“Touch your toes!” was always the pre-requisite phrase by Mr Kangethe, our primary school headmaster, just before he caned us.
“Auuiiiiiiiiiiiii, hurumia sisi mwalimu,” Difre would scream. Mr Kangethe had been nicknamed Kimoda for his strictness.
He had the body of a heavy weight boxer and I felt he was infringing on a basic human right whenever he used his muscles to discipline his pupils.
He was a believer and doer of the blessed word, constantly reminding us, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” at the parade grounds every morning.
“Ngai fafaaaaaaaaa, sitarudia tena,” Kamos the weakling of our group begged Kimoda to forgive him.
Our sin was that we never took Home Science seriously despite efforts to make us see the “beauty of the subject”.
The practical tasks included sewing vests among other things that Difre refused to do.
Kamos was simply a victim of circumstances; he always found himself following our ill-fated decisions blindly. It was on Thursday and we usually had Home Science double right after lunch break.
“Excuse me teacher, may I go to the toilet?” Difre requested Mrs Bundi. It was a simple trick, ask the teacher for permission to go to the toilet, once granted one would go and hide in the school farm section until the end of the lesson.
“You have just come from lunch break, sit down,” Mrs Bundi responded, Difre’s plan backfired horribly.
During the 10am break, while other pupils were outside playing, I had wisely sneaked back to class and stolen Susan’s sleeveless top and placed it inside my locker ready to unveil it once Mrs Bundi came to class.
But five minutes before Mrs Bundi came to class, Susan noticed her sleeveless top was missing and she started crying.
Seated three rows behind her, I watched all this unfolding whispering through my teeth, “will someone please tell her to stop crying or else she is going to ruin my plan.”
“Why are you crying?” Mrs Bundi asked while holding her shoulder gently.
“Someone has stolen my sleeves top, yet you said that today we are having presentations,” Susan answered.
“Place all your sleeveless tops on top of your lockers, and that is not a request but an order!” an agitated Mrs Bundi shouted.
“Mwalimu ni hii!” Susan shouted as soon as I placed “my” sleeveless top on my desk
Apparently, I had forgotten to remove the initials of her name (S.A) Susan Akinyi that was sewn under the armpit.
I was doomed!! My plan had failed terribly.
“Go kneel outside,” Mrs Bundi ordered.
Unfortunately for Difre whose earlier plan had backfired and Kamos who lacked a backup plan, the teacher ordered them to kneel outside after she found out they did not have sleeveless tops unlike the rest of the industrious and obedient pupils.
Kimoda found us there and caned us a good one.
That’s why I hate Home Science.