I have written this for the longest time possible. In my mind. I didn’t know I was doing it. The pieces just came together. Slowly. One day at a time. Bringing together memories and thoughts from the past and from the present. Building up dreams of the future too. My brain has been full of activity. This story and that story. This thought and that thought. This memory and that memory. Fragments here and there. Piecing up together. Joining each other like Lego. Coming to birth. Continue reading
Today’s Throwback Thursday post is for you 4Wians, class of 2007, Alliance Girls High School. It so happens that I used to record all these things somewhere before I had a blog. Yesterday I pulled out my diary from back in the day and found these funny memories tucked in there. I laughed so hard my baby sister was not pleased with me. Here goes:
If you remember these events (not in chronological order), you were indeed in 4W in the year 2007. I will withhold classmates’ names for obvious reasons.
The day Mr. Ayiro caught us in the noise-making act during preps and switched off the lights on us. That did not stop us from going on. So he came back and ordered out in the dark, outside Homan Block to sing rhymes and singing games. Didn’t we have fun! Unbelievable lot.
The day Mrs. Mbugua made a lecture about noise-making during one of the weekly chapel briefings then we went right ahead to make a din in class. Needless to say, I was one of the main culprits. So we ended up in the farm after finding jembes and changing into those tracksuits. Of course we dug, but not without drama here and there; taking photos, roasting maize, basking in the sweet sun and basically having a blast! Of course there were blisters the next day but hey, we were looking on the bright side.
The day Mr. Nangulu concluded a boring literature lesson by saying something to this effect “Tell your classmates to bring their night gear in the next lesson. The same rain that falls on sugar-cane is the same one that falls (on some bitter herb I cannot remember as I was still half asleep).” Basically he was hinting at all of us who had been aswatch (asleep) for the better part of that afternoon double.
The day Bi. Nkonge caught one of us asleep as usual and told her, “Wewe hata Yesu akirudi atakupata ukiwa umelala!”
The day one of us had not written a certain essay but was unfortunately picked to read it out to the rest of the class. The mad girl went ahead to read a blank page to us. She did it so meticulously she was not caught! For those of us who knew what she was up to, it was downright hilarious!
The day someone suggested that the name Bi. Keti from Mwisho wa Kosa was jina la majazi because the mama had very many problems that made her sit down. And this someone was so serious she did not even flinch when we burst out laughing.
The ‘partnership’ drama between us and 4D across the valley. I will not pursue this further.
The day we had a farewell ‘picnic’ in the field courtesy of Mr. Nangulu. Aaawww, that was just so sweet!
The day 1Wians took our cups from our Para tables and they had to write apology letters to each of us! Aki that was bullying but still funny in retrospect.
Mr. Ayiro’s ‘big word for today’ over his history lessons and the girl who would take out a dictionary every time he walked in.
The day someone scribbled ‘free’ on the space allocated to the history lesson on the chalkboard. Upon seeing this when he walked in, Mr. Ayiro proceeded to tell us that we reminded him of the 3Y class of 1999 whose members were all suspended. *Shiver*
The day we were last to get to parade and to make it worse, some of us were strolling. So when a few of us were already in place on the parade ground, Mrs. Mbugua told the unlucky ones to stop where they were and get out of the school for crosso! (cross country) In the morning! Fully dressed!
The day we sat for a Kiswahili exam featuring never-heard-of methali. One of them read: “Akupaye kisogo__” So one of us bright ones completed it as “Akupaye kisogo labda ana viwili.” Kwaaa!
There you have it. You can’t make this stuff up! Those were good times. There are more memories in the list but I chose to keep them out of here as they are a bit sensitive. If you remember an epic moment I seem to have forgotten, hit me up!
Hope you are all doing well wherever you are Wians, and all Busherians in general. Walk in the light! :*
Naam, umesoma vyema. Sina uhakika kama wahenga wa jadi wangekubali mada kadha katika vitabu vyake. Wallah Bin Wallah ni gwiji wa kufahamika nchini kwa uandishi wake lakini kuna kero nimekuwa nayo kwa muda mrefu. Ingawaje lugha zote hubadilika mara kwa mara, kuna kuketi chini na kukubaliana wakati wa kuzibadilisha.
Kwa nini nimeamua kuongea hivi? Kwa sababu nimekerwa sana dakika chache zilizopita. Dadangu wa miaka minane ameniita nimsaidie kumaliza kazi yake ya ziada. (Kama umefikiria kuhusu Mwalimu Wanjiku uliposoma sentensi hiyo, tafadhali weka simu ama kifaa chochote kile unachotumia kusomea chapisho hili na uoshe uso wako kisha urudi ukiwa makini.) Kama kawaida, niliacha nilichokuwa nikifanya na kuangalia kitabu chake. Swali lilikuwa katika somo la saa.
Punde tu aliponiuliza swali lenyewe, nilifikiria Wambui alikuwa ameshindwa kuelewa jambo rahisi sana. Kwa hivyo nikamwambia aache uzembe na asome swali tena. Kitabu alichokuwa akitumia ni Kiswahili Mufti, Darasa la Tatu. Mara moja, dadangu alianza kulia na kusema simuelewi kwani hajui kusoma saa kwa Kiswahili. Hapo ndipo niliamua kuwa makini na kuelewa kwa nini alitatizika.
Ukurasa wenyewe ndio huu unauona hapa. Wallah Bin Wallah aliamua kuandika kitabu kinachofunza saa kwa Kiswahili kinachotafsiri Kiingereza neno kwa neno, yaani 6:15 am ni saa sita na robo.
Hazikupita dakika mingi nilipokumbuka mara kadha tuliyojibizana na mwalimu wangu wa Kiswahili miaka mingi iliyopita nilipokuwa darasa la nane. Wallah Bin Wallah hakuwa amekita mizizi katika mashule nyakati hizo kwa hivyo sisi wanafunzi wa karne ya ishirini hatukukumbwa na mkasa huu wa kizaazaa cha Wallah. Hata hivyo, mwalimu alikuwa ashapata kitabu hiki kipya na akatujulisha kuwa saa inafaa kusomwa kama vile tulivyofunzwa kwa Kiingereza.
Sikuwa na budi ila kumuuliza kwa nini waandishi wa habari huwa hawasomi saa kwa mtindo huo mpya. Mjadala ukaendela hadi somo likaisha na hatukuelewana. Mwishowe, mtihani wa KCPE uliwadia na kulikuwa na swali kuhusu saa (kama nakumbuka vizuri). Hadi wa leo sijajua kama nilipita jibu au la.
Turudi mwaka wa 2014. Nilishindwa kumwambia dadangu anavyofaa kujibu hayo maswali. Isitoshe, ana vitabu viwili vinavyotofautiana. Kimoja sio kingine bali ni cha Wallah Bin Wallah na hicho kingine nilitumia mimi mwenyewe, ingawaje chapisho la kwanza; Mazoezi ya Kiswahili.
|Je, huu ni ungwana?|
Mwishowe ilimbidi babangu amempa majibu bila hata kusuluhisha swala lilokuwa mbele yetu. Nilipomuuliza kwa nini aliamua kuchukua njia rahisi badala ya kujua tutakavyo saidia Wambui, alikiri ya kwamba alikuwa amechoka. Kwa kweli mzee hawezi elewa mtindo mpya ulibuniwa wapi na lini kwa hivyo majibu aliyompa yalikuwa yanafuata mtindo wa kitambo.
Ebu jiulize, wakati Harith Salim ama Lulu Hassan wanapokuletea habari katika runinga, wanakwambia ni saa moja ama saa saba? Kwa nini Kiswahili Mufti pekee yake huhubiri injili ya kusoma saa kama inavyosomwa kwa Kiingereza?
Labda njia yake Wallah Bin Wallah ndio sahihi, labda sio. Hata labda alikuwa anafuata mtindo wa Kiarabu ambapo saa husomwa hivyo. Na kwa vile Kiarabu kinachangia pakubwa katika lugha ya Kiswahili, ninaelewa. Lakini pia lugha za Kibantu zinachangia pia, na saa husomwa tunavyofahamu wengi wetu. Shida yangu ni kwa nini hamna njia moja iliyo mkataba?
Ni muhimu kutaja kuwa kati ya vitabu vitatu vya Kiswahili anavyovitumia dadangu, kimoja tu ndicho kinachoshikilia usomaji wa saa hivi. Pia ni muhimu kuashiria kuwa, hata kama ni kitabu cha Wallah pekee kina maandishi haya juu yake “Kimeidhinishwa na K.I.E”, ni dhahiri kuwa vitabu vyote vimeidhinishwa na shirika hili.
Haya. Maswali yangu ni matatu tu. K.I.E (Siku hizi inaitwa K.I.C.D (Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development)) inawezaje idhinisha vitabu vinavyofunza mada tofauti na kutatanisha watoto wasio na hatia? Mtu mmoja anawezaje ruhusiwa kutunga mitindo inayochukuliwa na walimu ovyo ovyo bila kutiliwa maanani? Kwa nini wanaohusika katika silabasi za shule ya msingi wananyamaza tu na kuongea tu wakati swala lisilo na mbele wala nyuma kama kufunza watoto kwa lugha ya mama linapochipuka?
Nitaondoka sasa. Nina matumaini nitapata jawabu hivi karibuni. La sivyo Wambui atakua akiwa na jinamizi la kusoma saa. Kusoma saa kwa Kiingereza ama lugha yoyote ile ni ngumu kupindukia kwa mtoto wa rika yake tayari.
(Kama kuna makosa katika chapisho hili, tafadhali mniwie radhi. Imekuwa muda mrefu sana tangu niandike kwa Kiswahili kwa urefu. Mara ya mwisho ilikuwa mwaka wa 2007 nikiwa kidato cha nne. Kiswahili nilikipita lakini niliamini kwa dhati ya kuwa nilipoteza wakati mwingi sana nikisoma juu ya viambishi, lakabu na misimiati mingine nisiyofahamu sasa. Ningeandika kwa Kiingereza lakini hiyo ingekuwa kinyume na mada ninayojaribu kuwapa.)
Is there something wrong with speaking in your vernacular in a public place? What exactly makes it wrong? It is a language like any other. Personally, Kikuyu is the first language I learnt so I know it better. I love it.
I will even write in Kikuyu, which most people my age cannot for some reason. I will write it on social media. There those that get offended when this happens. I still do not get why they get offended. I am not speaking ill of anyone when I do.
In fact, that is where the problem lies. We tend to assume that when someone speaks in their vernacular, they are trying to hide something. The assumption is actually valid since there are many who do it to hide insults aimed at other citizens who will not understand them.
But we have to understand one thing, this is Kenya. It is a country where English is a second or even third language to majority of its occupants. It is not like some other countries where only one or two languages are known across its boundaries. We, therefore, cannot carry out communication like we live in one of those countries. Kenya is made up of over forty tribes which come with their own distinct language. I would like to believe that each of them is proud of their mother tongue and would not want to extinguish it in favour of another.
Loving your language is not being tribal. I am not saying that one should walk into a public office and speak to the receptionist in their mother tongue. First of all, there is no guarantee that she or he will understand you. Second of all, it is shows how narrow-minded you are. It is a shame to go speaking to everyone in the country in your language just because you think it is ‘the third national language’.
Coming from Kikuyu, I know first-hand how everyone assumes everyone in the place is Kikuyu. I would understand an elderly man or woman talking to me in their first language but not any other person. In the market, shops, churches there will always be that Kikuyu cropping up to pass the message better. I imagine how it feels like for another person who does not understand the language.
I quit imagining how it feels like to that person when I began my studies in Eldoret. Here, Kalenjin is predominant. There are times I sit in a matatu and feel totally lost because the radio is blasting out things I do not know and locals around are engaged in conversation I cannot understand. Even in the office scenario, I have experienced this. At the beginning, I used to get very uncomfortable and mad.
Then I remembered where I come from. This is exactly what goes on and since I am on the side that comprehends everything, I never find it awkward.
It is no longer 1800 where our forefathers spoke in their language because they lived in tribal villages with the occasional interaction with another community through the silent trade and such. It is the year 2012, where a lot of us have gone to school and have been taught that Swahili is the national language as well as the official one alongside English.
It is not wrong to talk to someone who understands what you are saying in whatever language. It is, however, wrong to use your tongue to harass another, just because you feel untouchable in the reality of their not knowing what it means until they source for translators.
It is not wrong to be proud of your language; it is, after all, part of your heritage. There is nothing wrong with updating your status or tweeting in it. It only becomes a problem when you realize that translating it to someone will unearth something you want to hide.
There are so many things that only come out best in your native language. That is something that will never change.
In this same nation, there are those of us who were born by two parents who speak two different languages and hence know neither or both. How beautiful, a mash-up of two native languages, right? Yes, it is 2012 and a child can live in a community without necessarily speaking their language because there are national languages to enhance interaction. (I smile when I think of my future children. I will certainly not let language, and more specifically tribe, dictate who their father will be.)
Unity in diversity is beautiful. That is what Kenya is. Beautiful because even in the midst of all those languages, we still interact peacefully and even learn other languages in the process. I know a few words in Kalenjin. It feels so nice because you realize that a language is not necessarily a barrier if you embrace it with a learning attitude.
I love my language. I love songs sang in my language. Songs are powerful. A song made me write this post. A song I found hilarious at first and laughed so hard because I thought it was stupid.
Then I remembered that music is powerful and there are specific people who listen to the song and continue keeping grudges because a musician they respect says they should. And let us not forget the politician who stands on a podium and insults a rival in his or her language when the rest of the speech had been made in Swahili.
They could do it to connect with the crowd, which is human. But misusing that connection is downright shameful.
Use whatever language you choose wisely. In any case, an insult in English is still an insult in Kikuyu. Mind your language.
Once upon a time, Caroline loved reading. Maybe it was the curiosity that comes with childhood. Maybe she was just different. Whatever the case, the fact is she loved reading. She read everything. At the beginning, it was short stories about hares tricking other wild animals into funny situations. Then there was the whole lot of Phoenix Young Readers Library books. You remember them… Beautiful Nyakio, Mzee Nyachote, Tales of Wamugumo and Jimmy the Jeep. Then a bit later in upper primary, there was Truphena Student Nurse, Pamela the Probation Officer and Anna the Air Hostess. At some point, the Western fairy tales became more appealing, you know, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks and all those tales that end with ‘and they lived happily ever after’.
The interesting thing is, when you think about it now, the African tales were a bit more realistic. They always had a moral lesson.
‘To this day, hyenas limp…’
‘…he had learnt a very painful lesson from the cunning hare.’
‘…that is why the zebra has stripes’
The Western ones on the other hand took me away to another world. A world of houses made of candy, fairy Godmothers that made your wishes come true, and geese that laid golden eggs and handsome princes who had magical kisses that would break curses, raise dead and sleeping beauties. There was my all time favourite, ‘The Famous Five’ by Enid Blyton; those four kids and the dog. I loved them! They would go for camps, islands and farms and solve mysteries. Pair that with Scooby doo and half my childhood was spent in the book world.
I will not forget the books we read as part of the curriculum. There was Mary and Tom. I loved the bags they carried to school, little green bags strung over the shoulder. Why did mine have to be a bagpack! There was this time they went to Mombasa by train. That was epic! I literally put myself in their shoes. Sadly, up to this day, I have never set foot on a train.
Primary English! In my humble opinion, that was the greatest book ever written. Every chapter began with a story. I can remember one particular one about a boy called Nuru who went blind. Sometimes there were plays in the last chapter. Then of course there was Kiswahili Kwa Darasa (or was it Kiswahili Kitukuzwe?). One shairi I will never forget went something like,
Kila mwana mwema huwa na heshima
Kwa baba na mama uwe na heshima…
We may say 8-4-4 is a flop but I beg to differ. These books made me so proud to be Kenyan; the diversity of the stories was entertaining. Plus I know all I do because of what I read.
Years went by, high school happened and all I can say is, I have never been the same again. The new Caroline only reads stuff on the Internet, the occasional newspaper and the Bible. The only novel I can read is by John Grisham. Having said that, I have one right now; ‘The King of Torts’ and I have not gone beyond chapter one. Sometimes, I blame the Internet. Other times I blame this dynamic 21st century for making everything electronic and more interesting than good old books. But really there is no one or nothing to blame. At the moment, I am not sure what to do about it.
The only thing am sure about is, the two Carolines are not that different and maybe one day they will meet somewhere in the middle.
I realize a lot of people end up on this post because they were looking for the Swahili poem above, which I did not complete. Let me help you out and complete it if you are one of them. It was a true classic.