Having attended Mwisho wa Lami Primary School and Mwisho wa Lami Mixed Day Secondary School, visiting day was something I never experienced. In fact, before last weekend, the only other time I was ever visited was while at Kilimambogo TTC by my brother Pius.
I don’t like remembering that visit. It was my last term there and Pius had just got a job and paid a quarter of my college fees that term. While other visitors carried large paper bags bearing sugar, juice, biscuits, margarine, Pius only had a newspaper.
“We are really toiling out there to get money to pay for your fees,” he said. “You therefore need to work extra hard in your studies and graduate with first class honours.” Pius went on to lecture me on how life out there was hard.
I had thought having come empty-handed, he would leave me with some good money. But, after a one-hour lecture, he gave me Sh100.
“Uchumi ni mbaya,” he said sternly, “tumia hii pesa vizuri.” He did not even leave the newspaper.
Although he paid only a quarter of my fees during my last term at Kilimambogo, Pius keeps telling everyone how he educated me when I was in college.
I may have missed being visited at school and college but, last week, I was visited big time.
Now you will remember the differences we had with Aunt Albina a few weeks ago when I preferred to watch an Ingwe match rather than travel with her housegirl back home. After that episode, Auntie Albina and I never “heard ear to ear”.
But a few days after I landed in Nairobi, she called. “I want you to talk to your young cousins and encourage them to be successful in life like you,” she said. “Are you allowed visitors at KU?” she asked.
“Come any day,” I replied.
“Tukuletee nini?” she asked.
I did not have to think too much about what they could bring me. “Quencher, scones, sugar, cocoa and unga ya kusiaga,” I said. I was broke.
The week before, I had been swimming in money, doing booming business at KU, and making good profits. But, as I came to realise, enemies of development are everywhere, and they don’t sleep.
Someone reported this to the university administration and, on the day when we had put all the money in new stock, security officers waylaid us, and confiscated it all.
With a roommate like Wesonga, life was difficult as the only thing he could provide in the room was himself. Aunt Albina’s intended visit could not have come at a better time.
Wesonga was very happy to hear that my aunt would be visiting me the next day. “Huyo Albino mwambie atuokolee,” he said, “tuko mbaya sana.”
That morning, as I left for the library, I asked Wesonga to clean the room. At the library all I thought of what Aunt Albina would bring. I drew up several budgets depending on the money she was likely to give me.
Unable to concentrate, I left the library and started walking back to the hostel. Now, if you have never been to KU, you should know that the university is as big as a city: it has many streets and avenues, a roundabout, skyscrapers, a stadium, a railway station and even a mortuary.
I crossed several streets and was approaching the railway station when my phone rang. It was Aunt Albina. She was at the gate.
Due to the size of the university it was not possible to describe to anyone where Nyayo hostels were, so I went back to the gate to get her.
She had a big paper bag, which I immediately took over, and her sons Theophilas and Japhlet.
We arrived in the room half an hour later. Although Wesonga had done a good job in cleaning the room, he had forgotten a few things. For example, his innerwear was still hanging from the double-decker bed.
Since we had no chair in the room, Wesonga, Aunt Albina and I sat on the lower bed while Theophilas and Japhlet climbed and sat on the upper one.
My aunt opened one of the paper bags and got out a big bowl of food. I borrowed plates and spoons from neighbours and served the food — brown rice with a rumour of meat.
“Mum, mimi sipendi pilau,” said Theophilas. That is when I knew what we were eating was pilau.
“Nyinyi mtaonja tu,” Aunt Albina told her sons. “Chakula ni ya Dre na roomie wake.”
Wesonga and I attacked the food with gusto. We cleaned our plates within minutes and went on to clear what Aunt Albina and her sons had left.
Then Aunt Albina fetched a big bottle of Fanta from the bag. It was much bigger than the madiaba I am used to. I borrowed cups from neighbours and we drank the soda. I wished it were Stoney but enjoyed it nevertheless.
When we were full, my aunt asked us to give the children an academic talk. Unlike many students of their age whom we teach, Theophilas and Japhlet speak good English. After a little chat with them in English, we told Aunt Albina not to worry.
“Theophilas is doing well and can even do KCPE next year,” Wesonga said. He is in Class Five. Aunty Albina was very happy to hear that.
I told her that for someone in Class Three, Japhlet was doing quite well.
“His English is better that many students in Class Eight in Mwisho wa Lami,” I said.
“Hawa watafika university,” Wesonga assured her.
She then ordered the boys to go out and play and asked Wesonga to excuse us for a few minutes.
“Dre, your father does not know how you are performing at the university,” she said as soon as Wesonga walked out. “Can I see your report form?”
I laughed and told her that there were no report forms at the university.
“This is serious, Dre,” she said. “Mmefanya pre-mock? How did you perform?” she asked.
I told her we have no mock but I showed her two CAT papers that we had received. She was satisfied since that I had passed.
“That’s good,” she said, “I hope you are preparing for the university KCPE.” She gave me Sh300.
Wesonga and the two boys came back and they left, leaving us the other bag containing sugar, Quencher, boflo and dengu.
We then walked them to the gate, where they took a matatu to town.
It was indeed a fruitful day.
The next day, Wesonga tried calling some of his relatives in Nairobi to see if we could get another visit. But his two step-aunts had travelled upcountry. They must visit us in August.