When Bensouda threatened to clear us from Mwisho wa Lami Primary, I did not take the threat very seriously— for it was not the first time she had threatened me. She was not even the first HM to promise me the sack. I knew she would forget about it within a week.
But deep down I knew that woman did not like me at all. And, although she could not clear all of us, she clearly would get me out of Mwisho wa Lami if she had a chance. So I was not surprised when last Tuesday, I received a call to go to the County Director of Education’s office. I did not need a calculator to know that something was afoot. For a few days earlier, Bensouda had totally ignored me and was working with Kuya on all Deputy HM roles.
Even before the call, I had heard rumours. Sources close to the source had indicated that plans were at an advanced level to take me to another school either as a demotion or at the same level of Deputy HM. While everyone agreed that I deserved a promotion, everyone knew I could not be promoted with people like Bensouda influencing things.
Several schools were mentioned, one of them being Daraja Mbili Primary, whose Headmaster had lost his job over CK, a teaching professional term that I won’t reveal to non-professionals. Daraja Mbili was still a new school with less than a 100 pupils going up to Class 5. In actual sense, Mr Sande, who had been sacked, was not a headmaster. He was just a senior teacher but since he took care of the school, he was called headmaster.
The story of how he had lost his job was sad. Once the issue of CK was given some credence, the parents marched to the school and physically ejected him from the office and roughed him up. The parents then camped at the school for one week adamant that they won’t allow him to step in the school again.
I know much about the school since this is where Fiolina comes from. In fact, the protests were led by Tocla, Fiolina’s brother, that you all have heard of. And you have not heard anything positive about him.
Come Wednesday and I took my bicycle and went to the County Education offices. It was a little far, but being January, I was not going to waste Sh300 on a matatu for a distance that I could ride on my bicycle. I left very early, at 5am. I was lucky the moon was up and as such, I had covered quite some distance by 7am. I stopped at the first hotel that was open for the sole purpose of rewarding the body that had woken up early and braved the cold to take me to our county offices.
“Nipe chai mbili na chapati tatu,” I said on behalf of the hard working body. I cleared this within minutes and was back on the road, eating the hills and rolling down the slopes at amazing speeds. I arrived at the county offices at around 9.30am. The place was teeming with teachers. Most trees already had bicycles against them and it took me some time to find a free tree against which I could park my bicycle. From here I went to the washrooms to freshen up, wipe away the dust and sweat so that I could look great when meeting the county director. I was at his door at exactly 10am.
Once the secretary identified me, she told me that the director was busy. “He, however, said that you go see the staffing officer.”
It is never a good thing to see the staffing officer, unless you are the one looking for him, and it is always difficult to see him when you are desperate. “Welcome,” the staffing officer said when I got in and greeted him. “What is your name?” he asked. This shocked me. I expected any education official in our county worth his name to know me, being one of the senior-most Deputies who was in actual sense the school head.
“First of all let me congratulate and thank you for the good you are doing at your school,” he said without mentioning the name of the school, which was a clear sign that it was a statement he told every teacher who walked to his office.
“Thank you,” I said, not sure how to answer to such.
“It is for this reason that we have given you a new challenge,” he said. I wondered what the new challenge was, and my heart was beating as I knew I had finally been promoted to a Headmaster. I could not hide my happiness at the prospect of finally heading a school.
“We need you to go and help us at Daraja Mbili Primary,” he said. “Currently the school has no head or deputy and since it is still a small school, I believe it will be a perfect opportunity for you to grow to the next level if you prove yourself.
“I am going as a headmaster?” I asked him.
“No, it is still a small school, we should have a headmaster there in the next one or two years; and depending on how you manage the situation, the post is yours to lose.”
“So it is not a promotion?” I asked the staffing officer.
“It is how you look at it,” he said. “From where I sit I believe this is a promotion. You will have overall responsibility albeit in a small school.”
“I wish it was albeit a big school,” I said, also throwing in a big word. I wanted to reject the offer since the school was in the village where my wife came from and it was a small school. But remembering that the alternative was continuing to work under Bensouda, I accepted – even though I knew this was all Bensouda’s work.
From the office I went to further thank and reward my hardworking body. Teachers Tavern was my next stop. January or no January, I ordered half chicken and ugali; and attacked it from all corners. Satisfied, I hit the road again, arriving at home very late and going straight to Hitler’s.
Word that I had been “beaten transfer” to Daraja Mbili as headmaster had reached Mwisho wa Lami before me, and I received congratulations from everyone at Hitler’s, but many said Mwisho wa Lami would be the poorer without me.
“Bila wewe Bensouda atatuharibia watoto wetu,” said Mr Lutta, whose son was going to Class Eight.
He announced there that his son would go learn from another school, and only come to Mwisho wa Lami to sit his KCPE examination.
I arrived at school late the next morning. Bensouda was already in and no sooner had I settled than she called me. “Congratulations,” she said sarcastically.
“Umetamani kuwa HM sana wacha tuone; ulifikiria ni kazi rahisi,” she said. I did not answer her. “Please hand over everything to Kuya as soon as possible.”
“Is he the new Deputy?” I asked her.
“That is none of your business. You hand over,” she said and ushered me out of her office.
There was gloom and happiness in the staffroom when I went there. Gloom that I was going and happiness that I would no longer be working with Bensouda. “Congratulations Dre,” said Nzomo. “We will surely miss you” Sella and Madam Ruth announced that they would not mind joining me at Daraja Mbili. “If you are looking for a good deputy, look no further than me,” said Sella.
I can’t believe I am leaving Mwisho wa Lami Primary School, the school that made me who I am. I always knew I would leave but the plan was that I would leave to go to a secondary school. I will surely miss this school but I know God has great plans for me, as per His promise in Jeremiah 29:11.
Goodbye Bensouda, bring on Daraja Mbili Primary!