Class 5. Beautiful, bubbly, hardworking, responsible (that is when my mother decided I should know how to cook and do my laundry), excited, curious girl I was. The only thing that mattered at the time were my playmates. How we would skip rope, what is the time Mr. Lion chase, do the cat and mouse game (banya) during P.E. period. God knows how much I loved that period! It was a breather from the tough science and G.H.C teachers!
Laughter, jokes did not start yesterday. Am the type that my mouth goes open and occasionally insects have found way to my esophagus. Someone should have cautioned me against it because it landed me to a school masquerade. I was the laughing stock for almost a week. My first fear of few.
The day was gloomy, it had rained, and I was also on medication since I was sick. During rainy days my school served us lunch in our classes instead of the normal queueing at the kitchen serving quarter. Class 5 was the serving center for the upper classes (class 4-8). As usual, we had no normal method of picking our plates and spoons. We always scrambled for them. Levis, was our funny guy. Actually the funny gang was made up of Beth, Njambi and Levis. I used to stay behind this gang and that is how I got hooked to funny. We landed in trouble so many times for it. We never controlled our laughing style and everything to us was hilarious.
As usual I and the gang went to pick our plates. We were in the middle of laughter, Levis was bending in front of me while I on the other hand, was busy chattering with classmates behind me. At that moment when I did my bend over Levis’ head collided with my teeth (see I was laughing wide open). It was serious as blood started gushing out of his head. In that chaos of confusion, everyone wanting to record information first hand, news did spread out like bush fire as the big masculine boys from classes seven and eight walked in. There is something about a broken voice, been tall, wide shoulders plus a couple of emerging beard that earns men some respect. This were boys, our seniors who would fight each other often. Who even had the audacity to question teachers when punished. Mark you, they knew their rights! (I wish I knew my rights then otherwise they would have heard it from my lawyer!)Teachers would be reprimanded at the headmaster’s office for canning them in the name of ‘kuonewa.’
The Rick Rosses of then surrounded me. ‘Eti umefanya nini?’ (What have you done?) They asked. At that moment I should have broken their circle and ran to the staffroom. That was the only place that needed an explanation not to some spoilt brats. Scared as I was, I did the explanation. They started laughing. I don’t know if it was my timidness, my shrill voice or the fact that I had balancing tears. In my head I kept thinking if Levis was alright. I did not want anyone to die on me. I was brought back to reality by insults. CARNIVORE. CARNIVOROUS. Then some pupils joined in the mayhem of creating a rhythm. CARNIVORE. CARNIVOROUS. CARNIVORE. CARNIVOROUS. That was when I did burst out crying explaining to them I was not a carnivore. Then someone thought PIG actually suited me. The tune changed from carnivore to pig. PIG. PIG. PIG. PIG. They said PIG was a carnivore. Whichever science they were reading!
Finally I broke free and ran to my desk where I wept heavily. You could hear shuddering breaths and sniffs. On a hungry stomach I took my medication and slept. Lunch break was over, my desk mate woke me up when the teacher in session came through. He asked what had happened and yes those boys got a taste of some beating. I did not see Levis till the next day. Luckily, he was alright. Going home was not easy. The stares, jeers and underground humming of carnivore, pig continued. I survived.