April 27, 2012
The rain drains me. It looks morose and revolting. It steals away my sunny smile. And now I’m worried I’ll start looking like a chipmunk, what with all the pulling my face into a frown. I am one of those Nairobians who are allergic to water drops that fly aimlessly in the air. For most ladies like me, our first reaction is always covering our already weaved hair with anything within our reach. From newspapers to phones…Chinese phones, the boss’s long awaited report…anything! Some of my fellow mates carry around shower caps…that, you will never catch me walking in. That’s besides today’s story.
I went to my husband’s working place just the other day. 6:30pm, it was and knowing the traffic we preferred to get stuck in it together. I found him at the gate and we strolled to his office together, gauging the skies for the next rain drops. Going by shank’s pony through the reception of the children’s hospital, I noticed it was almost empty and I smiled at the thought of few children affected by this season’s cold.
Suddenly a tall medium sized lady appeared from around the corner. She looked all too familiar even with her head bowed down, fumbling with something on the side of her coat. She resembled a figure I looked at daily, for four years in Kaaga Girls’ Meru. She looked up and I almost yelped in excitement.
I was right.
‘Mrs. Gichoga!’ I called her and she smiled immediately. She obviously didn’t recognise me but she knew it must be one of her girls from Kaaga. She must be used to this already. I went on to introduce myself. ‘You look ngood. That tells me you are ndoing well for yourself.’ Oh, it had been 8 years since I heard her voice…and accent.
She looked spectacular and I could swear she was in her late forties, were it not that I knew she was retired. He skin still glows like it used to with not a single crease ‘cept for the area around her eyes. She walked the same way and stood in the same stance. I felt teeny again.
She was a chief principal and our high school principal at Kaaga girls’ High school. She is one lady whole words I heed to date. She went on to explain that she was finishing her term as a commissioner at TSC. She owns Ebony Gardens located in Meru where they host events especially weddings and corporate functions. She even shared with me some photos saved in her phone.
Impressive. Someone should have captured that on camera… ‘Do you have a website?’ I shouldn’t have asked that. But hell, I did, and her answer was a tired no. she must have heard this question too many times. ‘You, on face book?’ I quipped, without giving up. She stopped and looked at me. ‘Remind me who was older? Was it your sister, Moraa or yourself?’ I smiled and stopped asking more questions. ‘I will ask my son to help out with that’, she promised. I too promised to recommend Ebony Gardens to all my friends within the area.
The pictures looked awe-inspiring and the place divine, with neatly trimmed grass and trees that complement it well. The pathways are carefully demarcated and look special…just like our famous Gichoga Highway, back in high school.
She told my husband he owed her a goat!
Peering over her glasses (like she always did) she stared right through him and pointed her phone at him, then away… ‘You, njust like my son in-law over there shound mbuy me a ngoat.’ Her daughter stood at the other end of the hospital reception with her husband. ‘And you,’ she turned to me. ‘I hope to host you at my grounds some nday.’ She then gave us a warm smile and walked off, briskly, with the same quick, but short steps she taught us to walk in. I watched her walk away, and for a moment there got drowned in flashbacks of back in the days.
During assemblies, she got easily annoyed whenever a she heard nail clipping sounds from a nail-cutter. She made us drop our half sweaters during sunny weather and checked for holes in our socks on randomly picked days. She allowed us entertainment days and outings every fortnight. She taught us the dangers of the salmonella bacteria and why we should not hide home cooked foods in the dormitories too long.
This woman taught me a lot and meeting her only reminded me of the good she did for me. I meet many former schoolmates and classmates and it always feels great! Once my sister and I bumped into our school deputy principal…Kabox was her nick name and it felt weird that I finally found out what her smile looked like. She even introduced her grandchildren to us!! But meeting this particular woman is not something I take for granted. It was an honour and I take all pleasure in it. Damn! I feel really big and all blown out, right now. 🙂
My husband called my name, and I snapped out of my memory memento. We walked on. ‘That was awesome!’ he said as we stepped into his office. He couldn’t believe I just had an adult conversation with our ever-feared high school principal. He drifted of for a second then stared straight at me. ‘I’m not sure I want to meet MY high school principal!’ We both laughed and the thought to share this awesome encounter with you today almost blew my mind off. I just couldn’t wait…