The theme for these 7 days of blogging as a Ugandan Community, is/will be ‘Schools made us no better‘. We shall embark on this journey of What did we Learn? What did we enjoy? Sit tight, belt up and buy a helmet too.
Three years, pronounced as phi-ri, si-ri or phu-ree depending on where you were born, how you were raised or if your maid could construct an English sentence.
Three years, that’s exactly one year after you’ve left that succulent breast. When you’ve stopped wetting your pants, have started seeing the potty as that for babies.
Probably your Parents have birthed one more youngling and you love it, it’s so young and cute, so adorable. Or you don’t you pinch it.
Three years is when you start waking up at 5:30am, eyes closed. Shower, eyes closed. Feed, eyes closed. Dressed, eyes closed and tossed into the back of the car. Guess what, still eyes closed.
You wake up at the gate of your School Office as Pa or Ma continues to Work Office or back to Home Office.
Three years is when you start waking up at 6:00am, eyes closed. You bathe cold water, eyes wide open. Or sometimes when Ma remembered to keep hot water in the flask, that’s if you have; a bit warm water is what you bathe, eyes closed.
Soon your eyes are very much wide open, you have to sit and feed as your Ma prepares your siblings too.
Also the noise your siblings are making, can’t spare you.
You begin the walk to school, hands help by your big sister; adoringly running behind her to keep up with the pace, or occasionally carried like the baby you are.
Ma sees you off till you close that dangerous Death Valley, those dark bushes. Sweater or no sweater, whatever. The good parents can’t afford, but love you.
And your day, your life as a School Children starts. Welcome to School Jail.
For me it was around 22 years ago, in a nursery school called Kindergarten. It had a name but I forgot its name. I’ll check my report cards. And I still have all my report cards, with me in a folder at my place in the bedroom.
I don’t remember much but I know I had shoes, and a new red sweater and a kabooni, a small container. I can’t tell whether my siblings had what I had though. But from stories, I’ve grown up to hear, they walked on foot sometimes. Not because they didn’t possess shoes, but because Sunday Best, also because most of the other kids didn’t own a pair.
We weren’t the Cool Kids, but we had caring parents.
I was young, adorable, naughty, sweet and playful. None has changed really, apart from age perhaps.
I had a friend called Marvin, he was my good good friend, but sometimes he didn’t share his bicycle. But his Mum loved me and that was good enough to make us friends, brothers at that.
Marvin, the Marvin Rukanga was in Middle Class as he was slightly older and bigger than me. I was in Baby Class. At break time, I always went to check on him. And they say i was bright, so the middle class teacher who loved me like, well like love love love was like I could study with Middle kids, and I did.
One morning as I was migrating from Baby to Middle Class, a girl; whose name or form i can’t remember stopped me, blocked my path and later the door to class. See she was big, bigger than all the girls her age.
I might forget her name, but I will never forget her bloody nose. Little me punched big girl in the face and big girl saw stars and a little red. She nose-bled. She cried, I thought rather had a feeling that big girls didn’t cry unless their hearts were breaking. And her heart hadn’t been punched, just her nose; I even doubt she had a heart.
The whole school, Baby Middle Top was paralyzed, news reached the staffroom; since it was break-time and all staff was having tea with Hotloaf buns as we ate whatever we had packed in our little containers.
An Assembly was called, the whole school assembled right there and little me and the crying girl in front, she was sobbing like she’d lost her purse with her Campus tuition and salon money in it.
I almost felt pity for her, almost walked to her to rub the little tears from her eyes, only that I had earlier gifted my ka small handkerchief to another girl who’d puked all her break.
A small argument broke out, my Baby Class teacher, the Middle Class teacher were on the Opposers side, the Headmistress on the proposers side.
Motion: Amanya beat this Girl.
My teachers thought I was Angel reincarnated, my Headmistress thought I was Dracula Reloaded.
And I had no Amicus Curiae, so Ma’am Headmistress with her closing statement, “If he didn’t beat her, who did, did the nose punch itself, or did we admit ghosts?”
The Sentence wasn’t passed, but the verdict was clear. And I felt the sentence drip down my pants, warm at first and very cold later. It was full of shame too, and a beating heart. Madam Headmistress had given me the slap of my life, and everyone was laughing at me like the sucker I was. I could swear that Ma’am Headmistress had overnight turned Slapmistress.
The guilt, the shame, the pity and the wetness, the betray and the lost trust. And that wet patch.
That was my higlight of my Nursery School Experience. And since then, I’ve never laid a finger, rather a hand on a girl. The finger I’ve laid ofcourse, but that’s a story for another time.
That’s how I became a Women’s Rights Activist bordering on Feminist.
School made me no better in becoming better, but I sure made School better for my friends.