As a parent who is interested in giving my son Branton the best education ever, last term, I moved the brat from Mwisho wa Lami School to Busy Bee Academy. For those of you who do not know Busy Bee, you will remember that this is a private academy in Mwisho wa Lami owned by Tito. I taught Tito at Mwisho wa Lami Primary a few years ago, who then went to Mwisho wa Lami Secondary where he graduated with a strong D-minus.
His wife, Sandra, who serves as Chief Operating Officer and happens to be Hitler’s daughter, did not go beyond primary school, having garnered as many marks as the votes Jirongo got in most polling stations. I must, however, say that the girl could have performed better were it not for the fact that in the year she was in Standard Eight, she was already Tito’s wife!
But as you know, even when God denies you one thing, He makes up for it with another. While the two were not endowed academically, they were talented in money-making skills, particularly in an area where they were not so good at – the academia.
Busy Bee started off as a small tuition centre operating from Tito’s Simba (hut) a few years ago and has grown in leaps ad bounds to become a serious school this side of the Sahara. Two years ago, Branton was a student at this school, but I had to pull him out after I differed with Tito following huge fee claims. That however was not exactly the reason. We differed over tuition fees after he swindled me of a fortune. You will all remember how we organised tuition for 2016 KCPE students. While I was the main tutor, Tito only provided a venue and advertising. But he gave me less than 20 per cent of the proceeds and paid himself and the wife the rest – claiming that he did not pay himself but the school – for facility improvement.
In revenge, I moved Branton from his school to Mwisho wa Lami Primary. But things did not go well here. You will remember that in first term, Saphire was in charge of Branton’s Standard 2. The whole term, Saphire must have been in class only twice. I had to move the boy – again! There was, however, another reason why I decided to move Branton back to Busy Bee. You see, when Branton joined Mwisho wa Lami Primary, I did not buy him school uniform – he wore Busy Bee Academy uniforms, which were still new.
But enemies of development in the school led by Mr Kuya and Madam Ruth, would regularly send the boy home just to spite me. I say so because there are so many kids that didn’t have the school’s proper uniform who were never touched.
“I don’t understand why a teacher can’t just buy uniform for his or her son,” said Kuya one day, moments after sending all the children without uniform home. “I mean, where do we teachers take our salaries?”
I did not need a calculator to know where the discussion was headed, and I concentrated hard on the novel I was reading; my all-time favourite novel ever written – John Kiriamiti’s My Life In Crime.
Luckily, Mrs Atika came to my rescue: “Kuya please don’t talk like that,” she said. “Right now your salary seems a lot because you are not yet married and have no needs. The moment you will get married you will start respecting Sossion.”
“I know we are not very well paid,” Kuya said. “But we are better paid than so many other people out there. And since we are teachers, don’t you think we should prioritise the education of our children, starting with uniform?”
“School fees and uniform are not the only things you need to buy as a parents,” said Erick.
“Surely guys, school uniform is not very expensive,” said Madam Ruth, with whom I had differed after I refused to allow her pick the times she wanted on the school time table. “Surely a deputy HM’s salary can afford uniform for several children.”
“Has anyone heard the bell ring?” I asked, to divert attention. No one answered me, but I decided to leave the staffroom immediately. Soon however, I realised that all teachers who had a grudge with me started getting back to me via Branton. If he was not among the children being brought to the staffroom over noise making, he was there for late coming, or something called “non-workers”.
The last straw was when Lena, who was on duty, one day asked all the late comers to kneel in the staffroom. Branton was among them. Looking at the boy, she said. “Kila siku uko staffroom na makosa,” she said. “Uko na wazazi aina gani hawajakufunza adabu?”
I have no idea whether she knew that Branton was my son. “Bring your parents tomorrow, I want to know them,” she said to the boy.
Before he could answer, Mrs Atika, whom I had given friendly lessons, came to my rescue.
“I know the parents but let’s deal with the boy as an individual,” she said.
“Branton kuja hapa,” she talked to Branton for some time, then released him to go to class. I was watching this from my office. This was too much to take and I decided to take Branton back to Busy Bee come second term.
Tito and his wife Sandra had initially refused to admit the boy, claiming that Branton had a balance the last time he had been as pupil there. Once I reminded them how much they owed me, both financially and academically, they accepted the boy, but we agreed that I would pay the fees.
I managed to pay some money end of June and some more end of July – although I did not complete the fees. And now we have already started quarrelling with Tito and his wife. Instead of talking to me directly about fees, before long, the entire of Mwisho wa Lami – and its environs – know that yours truly had not paid school fees for his son.
Everywhere I went, I heard people murmur how I had a big salary, I had been paid by IEBC but could not pay school fees for my son. I could not take it any more and last Tuesday, I confronted Tito.
“What is this I am hearing all over the village about me not having paid school fees?” I asked Tito.
“Talk to Sandra if you have any school fees concerns,” he said. “I only deal with academics.”
I went to Sandra and reprimanded her for telling everyone that I had not pad fees. “When you people disappeared with my tuition money, did I ever tell anyone?” I asked her.
“Sorry Dre but the discussion is on Branton’s fees, not tuition,” she said calmly. “Have you paid or have you not paid?”
“My question was why you are telling everyone,” I said.
“But is it not true that you haven’t paid school fees for you son?” she asked, now shouting, and attracting the attention of other parents waiting outside.
“A whole deputy complaining about primary school fees, will you afford Form 1 if Branton gets to secondary?” she asked.
“Secondary school will be free when Branton get there, regardless of who wins the elections,” I said.
“That may be true but given how stupid and rude the boy is, I doubt he will even go to secondary school,” she said. “He may not even complete primary school.”
I could not take it anymore. But being a peace loving citizen, I left the school together with Branton and walked home. And since I could not take him back to Mwisho wa Lami Primary where I taught, I talked to my sister Yunia who accepted to host Branton. He will be going to school from Yunia’s home.
Knowing my sister Yunia, I am sure she will milk me dry every month for hosting Branton but I am convinced that is the best environment for the boy to flourish academically!