Busy day. I have two schools – a primary and high school to visit today. St. Anne’s Junior Academy have gone all out and I am in absolute awe. On arrival I am taken to the Principal’s Office to sign the Visitors’ Book (I am actually getting used to this. Then the Vice-Principal who also heads the English department comes in and tells me the children are ready. She is an energetic lady and has wit to match. I am addressing the children outside so when I emerge I am told the first thing expected of me is to inspect the Guard of Honour. Yes. You got that right. A guard of honour of the Guides (you know the ‘be prepared’ kids?). I am trying to give the occasion the solemnity it deserves but I am dying to laugh. Guard of Honour, really? I am some average little writer but I cannot say no because I hear from the VeeP that they spent a lot of time practicing. O-KEY!
So I end up inspecting the Guard of Honour after all. And then I march in front of the students to my seat. Then one of the English teachers who is MC’ng asks the other staff members to come and introduce themselves. And after, he assures me that the children have prepared some entertainment for me. I nod my head in appreciation. Then a group of Standard 8 girls comes and sings a song that’s still playing in my head.
‘In every thing Kallie. Economically. Academically…’ Yes. I am still laughing. Although I swear at that moment I kept a stern face and applauded solemnly when the young ladies were done. The parents were there as was the Director of the school. All in all, a fun morning.
In the afternoon, I go to St.Monica Lubao, a secondary school. As I chat with the students they tell me that one of the greatest problems they find with their set books in literature is difficult language which make the text incomprehensible. One even asks me to tell some certain older gentleman of letters from the continent to make it easier. I laugh and answer by paraphrasing a certain Bra Zakes, ‘no-one can tell anyone how to write, when to write, or what to write.’ I suggest that perhaps they make use of the local library in Kakamega for dictionaries and then perhaps summarising the stories for themselves in simpler language. Sorry. It’s the best I can do with someone’s work that has to be read for exams.
In the evening I go off with the boys from the Foundation to Franka Hotel – a dodgy-looking but really quite fun joint. Service is not too impressive as I find myself, after 12 minutes, having to walk to the bar to get my own drink despite the boys having told me to wait for the server. One of the boys tells me that they have been drinking since 2pm – ‘what about the liquor law?’ I ask. They crack up. That only applies and is enforced by teetotallers in the company of drinkers, I am told. Apparently what they do even in the not-so-rich places is to get a glass and start with a bottle of ginger ale which shall forever remain in place after being emptied as beer is replaced in the glass. I wonder what would happen if this law was passed in South Africa? I finally get to have nyama choma and although it takes a long time to get to us, it is well worth the wait. Then I get on a boda-boda and make my way back to the hotel.