When news reached Mwisho wa Lami that the opening date for next term had been extended by a week, Fiolina, Lena and I were over the moon.
Reason? We would make more money from the private holiday tuition we had at home.
Whereas we weren’t receiving as much money as we would have wished, we soldiered on, and prepared to receive more students.
Who knows, I may even make more money than I would have made had I been appointed an enumerator for the 2019 National Population Census.
You see, even though I am one of the most experienced persons around in matters census, I was overlooked. Clearly, the process was rigged even before it began.
That’s how the children of the chief, assistant chief and MCA all got jobs.
I decided to concentrate on Dre-lena Academic Venture. After all, tuition is something that can be done throughout the year. The census happens once in 10 years!
On Monday, we administered a similar examination to Class Seven and Class Eight. To our shock, Class Seven pupils performed better than Class Eight in mathematics and science. By a huge margin.
I was so upset with my Class Eight students. They were just lucky it was a private holiday tuition. Otherwise, they would have known me in my true colours.
So, I just pinched the ears of those who had scored below 40 per cent using my bunch keys. It was painful. One girl bled but not seriously.
“I am very broke,” Lena, her bad hair in tow, told me during our tea break on Wednesday.
Tea is usually prepared by my mother while Fiolina prepares lunch and brings it to school every day. “I know,” I said to her. “I am also broke, very broke.” “Can I get like Sh1,000 today?” She asked.
While I felt for her, I wondered where she expected me to get the money from. As at that day, I had collected Sh3,240, out of which Sh1,500 went to my wife and mum for preparation of meals; and Sh500 bought stationery like chalk, dusters among others. As for the rest, only Hitler could explain where it had gone to.
“We have no money,” I told her. “Tunaendea tu maji. Mwisho wa Lami parents don’t pay school fees,” I told her I would share with her proceeds from the next collection.
“This is so unfair,” she said, visibly upset. “I work so hard kumbe it is for your wife and mother’s food? Whom do you think I am?” She asked, arms akimbo.
“Even me I haven’t paid myself, Lena,” I said. “And what food are you talking about that costs such an amount?” She asked.
“I don’t even eat it, it’s so badly cooked.”
“I can’t believe I am doing most of the work here yet I haven’t touched even a shilling. Just a week with my Class Seven pupils and they are already beating your Class Eight in exams. I actually should be earning more,” she said.
That got me thinking hard, and I decided to launch my investigations into the performance.
I went to Class Seven and picked some of the exam sheets from random students. I found that they had all failed the same questions.
I called some in the staffroom — what was previously our bedroom — and gave them the same exams. They failed miserably.
“I think your students cheated,” I told Lena. “Instead of working to improve your Class Eight, you are investigating my pupils,” she responded.
But when I showed her the new scripts, she agreed that we investigate the matter further.
We found that one of the boys in Class Seven, who usually keeps the keys to the rooms, had accessed the answer sheets, and shared with another pupil, who shared with others.
I wanted to punish the whole class but Lena would hear none of that.
We reached a compromise and decided to punish only the two boys. So, we gave them some firewood to split for my mother on Thursday morning.
A few minutes after returning to the staffroom, I received a call from a policeman friend of mine.
The girl who had bled when I pinched her ears had reported that I assaulted her, and she was being given a P3 form.
I asked him to ask the girl to show evidence of attending holiday tuition by producing a payment receipt. Her father had not paid anything.
We had not even ended the phone call when I heard a commotion outside. I ran out to find the two boys fighting.
Apparently, each of them wanted to use the axe first so they could go back to class. And a fight ensued.
Barrack Obama, the small one, but who is usually noisy and provocative, was bleeding all over the face and I moved quickly to separate them.
I took him to the staffroom for first aid. A few minutes later, Barrack’s mother was already there, wailing.
“Ilikuwa tuition tulipeleka watoto ama walikuja kufanyia mama yako kazi?” She asked in between sobs.
This being Mwisho wa Lami, I did not need a calculator to know that the matter would be with the chief soon, and before we know it, with the county education office.
So, I called Lena and we agreed to close the tuition centre immediately just encase any government officials decided to ambush us.
As soon as Barrack’s condition improved, we released him. I called my policemen friend, and he confirmed that the student who had reported me was unable to prove she was attending tuition at Dre-Lena tuition centre.
He however advised me to lay low for a few days. I swear this is the last time I am ever attempting private holiday tuition.