house. She’s the sweet, soft-spoken type that wouldn’t melt a Patco in her mouth.
One day, she went for a walk with my baby at 6.30 p.m. They were allegedly going to pick up a basketball three gates away. By 7.00, they hadn’t come back, they weren’t answering the phone, and I was worried and willing to throw things. I went looking for them and found them talking to some boys.
The neighbour kid, by the way, is 14. My own baby is 8.
After I was done raising holy hell and scaring neighbourly barmen who had never heard me talk, I sent them to bed without supper [the kids, not the barmen] and called up the neighbour kid’s mum.
[In my defense, my baby rarely eats supper. She snacks at 4.00, watches all the soaps, then blacks out.]
Neighbour kid’s mum showed up the next day, and we were told that neighbour kid was escorting her back to the bus stop. She wasn’t seen again for weeks. Apparently, my frantic yelling was barely intelligible on Safcom in shagsville. The woman heard three words – boy, darkness, mad – and decided her girl was better off arranging three stones and picking firewood.
As for my own little love, I heard her narrating the story to pal the next day.
Princess: I am never coming home after dark again, ever! My mum was soooo mad! She sent me straight to bed! I didn’t even watch In the name of love!
Shocked pal: You didn’t eat?!
Princess: *waving hand dismissively* No, and imagine I missed In the name of love!!
I believe I have officially found my baby’s Achilles heel. Mwehehehehe.
So anyway, when neighbour kid came back, she came by my house to announce that she’s failure.
[Frankly, I was surprised she was still talking to me!]
Apparently, she scored 357 out of a [possible 500] and decided to repeat. She said she had to get 4 sock so she can go to her dream school. Subsequent events proved otherwise.
Her dream school, by the way, is the one I’ve been giving her horror stories about all year. Why? Because I went there.
I attended the *best* school in this country, PB. That’s Riruta by the way, not Liyoki or Kilyungu. I’m talking about the original Precious Blood, the one BBC kept calling the ‘little girls school in the slum.’
Yes, they actually called it that. For about three years in a row.
Now, what makes it the *best* school? Well, we often beat Acrosians and Starehe, we scored high in KCSE, and we had the annoying habit of producing 19 med students at a time. Also, we were run by nuns and insisted on being provincial school. The fees were reasonable as well.
I hear it’s gone national now.
I have a relative there, and I keep meaning to chat her up and see what it’s like. I hear she cries every time school opens, so it can’t be much better than it was. I know that I went there voluntarily, and that kept me sane for the first two years. In Form 3, I chipped, just like everyone else does, and after the whole class took turns making fake excuses to leave the compound, I did too.
My parents were sure I’d gone mad, and they were convinced it had something to do with a boy. My mum – bless her crooked heart – offered to write me a fake doctor’s note. I refused. When I got back to school a ‘fake’ note was demanded, I pissed in my skirt, and I never broke a rule again. Well, almost never.
I won’t go into why PB is a … bad idea. I admit that it has major bragging rights. Twelve years later, people’s eyes still glaze over when I mention I’m alumnus. Other ranks of alumni include Angela Angwenyi and Wahu.
I admit the school made me a better person, taught me discipline and gave me a strong constitution. It taught me about ambition and competition, and shaped me into the woman I am today.
But despite my baby’s pleas, she is NOT going there. Period. She wants to attend the school and be ‘just like me’, but I’d rather she goes to a ‘normal’ school that doesn’t glaze eyes over. Then she can graduate without her mind longing to be wiped.
I spent hours telling her and the kids why they should hate PB. So, I am traumatized that the neighbour kid still wants to go there, especially as I have given her much more detail than I’ve given you. Of course, I was warned before I enrolled, and I didn’t listen either. So like I told her, I’ll just sit here and wait for the horror stories so I can say, ‘I told you so!’
I’ve always said I want my kid in a day school. It has very little to do with my own boarding experience, or with the reasons given here. For me, it’s simply a matter of principle. I want her to go wild right where I can see her. I want to watch the woman that she’s becoming so I can fix her. I know teenagers can’t be fixed, but I want a chance to at least try, and I can’t do that if I see her for 9 weeks a year.
I know we inherited boarding schools from the British, but I don’t know what their original purpose was. I do know that character is built from age 16 to 19, and I would prefer my baby’s character be built by me, not by nuns and maroons, offense meant.
Plus, if she’s a daybug, she won’t have to sneak out of school to go for Sevens. Anyone in PB in 96 knows why that’s a deal breaker. I am still haunted by the voice of Apache’s face and screaming. *shudder*
I know that day schools have their own set of sorrows, the key one being hot little girls in uniform prancing around town in full view of sugar daddies. I suppose I could just chain her to a bed and home school her.
And, of course, my folks don’t see what the big deal is. They both started boarding at age seven, and they can’t see why I’m giving myself a curfew and spoiling her with school buses and packed lunch. *russumfussumcolonialeducationsystem*
As a last resort, I asked the little one if she prefers boarding or day school.
‘Muuum! I don’t want to shower with cold water?!’
That’s my girl.
And before you say it, no, it is not insane to be thinking of high school when my baby just turned 8.