My morning is lazy and free. After going through the students’ work for the other schools, I decide to work off yesterday’s food by going for a swim. The pool attendant says to me, ‘madam, welcome to the pool.’ The pool is heavenly. Later as I am going up to the room, I ask the waiter for a flask of water. ‘Hot or cold madam?’ he asks. ‘Hot water for tea sir’ I answer. ‘Oh? You are very welcome madam.’ I had not noticed it before but as I recall the conversations of the last few days I realise, the folks in Kach are very welcoming. Its only natural that when he brings the flask of water, instead of ‘thank you’ I look at him and say deadpan, ‘you are very welcome sir’ to which he responds, ‘welcome.’ Karibu sana indeed!
We go for lunch at Kula Korner again. A man who is on the table next to us orders a Tusker – and gets it….I complain to the manager. ‘ah, pole madam. I wasn’t here yesterday. Do you want me to get you one now?’ See what I mean about drinking for the rich? The average Kakamega resident cannot afford to eat at Kula Korner. I shake my head no.
I have a school to visit and perhaps going there with beer fumes on one’s breath is not the best first impression to make. After lunch, I visit my first school – Friends Secondary School, Handidi. My first stop is to the Principal’s Office. Here too, I am ‘welcome.’ Must tell you, visits to the Principal’s Office are a little less scary when you are over 21 like I am. Everyone calls me Madam Zukiswa…for a moment I think they must have read my True Love piece. It’s awesome and I feel so grown. The talk with the students goes well and I get some interesting questions. The school has put themselves out and bought a crate of sodas. I am torn between the children watching me drink and eat or passing on the food to one of the children. It is a problem that will haunt me for the whole of this trip. In this instance though, I decide to go ahead and drink my warm Sprite out of politeness. Tomorrow is my all free day and I have convinced my host that I would be very happy to make it to Kisumu 45 minutes away for some tilapia from Lake Victoria. I am hoping, while there, to also pay a visit to one of my favourite Kenyan writers and a family friend, Asenath Bole Odaga if I can get her. In the interest of local writers, I need to get some of her children’s books as I will be visiting a primary school in the course of my journey and the only children’s author I have brought is the brilliant Ellen Banda-Aaku (one day I shall claim that it’s in the interest of pan-Africanism but really its cos I love Ellen’s children’s books).