That is why I miss the sweet old days when I was as confused as the bomuu that I was. There is this day when we were going back to school after the holidays and was late as usual. When I got to Giagatika, a pickup belonging to a form two student’s dad in our school stopped and they told me to get in. well, that’s not what they meant for there were three people in the front, one of them my schoolmate. I therefore had to climb to the back of the pickup. After several minutes, I managed to get in, or is it on?
A few metres up the road, there was a primary school whose name I cannot recall. All I know is that they were going home from school and when the boys saw me hugging myself close to protect myself from the cold, they started laughing. As expected from a confused form one, I thought that I was doing it wrong for I was seated on the spare tyre. I’d never been on a pickup before and I assumed that the reason they were laughing was because I was seated and not standing as I still see young men doing in our village up to now. And that’s when the stupid me stood!! Hands spread wide to balance myself with the grip, I towered over the moving vehicle!!
Alarmed, the driver stopped the vehicle and asked whether I was alright. I could not even answer. I just sat down quietly and we moved on. I don’t have to say that I avoided that girl like a plague after that.
But I later got used to being a high school student. The only problem was that I never got full from the food they served us. So by the time I was in form three, I had devised ways of getting nourished in my own weird ways. For one, I became a farmer; I knew where to get bananas, sugarcane and pawpaws, passion fruits, guavas and mangoes. I know that some of my former schoolmates don’t even know that these things existed.
The only problem that presented itself was that the mangoes could not be taken as they were; so small, immature and very bitter. A series of steps needed to be carried out in order to make them palatable. The first and most important was to look for sizable stones. This is because the mango trees were very humongous towering over the white convents that were beside them. The rocks would be thrown anyhowly (this is not an English word; use it at your own risk) hoping that one would hit a fruit.
Normally, I would get two mangoes after about seventeen throws. This would be followed by some chemistry; using a spoon to scoop out the flesh being very careful not to crush the seed which was normally very soft. (As I said, the fruits were usually very young which explains the bitterness.) The scooped out matter (White in colour) would then be put in a mug and sugar added to it. This had two advantages. The bitterness became bearable and the second advantage is rather biological; osmosis which resulted in some juice to be enjoyed after the feast. Two mangoes were enough to make one very full. And by one I mean me.
I especially loved Mondays and Fridays for we took rice for supper rather than ugali. Though it looked more like ugali than rice, I still preferred it to the ugali they served us. I have never understood how a normal person, in their right mind would serve ugali with potato stew! Seriously??? I hated that stuff; ugali served with potatoes, carrots, cabbages and at times a piece of meat. Three times a week to be more precise.
It was on a Friday and as usual, I wanted to take two plates of my favourite meal. What we’d do was queue, get the first plate, come place it on the table, join the queue again, get the second plate and then get down to business.
On this particular day, the cateress really looked at me the first time I went for my share. I decided to disguise myself the second time by borrowing a friend’s spects. Things worked out just fine until when I had to pick up the food from the stone slab. My hands kept meeting in the air. The spects sort of raised the food and I just could not place it. Everyone was now looking at me. The hungry form ones cursing, as my classmates laughed knowingly. I had to tilt my head awkwardly in order to see the food. I guess the cateress realized what was happening but decided to let it go. I had tried anyway….