Ol’ Skool

Posted: January 28, 2010 in In Living Memory

I’ve been trying to recall stuff from high school for this post and my oh my…it’s like jumping into a black hole. So I’ll just try and select some random bits and pieces here and there.

 I went to an all-boy’s day school which was one of the best schools in the country in our time (very few schools in Kenya fit that criteria – boys, day and best – so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out). One of the things I loved most about it was the location. It was on a cliff that hung over the shore line overlooking the main entry channel into the port of Mombasa. On one side of the school you could see cars zooming across Nyali Bridge while entering or leaving the island. On another side was a magnificent view of some hotel (I don’t remember the name) while on yet another side you could see the ships as they entered/left the port. It was splendid. The schools architecture was ancient with an Arabic touch and there was a tale that the main building had actually been carved out of stone by the Arabs in the colonial days. However true that is, I have no idea. But perhaps the most fascinating myth about the building was that it sat on an old Muslim cemetery. This was actually true since the school was partially surrounded by graves and in the four years (give or take) that I was there I witnessed at least four burials. In fact, right in the middle of the school grounds was a monument erected in honor of some prominent Sheikh who had apparently been buried on the grounds. Yet another myth (there were hundreds of ghost stories doing rounds) had it that a pot of gold had been buried beneath the building to appease the spirits of the dead. One day I intend to physically prove the validity of that belief…just one day…

Afternoon lessons were my favorites. Not because of the lessons themselves but because of the drama that usually unfolded. Our staple food was Chapatis or Rice with Beans cooked in coconut oil which was a very filling dish. On one occasion, one of my classmates, a dude by the name Mwidau, massacred eight chapatis by himself. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat that much in my entire life. Anyway, after lunch we would go hang out at our base before heading back to class for the afternoon lessons. The problem was that after having such a heavy meal it was usually difficult to stay awake in class in the afternoons. The cool ocean breeze did little to salvage the situation and neither did the bugger who designed our timetables. Somehow the dude always thought it was a good idea to place Literature or Biology in the afternoons. I’m feeling sleepy just imagining it! There was one guy in particular (Moody was his name) who would sleep throughout the entire afternoon. The guy would nap through Maths, Chemistry or History. He had no discrimination whatsoever. The teachers would get furious about us napping especially when we were in our final year but I bet even they understood our situation.

 Then of course there were the girls. As is the case with any teenage boy in high school, a good chunk of our free time was spent chasing after skirts. This wasn’t really difficult because girls would swarm all around us during symposiums and inter-school events. After all, we were the cream of the coast (sic!). One time our class teacher advised us on how to go about such situations; I remember his exact words; “Some of you do not even know what to look for in a lady. When you are going after a lady, look for one with a waist like a wasp, not one with a waist like a sack of maize.” Our self proclaimed sister school also happened to be our academic rival in the province. We had some kind of love-hate relationship which blossomed throughout the year but turned sour when the K.C.S.E exams were around the corner until after the results were out. Then it would culminate in a heated rivalry before mellowing down again. Visiting days at the girls’ school (it was a boarding school) were a major event. Guys from our school would go to unimaginable extremes to outshine one another during such days. Some of my classmates would save throughout the month only to blow all their savings to buy gifts for their girlfriends or hire cars (Orlando, Jobba and Peter come to mind) in an attempt to make a statement. Macho, huh?

Apart from a good education, the one thing I gained the most from high school was ‘friends’. Four years (give or take) spending each and every day with total strangers whom you have little in common with are bound to have an impact on you. And it did with me. Our school was a blend of different religious, ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds yet not one time did I witness any form of aggression or disagreement based on those lines. Instead, it helped us develop life-long ties which we share to date and even though we all went our separate ways after our time together was over, the bonds we made while there remain etched in our personalities and memories for the rest of our lives. And once in a while we do hook up to catch up on old times.

  1. Lt khamis says:

    hehehe moody and mwidau are gonna kill you when they read this huh old school days damn moody was my deckmate nothing wrong in the description you gave lmao!!!

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