When, a few weeks ago, I mooted the idea of starting a high-end, state-of-the-art Academy to serve the sons and daughters of Mwisho wa Lami, enemies of development laughed at me.
They said it would be a non-starter, and that I would not get any student. But to their shock, the school had filled up even before the construction was completed.
From last week, we had three full classes, with plans underway to construct a fourth one. And we already have teachers.
There is Mrs Fiolina Dre, the laugh of my life, serving as the director of the school, and Miriam, who used to teach at Busy Bee Academy.
She comes from the neighbouring village and is married to a son of Alphayo, who has not been seen in the village for years.
She is the one who accepted to be paid Sh4,000 once the school stabilises. But for now, she will be okay with Sh2,500 monthly.
The other teacher is Rumona. Most of you will remember Rumona. She is my former student at Mwisho wa Lami Secondary, where I did my teaching practice.
After she completed her Form Four and scored a D-, she became a BOM teacher at Mwisho wa Lami Primary. Despite my denial, many thought our relationship was extra-academic.
I was vindicated when she got married to my brother Ford, a senior prison warder at Shimo la Tewa Prison in Coast.
The two, Ford and Rumona, were blessed with two children. But things have not been good in the last year or so.
It is alleged that Ford is in the process of marrying a second wife — a prison warder as well. Or is it wardress?
Rumona, knowing that she cannot compete with the lady in Shimo la Tewa, decided to relocate to Mwisho wa Lami, where she would be officially recognised as Ford’s wife by the people who matter.
Last Sunday, I went to interview Rumona in her house at night. She accepted to start teaching at the Academy.
As for salary, she said she would accept anything I would give her, before adding, smilingly: “I know you will take good care of me even better than Ford.” I smiled back although I was not sure why.
I left her house very late that night after taking supper. As the Executive Chairman, I pass by the school every day to preside over strategy meetings.
This involves all the teachers, although Fiolina and I are the final decision makers. Together, we managed to come up with a new name of the school, vision, motto and mission statement. Some were copied while others were original.
Name: FioDrelina CBC Pedagogical Academy, Mwisho wa Lami Campus
Motto: Na Tulenge Juu Zaidi
Vision: Turning your Brats into Brights
Mission: To advance and impart knowledge and education to the sons and daughters of Mwisho wa Lami in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the universe in the fast-paced 21st century and beyond.
With this settled, I directed the teaching staff to embark on serious teaching. We had about 60 students, a majority of whom I suspected were being sent to stay to the school to allow their parents go to vibaruas.
But there was one problem. Only about 10 had paid fees. So last Tuesday, we decided to send some home. We were selective, we did not just send everyone away.
We sent those who we knew their parents had some income and could pay the fee — children of assistant chief, the MCA’s and children of at least three teachers.
Also in the list was the son of Kimani the shopkeeper, and the grandson of Rasto. Rasto’s son bought him a posho mill so he has some income.
And that is where our problems began. You see, in the last few weeks, my father has been very close to Rasto.
In fact, he has been spending most of his time at Rasto’s posho mill. They always go to Hitler’s after serving one or two customers.
On Wednesday, Rasto came to school and told me to allow his grandson to learn, promising to send the money when he gets it.
I told him I couldn’t wait as I needed the money to run the school. “But what do you need the money for?” he asked. “You don’t pay rent, you did not buy the land. And your wife and mlamwa teach here.”
I tried to take him through our expenses but he would hear none of that. “You built the school on family land and want us to pay?” He asked.
“Let me talk to your father. Utajua.” Later that afternoon, I saw Rasto and my father pass by the school while surveying everything.
My father did not speak to me. He had asked that I see him a week earlier but I had not done so. I will go once I get less busy.
The next day, the assistant chief came to plead that her sons be allowed to return to school. I told her she had to pay something little.
“By the way, do you have approval of this school?” She asked. I did not have any. My plan was to apply for approvals next year. With that development, I readmitted her children to school without asking for money.
On Thursday, I received a call from my brother Ford. He said he would be travelling home together with Pius, our elder brother, this weekend to discuss some land matters.
Apparently, my father complained to them that I was developing a piece of his land and making lots of money. Both Ford and Pius were laying claim to the land, but my father said he had not given it to anyone.
Ford told me to start paying a monthly rent of Sh5,000 or look for another parcel of land.
I want them to know that I will not attend their meeting, I will neither pay the rent nor move the school. I am staying put!