From the Equator

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I don’t know what time you are reading this but right at this moment, as I bang this, there is a fresh-faced Form one sitting on his new unfamiliar bed sipping strong tea, his uniform still rigor-mortised from the muhindi shop. His metallic box smells of paint. He reeks of fresh idealism. He finds himself in boarding school; blinking wildly at the surrealism of it all, a boy in a black hole. At some point a Fourth former will sit on his box to test its strength, and his marauding mates will howl like a pack of predators if it caves in.

If your life in Form One was anything like mine, you can easily imagine this boy feeling a sense of dread at the life that lies ahead. I remember wondering how I would wash my clothes, having been accustomed to the maid at home doing my bidding. I wondered what would happen if I ran out of sugar; would I die? What about soap? And tissue? I had a key, hanging from a hook on my pants, the key to the box that entombed all of my worldly possessions.

High school in Form one was a sea of peculiar and unnerving scenes. I remember going to the ablution to shower in those cubicles without doors and seeing boys walking around naked! Naked! Their dings and dongs swinging about like black pendulums. Everybody seemed extremely comfortable in their nudity.

Adjusting to life run by a clock was even harder; you woke up at 5am, you had breakfast at 7, you went for break at 10, lunch at 1, tea at 4, dinner at 7.15, and lights went off at 10pm. And the next day was exactly the same. And the next. And the next.  My life seemed to be about trotting from one place to the other. A life that was ultimately controlled by bells. And prefects. And meals. And books. Nobody cared that you were only getting settled into puberty, that you hadn’t quite got a handle on having hair on your pubis or how strange your voice now sounded and to top this all off, you now had the task of growing up quickly. On your own.

It wasn’t all bad though. I remember those beautiful Saturdays when a school bus would pull up outside the main administration block and there, looking out the windows were girls. Real girls with breasts and all!  It was like aliens had landed. The whole school gawked at this bus like it was carrying relief food. Hundreds of eyes would stared at this bus hungrily, curiously, longingly and sometimes fearfully.

They were probably girls in drama, debate, agricultural club or whatever. That didn’t matter, what mattered was that girls were in our compound! They had clean white shirts and white socks pulled up over lovely legs and sweaters clinging to their breasts. My God. Do you know how exhilarating that was? You showered with boys, you dressed before boys, you ate with boys, you went to bed with boys (not in that way….), you washed your clothes with boys, you played football with boys, you chatted to boys, you studied with boys and then all of a sudden there was a bus-full of girls in your space. Girls!

The sound of their giggles wafted out of the bus windows, and soon, they were climbing out in single file and gathering in a group as they waited for someone from our school to receive them, maybe a prefect, or an assistant head-boy, or head of a club, wearing a crisp white shirt, spit shined shoes and a blazer with yellow golden stripes running across its sleeve. This boy together with other lucky boys would walk the girls around school, showing them our German room, and Geography room, our library, our chapel, and Dining Hall, and the girls would studiously stick their heads inside these rooms and see where great men were manufactured. Men from Maseno School.

Maseno was so egotistical that they refused to acknowledge the “high” in high school. Like the “high” was beneath them. You either simply called it Maseno, or you called it Maseno School. Never Maseno High School.

Fifteen was an interesting age. You thought you knew shit, but then the universe laughingly smacked you down every so often (and sometimes in a rude way) to remind you that you didn’t. During those precious days that girls visited, I pondered at great depth on how one could talk to a girl and not say the wrong thing or worse still, run out of things to say. If you ran out of things to tell a girl, what would you do then? How would you fill that gaping silence? I’d see some boys who were so at ease around girls, I’d be flummoxed. These boys would would walk around the school compound talking to a girl and making them giggle furiously and I wondered to myself, “What could he possibly be telling her!?” What could you possibly tell a girl to get her to giggle constantly like that? And how are you able to think of something to say when you are in such close proximity to her breasts? Because at 15, half of your brain is occupied with questions of what a girl’s breasts feels like. All of your brain, actually. ‘Is it as warm as Mills and Boon says it is?’

Of course at 15 you didn’t even know if you are a “boob guy” or an “ass guy.”  You were just a 15-year old boy with a breaking voice, bony elbows, long torso and haunted eyes. And you were unsure of many things, unsure of who you were and what you wanted and where you fit in the grand scheme of life. But what you were absolutely dead sure of was that you needed food. I was constantly hungry in high school. I honestly don’t remember having a full stomach. I was a confused, conflicted and hungry teenager plagued by the mystery of breasts. And ass. My life seemed to revolve around the Dining Hall bell, waiting for it to go off. We called it “Timing” in Maseno.

The Letter Boys would bring letters to us after the 5.45pm assembly. Cell Phones hadn’t been invented yet. The internet must have been a year old. Very few people in Kenya had an email address and if they did it was Yahoo or Hotmail. By a show of hands who still has a Hotmail address? If yes, you should join a support group. You need help.

All communication was in the form of letters. We waited for those letters like they were tickets onto Noah’s Ark. There were guys who received many letters and there were guys who received one lone letter a term. Others received nothing. You would come from your dose of cold water (read: shower) at the ablution, as we called it, and find a letter on your bed. Sometimes it was from your mom, a long letter that started with “Dear Son,” and launched into a spiel about how education was the “key” to a good life, and about hard work and prayer and the sacrifices she was making to keep you in school and how you needed to remember to avoid bad company (read, smoking weed and fornicating with Maseno University students across the fence) and how you should spend the 500bob she had enclosed wisely until they find more money to send.

Then she would sign off “Your Loving Mom,” and I would sit there missing her so much and trying not to cry. I’d bring the envelope to my nose and try to smell her knowing that she had touched it less than a week ago. Gosh, I was crazy about that woman. Then I’d go and buy quarter loaf from Oyier’s tuck-shop. 500 bob lasted a long time in 1992! With 500 bob you could start a small family in the neighbouring Mabungo Hills and have kids and send one of them to nursery and have money left over to get a haircut.

My biggest fear in high school was disappointing my mom. My worst nightmare was having to go home with a suspension letter and wait for her to come back from school (she was a primary school teacher) and see the look of deep disappointment as she reads the letter. She would probably not say anything immediately but later sit me down after dinner, when everybody else had gone to sleep, and in the sinking silence of the living room ask me just one excruciatingly heartbreaking question: Am I not doing enough for you, Biko? For that reason, I never got into any significant (ahem) trouble in the duration of high school.

Sometimes the Letter Boy would hand you a letter from a girl from Mukumu Girls. Or Lwak Girls. Or Kisumu girls (Oh, those ones were baaaaad). A letter you had waited ages for and you had given up on because you figured the boy from Form 3-B had made a better impression on her than you had. You would read that letter sitting on the lower bunk, your spoon on your plate, waiting for the dinner bell to go off.  You would eat the words up, quickly skimming through the boring parts about the games master or the adventures in the school farm, looking for the part where she said she liked you and that you were cool. That was the dark age when kids wrote words in full because they didn’t have much else to do.

The girls wrote on flowery stationary and sprayed it with some perfume and asked you to listen to the lyrics of some song by Jodeci or KC and Jojo.  The girls then, and I’m talking about the early 90’s, had normal names like Flora or Susan or Agnes  but when they signed off their letters they would have funky-fied their name to Flo’ “Da Brat” Wafula or Brenda “Slim Rage” Waceke. (From Lady of Rage) and such.

The day you received a letter from Belyndah “Left Eye” Kirimi, you would do nothing during evening preps but read that letter again and reply to it with a flourish of your own because back then you were judged by the strength of your letter, not by how many times you poked a girl on Facebook. Nobody seduced using memes. And when you sat down to write a letter you had only one take because there was no backspace key. Your handwriting sold you or sold you down a river. Letters started with something cheesy like, “Hello, my lovely Belyndah “Left Eye”, I hope this missive full of love that has flown over many mountains and rivers finds you as beautiful as I remember you the last time I saw you when I came for CU two months ago…” (You always made your way into a CU trip and you weren’t even saved).

There were days you were sure you would marry this “Left Eye” girl. Your 16-year old hormones insisted. You would think of her for days after receiving her missive (that was big vocabulary in the 90’s, I will have you know) and you were so sure you were in love, right until another bus pulled up on a lovely Saturday and you would see a girl with such devastating eyes that you quickly forgot Belyndah’s Left (and right) eye. Sometimes you would send letters to two girls from the same school hoping they wouldn’t find out, one in form one and the other in form two. You know, spreading your risk portfolio. But they would always find out and you would hear of a skirmish that happened over your amorous ways and then two letters would arrive asking you to choose who you wanted. Note, not calling you an asshole, but asking who you wanted.  Bloody good days, those!

Since it was a National School, I went to school with boys from very wealthy families and boys from very poor families. I don’t know what that did to me. There were boys who had not worn shoes their entire lives. Boys with feet that looked like the roots of a plant that could treat epilepsy. Then there were boys who came with two metal boxes. Two! Boys who had three pairs of shoes. Boys who had powdered milk for chrissake! And never ever ran out of sugar. I remember how some dads showed up in big-ass shiny 4X4s, and I used to pray that my dad doesn’t show up in his Peugeot 404. I feel sad now when I think of it. I hope my kids don’t ever feel embarrassed by my forehead when they get to high school.

I remember the misery that came with the dawn preps, when the gong would go off at 5am and it was freaking cold and we would converge at the urinals between Bowers House, where I slept, and Olang House which had very shadowy characters. There, boys from Amadi, Bowers, Olang and Stansfield Houses would gather under the frozen grey skies and wait for their turn to take a leak in the open urinal. The smell of urea hung in the air like a colony of bats.

I remember Jacob’s well and how during a water shortage you would be forced to wake up at 4am and wait in line with your jerican as the tap trickled with water. Sometimes you would take the water back and hide it under you bed but when you returned someone would have stolen it. Most likely a Prefect or a House Boy. (Bastards.) But we hardly ever fell sick from drinking that water. OK, guys whose dads had big 4x4s did.

I remember the hatred we had for our prefects whom we called cops. When African Americans say “Black lives matter”, well, I know exactly what they are talking about because in high school, we suffered from the tyranny of cops. Cops were a law onto themselves. I don’t know how prefects at Maseno are these days but in our day, cops would make you kneel in the middle of the pavement in the hot sun and you could do nothing about it but stay there and take it. Cops could make you kneel in their cubicle from 10pm to 1am and you couldn’t do shit. Cops had more power than teachers on duty! And cops would beat you up. They – about 12 of them – were known to come for the stubborn ones in the middle of the night like the secret police, frog march you, sleepy and cold, to this Prefects’ room that was behind some brick-wall classrooms hidden by a big cluster of trees and once there, they would place you in the middle of the room and continuously beat you while flashing torches in your face. Before Guantanamo, there was Maseno.

I remember how hard life was. How brutal it could get. How competitive it was. It was like being inside a pressure cooker. It was like we were being boiled and hardened for a bigger task. I always felt like school was very much like when you go to the eggs counter at a hotel for breakfast and you are asked, “How do you want your eggs, sir?” At Maseno, it seemed like all our dads said, “Hard boiled, thank you,” or “Well done, please.” So they boiled us. And they hardened us. And we owe Maseno a lot for who we are now because now we constantly show up, we persevere and we survive. We can survive anywhere and anything. I mean if Jacob’s well didn’t kill us, if the insanely cold dawn preps didn’t kill us, if hunger didn’t kill us, if Jim Agutu didn’t break us, and if that light cateress with a fine ass (when you are 15 and in boarding most ass is fine) who served in the early 90’s didn’t kill us with lust, I think we can survive a lot of things.

We owe these schools we attended something. I don’t know what. But we owe them something. We owe the girls and boys who are walking the paths we walked. There are these guys http://www.myalumnipledge.org/ who want you to give back to your former schools. Anything really. You can pledge a new bus if you can. I know you can. You can pledge clothes lines. Or new soccer balls. Or you can go talk about how you got into IT.  Or organised crime. You can go talk about how got through school without a parent. Anything that will help the new form one who is joining high school this week with his metal box and 3kg sugar have better clarity.

If you were to be taken back to the day you joined Form one, and knowing what you know now, what would you advise your 15-year old self? Just one advice.

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381 Comments
  1. Waaa! You were in Form One in 1992? I was born in 1991! Enyewe wewe you should either be a ghost worker or a pensioner.

    Anyway, Maseno School in 1992 sounds like paradise compared to Maranda in 2005. Here is why:

    “…Every day at 4pm, the Time Keeper Prefect (don’t ask me, I only study here) strikes an old rustic car rim hanging from a mango tree next to the staffroom. We rush out to the dormitories, pick a trough, bathing soap and energy left from the long day and run to the pond. The pond is about five kilometers away, or something in that neighbourhood. It is green, jeweled by thick deposits of cow dung on it’s shores. Both school and village policy forbids us from swimming in it. It is the only source of water for the entire Nyapiedho sub location.
    When we reach there, we wrestle the grazing cattle out of the water, in order to collect water for bathing. We balance the troughs on our heads as we try to find a spot in the nearby bushes, where we will strip down to shower. On the other side of the pond are these Nyamira Girls. We cannot make out their faces, all we see are blue skirts appear from a corner, bend over before disappearing from our sights and into our sexually starved imaginations. Since we are an all-boys school, and the paraffin they put in our githeri doesn’t hold its end of the bargain, the blurry blue skirts tickle our debauchery. That is when bathing soap finds its other use- the kind they do not advertise on TV.

    All this is rather strange to me. It is mid 2005 and I am a form one. The older kids do not seem to have any problem with this routine. I am still learning how to protect my underwear from being stolen. Yesterday when I put soap on my face, and bent over to scoop water from my trough, a thorn prickled my ass. By the time I finished rinsing my face of the lather, someone had nicked my new Cowboy underwear and Imperial Soap; and in their stead, left me some torn Caterpillar briefs and Panga washing soap….”

    http://www.magunga.com/maranda/

    1. Kijana,you are too young!

      If I were to document my chronicles here about my life in a certain rift valley high school,many people will cry!

      1
      1. Just document i wanna cry.. But i am sure hukuambiwa ” this is not a fattening camp!”. ;-). Which is a polite way of telling u something i won’t write

    2. That’s such a a great story! We’d love for you to be part of the #asanteshule campaign! What advice would you give your 16 year old self to make your adventure in Form 1 a bit easier? Have you signed up at myalumnipledge.org yet?

    3. Heh… I should also do one about my S1 experiences in a certain school in Mbarara, Uganda. In the meantime, @magunga, @bikozulu and the rest of the gang, here is an opportunity to relive the days of writing love letters muwado.com/muwadoloveletter2/

    4. A motivational speaker came to our sch. and gave a motivational speech. Do you know he referred to someone who studied in Maranda boys as a zinjanthropas…The moment the motivational speaker stepped out, you could hear a pin drop from any corner in the school for girls would become so serious in their studies…

      Through this one deed, Marymount Sec sch.a little known school opposite the Mau forest would triumph in national exams.

      Ooh and the letters(regretting burning mine after high sch. I feared my mum getting hold of them and killing me);I regress: one boy used to write dedications on the margins on the writing pad. I was and still is clueless on pop music so I would share the dedications with pals to tell me the lyrics or show me the lyrics on scrap books(who remembers them :)He had written ‘you are my my jewel,’ didn’t we look for the artist in vain. It was way later I figured someone had ment I was his diamond.#sigh, miss that kind of romance that brought goosebumps

  2. LMAO
    PWA HA HA HA HA
    Magunga and Biko just made my tuesday.
    Good old high school,Ati Biko should be a pensioner, ha ha ha ha
    A good read,reminds me of Ruchu Girls in Kandara during the era of catholic sisters and Moi Girls in Isinya

    1. Do you have any stories from your school days you’d like to share with us? What was your first day at Ruchu Girls like? We’d love for you to be part of the #asanteshule campaign! Have you signed up at myalumnipledge.org yet?

    2. I went to Ruchu too, ’03…I’d say the strict Catholic guidelines really did have an impact on our formation; tolerance and patience were key!

      1. I have known pride
        I have known true friends.
        I still hate cabbages.
        I still smile at the mention of Mean Maroon.
        I have been to Lenana School

        P. S- Its never Lenana High School.
        Its LENANA SCHOOL!

        1. Don’t like cabbages?? !! Try cutting into thin strips, lightly fry, mix with cold grated carrots and dress with salad cream or mayonnaise.

  3. Thanks Biko. That was a fantastic story full of gems. You think its a good idea to go to our alma mater and talk about organised crime? Really, Biko. You will kill me one day.

  4. oh Lord…. I remember singing this Kikuyu song ‘kanyoni ka nja…’ in English for my cube mates….they said it was the proper way of welcoming the ‘mono’ into the cube…good times. I would tell my fifteen year old self to take it easy- and laugh more. And keep off some company…

  5. I think I would tell myself not to take things so serious, to enjoy the moments as they come. I hated high school so much, there are only a handful of things I enjoyed then. Infact. The only school I enjoyed was being in Uni.

  6. I would tell my 15 year old self, don’t envy the city girls.
    Work hard enough and get good grades.
    After university you will get a good job or start a great business and then you will be able to afford more than they have! !
    It stressed me out eating arrowroots as they ate crisps.

    They could afford mandazi for 1 bob daily! ! Who had 30 bob on a monthly basis to spend on ndaos? !
    That was my whole terms budget!!!
    But now……education put us on the same platform.
    Someone should have told me that! !!

    1. Great advice Caroline. Education has the potential to be the great equaliser. And with the right guidance and advice from alumni, young students can gain access to opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise. They’ll gain self-confidence. And they’ll begin to believe that no matter where they’ve come from, they can make it anywhere they want if they try.

      Hope you’ve pledged to give back to your old school so you can share your wisdom with the students there now 🙂 http://www.myalumnipledge.org #asanteshule

    2. MY ADVICE: Enjoy high school.it may feel like crap right now ad food, rules,etc,but you will sort of miss it. yes even the avocado in every meal you eat and mkarango(do kids do that these days?). you will miss your friends.cherish them.im still close to some of my high school pals. we hold reunions once in a while to reminisce about the good old days .Depending on what high school(preferably boarding school.day scholars have it easy) you went to.(read public school)it shapes you as a person. i was privileged to never get kicked of school for fees i had good pocket money. was also in a national school and got to appreciate what my parents did for me.some kids never went home for midterm coz they were from somewhere like moyale you stop being bratty once you realize just how lucky you are, so live in the moment.

    3. Ooooh Caroline…exactly my sentiments. The “City Girls” did give us the jitters…not to mention their occupying all the positions in the “cool clubs” Looking back, my ‘country girl’ mindset really did me good..hehehe

  7. Man! You were in form one in 1992 and I was in 1999 and that experience was the same. I wonder how long it lived or lives….cool stuff

  8. Back in Koelel high school when a form one was bullied to death and all girl schools cut all links with our school. Trainee female teachers were like angels to us men. Our class artist would draw a girl on the chalkboard and We’d still drool over her. And I remember my dad almost sent me to rehab for eating three large plates of rice. gosh home food tasted so good.

  9. Left-eye died in a tragic accident some years back,apparently she was being haunted by the spirit of the kid she had run over. Anyway school sucked for me. Other than funkies and Friday lunch coz they served chap

  10. “500 bob lasted a long time in 1992! With 500 bob you could start a small family in the neighbouring Mabungo Hills and have kids and send one of them to nursery and have money left over to get a haircut.”
    This killed it….. I remember that first day in form one like it was yesterday

  11. Haha..before Guantanamo, there was Maseno. Full of humor today, thanks!

    On a different note-
    Hundreds of eyes would stared at this bus…
    You can go talk about how^got through school…

    Did Vicki and Ciku go through this one? And am not even tying to be them 🙂

  12. Lovely Piece!!

    You Only Live Once- Make Do with what you have. What you don’t have doesn’t
    matter at all. Because what you come out with means more than what you get in with.

  13. Fine ass piece of writing this!! Brought back a shitload of memories from my form 1 in 1994 in Uganda. If you have never concluded a letter with ‘dedications’, today’s post has gone below your radar!!

  14. Great story and end goal Biko. We all all do know someone about to experience this in some form or another. In my experience, I can’t relate as I was away for these exciting years. I often envy the experiences of my peers and wonder whether I would be different, wiser, stronger and a more resilient human being. We live and wonder right….

  15. Their dings and dongs swinging about like black pendulums.
    I laughed inwardly today, New boss in the office…..Biko I terribly love your work. Tell the two chiquittas who make you throw away our Tuesday dose to scram and never hurt your writing ego. Whatever you write am sure the ang will read, shallow, hollow or vain, we dont care. We just want to read. Kudos……but 1992 jameni, I was still suckling!!!

  16. Hahahahahaa! Woiii Biko. My ribs. Nimecheka hadi nikanyamba and am at work. Lol. My boss had to walk out. ( Apologizing when he comes back ) This is so hilarious! I need to wipe my eyes bana. Wahh.

  17. This post makes me feel like a toddler. In 1992, my mother was waking up to a smelly one year old. Wow… I must have missed the true experience of joining high school. In 2006, we had our parents make our bed before they left, check up on us whenever and our laundry being done for us at a fee. No wonder we can’t be the expected women we so much wish to be. Another nice piece… Am hooked!!

  18. Fifteen year old self.
    Don’t be fooled by the semblance of freedom.
    These four years will be as screwed up as nothing else you’ve experienced.
    You’re awesome. Don’t let yourself feel otherwise.

    Would you please be patient?

    Lastly, life is not a fairy tale. Don’t expect them to be loyal.
    You’re on your own. But don’t you dare burn bridges.
    The time for that will come.

    1. Such great advice Kui! Especially ‘You’re awesome. Don’t let yourself feel otherwise’ – young students really need to hear to that early on. Have you pledged to do something for your old school? Sign up at myalumnipledge.org

  19. “It wasn’t all bad though. I remember those beautiful Saturdays when a school bus would pull up outside the main administration block and there, looking out the windows were girls. Real girls with breasts and all! It was like aliens had landed. The whole school gawked at this bus like it was carrying relief food. Hundreds of eyes would stared at this bus hungrily, curiously, longingly and sometimes fearfully.” this paragraph though. About the prefects we used to call them karau. As of advice: read hard, the moment u step out of school is when u realise out there life is shit and hostile.

  20. Shimo la Tewa (The one on the right side when going to Mtwapa, not the left side one!) was tough. It took tough fellows like Papaa and Sodhe to run this school. Guys who would lock the office door and proceed to box with you with the gentleman agreement that if you win you were right. And even though they were a law unto themselves, they needed to announce an inspection at night and be escorted by a phalanx of prefects.Legend has it that most schools up bara sides had a Shimo La tewa corner where the bad things happened. In Shimo we had Jah Temple. The wars with schools (one tacitly sanctioned by the headmaster himself, epic strikes, getting bara schools into trouble by selling them fresh mnazi as juice only to get drunk a few hours later. If I was to go back to Shimo, I will drink it all up and more,

    1. I was from Maseno but a weekend in Shimo La tewa made me
      appreciate Maseno…with guys scaring us that the noise made by the sea was majini and we were not to dare walk out of the ill lit dormitories…….and that school was too big.

  21. I agree with Tintin above. In my former high school, Form 1’s reported in their primary uniform. Talk about demoralizing.
    As usual good read Chocolate Man

  22. There was something about schooling in western and nyanza that the slopes people will never get. I tell people that the bathrooms in Kiminini had no roofs and so if it was a rainy day you got double portion of water. You’ve taken me back, back, back in time to the blue pleated skirts and iron boxes and carrying a change of clothes to the bathroom!

    1. Angie if u remember sister Emannuel bathrooms had no doors, actually they were so tiny u needed none. the idea of walking to a bathroom naked just killed me but guess what we couldn’t beat them so we had to do as the rest. Lol…. and the bathrooms outside saint Claire’s… hahahahaa… another story

    2. I totally agree with you. The teachers at Butere were no nonsense and I don’t care how you feel as long as you do as I tell you. Failure to do so was canning Kabisa. Socks were white and hair was always neat and preps till 10pm. now when someone says report to work by 9am its a holiday.

  23. Then I read about sleeping with boys and leaned back,side gazed my screen and scowled a bit haha the bit about 500 Bob starting a fam and schooling the kids is hilarious. Unfortunately I wouldn’t make it back to my school for career talk,time constraints and a few hot non-issues..Nice piece this one from Maseno to Guantanamo with humor *fist bump*

    1. Ooh and at 15 I had already began Form 3,started school with 2yrs imagine (weird parents),so I waited for a whole year before applying for a national ID

  24. I havent laughec so hard recently. Tumutumu girls was just something else but being so small helped alot that i wasnt bullied..nice memories though

  25. these schools did alot to mould us to better responsible people…but…for me, that is a phase of life i will never dream of reliving.

  26. The good thing about having gone to a mixed school Senior Chief Koinange(well, back then it was mixed)is having to receive a missive everyday from that handsome teen boy with raging hormones complimenting your ebony hair, white blouse, PE wrap-over skirt…..oh the good old days….Fast forward, advice to my 15year old self..*♫♫ High School Never ends..♪♪ Bowling For Soup!

  27. ha ha ha. During those days, a girl with a fine ass and boobs was competitively advantaged. Some of us who were taking a bit longer to `grow’ only admired buses during funkies…

    But 1992 Biko? Your pieces are always second to none.

  28. “Hello, my lovely Belyndah “Left Eye”, I hope this missive full of love that has flown over many mountains and rivers finds you as beautiful as I remember you the last time I saw you when I came for CU two months ago…” (You always made your way into a CU trip and you weren’t even saved)……I can relate Biko, yes I can relate.

  29. Lwak Girls High school,the year would be 1996……I would tell myself,have more fun,and what happened to Art?woooii,I could probably be a Pablo Picasso today

  30. Advise to 15yr old self: Tip the bus driver more so that we stay longer socializing (boys) during outings. “Chiodhore” was his name. Busherians (Alliance Girls’) know the respect we had to give this man!
    Also, take “Karao’s” words more seriously …. The Principal that shaped many great minds i know today!

    1. Speaking of giving back… All busherians in the house there is a walk at school this Saturday to raise funds for a new chapel. The fee is 1000/ payable Saturday morning.The girls can no longer fit in the current one. All are welcome. Bring everyone let’s have fun!

    2. hahahaha, Sharon the bus. How do you even remember Chiothore? hahaha. I wonder where Mrs. Karanja is. Steve House oiyehh! Inter house drama, sports, Socials, movies. Our life was good. Para and the goerges.

  31. The thing that makes grantamano a joke compared to Maseno is communal work ‘com work’ slashing using Blantyre tools at 1 pm under the scorching sun is hell. Being at the equator the sun is nearer and exactly overhead.

  32. “Hello, my lovely Belyndah “Left Eye”, I hope this missive full of love that has flown over many mountains and rivers finds you as beautiful as I remember you the last time I saw you when I came for CU two months ago…” (You always made your way into a CU trip and you weren’t even saved)….I can relate Biko, yes I can relate. LoL..Damn days.

  33. My experience in 96 was closer to Maguga than yours. There was no river, just the local stream, bathing was a weekly luxury in comparison yours was a holiday camp. I remember I reported to school in time for lunch and had to be chaperoned by a form some form fours,’Haka kata toboa kuchapwa na chuma’ one of them-turned out to be the deputy captain-muttered, haka on the other hand was my dwarfish fellow reportee, whom we later nicknamed atom. My word to those reporting today: the chuma chaperone is today a ordained Anglican minister, Atom is a bank manager and I’m still alive; life happens.

    1. hehehehehe that stream in mabungo…….was spotted by a
      neighbor and nearly had me off the school…my dad didn’t
      understand what we were doing fetching water and not learning

  34. Went to karoti girls. Sometimes i get nostalgic but the cold water and porridge full of ‘mafoolish’ and ugali beans are not things to miss. Anyway high school was fun during funkies but only when you ‘kwachuad’ someone to write you a highly graffited letter about going back.

  35. In the early part of the millennium Jim Agutu was still Lord of the Rings (word on the street was that he was ex-CIA,FBI,Special Branch,MOSAD,M16,KGB all rolled into one…he was omnipresent in all crimes and would be the star witness besides being the prosecutor, judge,jury and the hangman)
    – dawn preps aka ‘Knock’ stared at 4.45.
    – Oyier closed shop and some cocacola containers replaced him
    – Timing was a capital offense (just below blasphemy and treason. 90% of the criminals were from the tribe of Ouko House)
    – The school motto ‘Kinda piny emanyalo gimoro’ was translated to English

    Men from Maseno School walk upright!

  36. Yay!!! that’s me in the picture, second from right!! And Biko wont reply to any of my mails/Fb texts…{insert betrayal soundtrack}

    1. Leroy, mind giving me your email address? I’m an alumnus myself (with a FIVEhead much like Biko’s, ha-ha) and I’d like information about your poop power for a survey I’m carrying out for my final year project. Any help will be appreciated. Maseno Strong!

      1. Nostalgic. There’s a distinct character with men who went to an all boys school. We used to call ours the school of men. I would tell myself to stay out of trouble. Was so skinny with an appetite which at some point felt like a calling. I wonder what high school life is like nowadays! I hear teens complaining of cyber bullying and it sounds like a privilege in comparison.

  37. While i was in Kisimu Boys, I heard about these stories from other schools and wondered just how lucky i was. Long live Dennis Abok

    1. So you were never given 50 cents and asked to buy half a loaf and bring Kshs 95 in change? You were never asked to talk to a stone until it cries? You were never asked to call your mum using a cup? You never slept on a bed without a mattress and used one trouser, shirt and socks the whole term since your box and mattress and shirts were stolen? You never used to hand over all your shopping and pocket money to a form four as protection fee?

      You were never asked to spank a trainee teacher coz the consequences of not spanking the teacher were more dangerous than the consequences of spanking the teacher?You never used to sing praise songs for form fours while they eat you lunch?

      You never attended any school

  38. Speaking of giving back… All busherians in the house there is a walk at school this Saturday to raise funds for a new chapel. The fee is 1000/ payable Saturday morning.The girls can no longer fit in the current one. All are welcome. Bring everyone let’s have fun!

  39. Oyier didn’t like giving change. If you gave him 200 bob, you either spent it all or school closed and he had to give what was remaining.
    A lot changed about cops. They lost the CBs, were banned from caning but are still powerful than, say, new teachers.
    I still remember the Lwak Girls address : 4 Nyilima. Girls had that effect!
    You slept in bowers, the only storey building in the locality for a long time. I was in Amadi then Stansfeld when I became a copy. Thanks for the memories man.

  40. Representing Elburgon Secondary School,
    When you say ice cold you mean us,you got us in mind.We had three bathrooms(for a population of abot 4oo) nobody bothered to use them,guys bathing in the morning were like 3 out of the 400 yes!And we used to squat under the available three taps(The way you stand under a shower head)and then we’d run from the taps butt naked to the domitories to meet the other 397 who did not fancy the idea of bathing and were struggling with sleep.
    Our school was a mixed school,meaning we did not marvel so much at breasts,the few who did would occasionally be caught at the girls’domitories fence peeping at those fine asses in those small hours of the morning and that would attract severe punishment from Mr.Gachoka
    We were also constantly hungry,so hungry that at the beginning of the term we would bribe the cooks(Njenga & Kihara)So as to be taken good care of during our hunger striken moments-before Eurobond there was Elburgon!They even sound similar don’t they?
    Long and short of it,I had my first girlfriend there and she’d write those cheesy letters to me everyday.And I was the guy..Jane had a fine ass and she was light-only that she wasn’t a cook.
    http://www.facebook.com/muigaiwambui

    1. advice to my 15 year old self,boiled meat from high school tastes the best.eta that alot..Nobody can cook githeri half as good as those cooks who make it complete with weevles.

  41. Biko what you describe here is what I dreaded at the thought of joining a boarding high school. It is the “preparation” you get when you live with your older cousins and they narrate the tales of how life is in “boarding”.

    But alas (can you say “but alas!?) we who went to day schools escaped this. Honestly though I think I missed this experience because of the unending stories about life in boarding when we meet up with the boys and reflect.

  42. I can honestly say I went through high school in a blur, most of it is a haze, and i was a ‘cop’. I always seemed to be sleepy, no matter the time, i was sleep deprived for the full 4 years, and even the sight of boys, did not wake me up. Talk about nightmares. Maryhill Girls’ High School, Mahill!

  43. maaan, this is mad, mad as a box of frogs. High school,form 1 in 1999. That was the craziest part of my life. don’t even get me started on the prefects, Odero Chapat (Kanyawanga high. I’ll never forget you.
    Made my life a living hell.

  44. PWAHAHAHAHHAAHAH, 500 bob lasted a long time in 1992! With 500 bob you could start a small family in the neighbouring Mabungo Hills and have kids and send one of them to nursery and have money left over to get a haircut.

  45. I would advice my 15 oldself that life is never so serious. Laugh live and love more. I would not study hard as if to prove a point but smart. And i would not fear my teachers but respect them.

  46. MOBA…. Such a vivid description of what MASENO did to us and actually what we are today… We can survive anywhere; did it Bro! I once traced my way in Paris from CDG International Airport to somewhere in Melun with zero understanding of French and France!

  47. Nostalgia. Thank you Biko. This is a beautiful piece. A piece with a cause. And roaring laughter.
    ‘… and you would see a girl with such devastating eyes that you quickly forgot Belyndah’s Left (and right) eye.
    …Hehehe…

  48. You my friend back in 1992 you did live the life. We do owe this schools. I was in high school just recently (in 2010 I was in form one)and from your story you were either a rich kid or much hasn’t changed really. We still exchanged letters and those from our calibre still had 500kes for the whole term. It would cater for shopping, pocket money and fare back home I tell you. How? It still beats me but trust me it did. On visiting days when the wealthy families arrived with outside catering and an array of vehicles to see just one kid while your mum arrived on foot with a newspaper on one hand and a packet of chips and an orange on the other. And the universe will find a way of making you the world’s most grateful person. Because some other kids won’t be visited entirely. And you will be contend and understand that was life. Ots never what you order but you have to like what you are served otherwise you end up being miserable. This was evidenced by those who despised their home food and went on to feast with the rich and ate things they were hearing for the first time. This ones spent long nights in the toilets doing God knows what as they swore never again. But come the next visiting, it was the same case all over again.

    Ps Biko please respond to my email. Its been weeks now.

  49. If one wretched day I read that Bikozulu is no more… I would cry my eyes out. Then admonish myself for not having told you what your articles mean to me. So this is me attempting to give you ‘roses’ while you are still alive. You decorate my life. Asante.

  50. took me back to Lugulu girls 2004!… I would tell the form one not to fight the system since its a matter of time and he/she will be out ! looking back,I am glad I went through kamiti maximum oops lugulu girls..it made me!

  51. Hahaha, nice piece man. Brings back so much memories. Bowers house, eh? Lucky enough to get modern housing while the rest of us made do with antique huts! Still, I would never leave Owen House for anywhere else. Wonder if they’re still there…

    1. Owen I was turned into into a bakery while two and three had their names changed. They are also not houses anymore and have instead been turned into stores of some sort. Source: I was there yesterday.

  52. Biko, Agoro Sare it was.Home to tranquility sitting at the heart of Oyugis town.I wonder why there was perennial water shortage in every good to do school in the entire Nyanza.We could run to OWADE River 5 km away every time the water pump became anemic.I owe ‘Yenga’ as it was known {I don’t know now) alto.

  53. Wow, loved the vivid description, the humor, the pity… You have his ability to liven your articles. I’m aiming to getting and surpassing that level of maturity writing. Thanks Biko. Awesome Article… and oh, I hope your 19 year old niece doesn’t read this and see how her most prolific uncle was obsessed with boobs.

  54. Sometimes you would take
    the water back and hide it under
    you bed but when you returned
    someone would have stolen it.
    Most likely a Prefect or a House
    Boy. (Bastards.)Hehe.
    Those guys were BRUTAL to say the least I almost dropped out in form one because of them. But Maseno School turned many of us into men. Real Men.

  55. I used to wait for letters every week. My cousins and i had formed something that is akin to a whatsapp group. So every week a letter would arrive without fail. I lived for thoae moments i would get the letters and read of their adventures in school. Good times.

  56. …Before Guantanamo, there was Maseno, 1999 to around 2001 that description is probably close to accurate but things changed. Very nostalgic piece. You even had to squeeze in Jim”Papa” that guy contributed to the men we are today.. The only missing detail is old McKay that old room.

  57. Hahaha. Reppin Machakos School. Life was good. I remember the epic strikes just so that we could go home and chill for 2 weeks to avoid exams, entertainment in the form of bull dance on Saturday nights in the assembly hall or library, neighboring schools marveling at the size of our school and that we actually have working showers and toilets that can flush, former president Moi stopping by our school and lining up on the road into town waving flags, sneaking from school to attend the disco at the show….Sigh! Good memories.

  58. Your handwriting sold you or sold you down a river…..
    I slept next to a window directly to the old car rim cum bell..so waking up at 5am was non issue but extending the sleep to morning preps..

  59. Mary Mount secondary Molo
    Year 2004.
    Advice to 15 years old me.
    Keep of men, stop writing letters and stop sleeping in church! Hahaha memories

  60. Maseno of 2006 and that of 1992 are just the same. The ablution blocks nicknamed snake park, Jacobs well never goes dry. shadoofing became a new skill. German room and old Mackay buildings were the hot spots. Ndunya was five Bob n quarter bread 6bob.

  61. Biko, I was never harassed. I was a tough one. Repin’ Murang’a High

    I would advise myself against comparing myself with others.

    But Biko you forgot to mention whether you harassed a mono or not, did you? 😀

  62. Hahahaha…oh Biko..
    How I wish I could help you write. about the girls, what they experienced, especially if you happened to be in a Catholic school(St, or Mount…). where, looking at a boy was a sin, and receiving a letter from a boy was a disciplinary case…

    1. Becky it gets even worse for some of us who went to a school with both Mt and St in the name
      letters to boys were things spoken of in the same way as unicorns…. completely nonexistent

  63. I got a B from Koelel High School. I am not proud of it but it was a B. Okay?

    “I used to write letters back then. Not that I was a high school girls’ connoisseur but if I wrote any more letters then my grade would have been a weak B or worse a C. If I wrote any less then I would definitely have got an A. Actually I am just kidding, I was quite in the game back then, good old days. So I consider myself inept to brief you on how it used to be back then.”

    http://dennispetersblog.com/2015/04/13/a-letter-to-esther/

  64. Great read. I was in a mixed high school( Hospital Hill) and we always felt privileged, ati when we go to a funki we are not ‘bothered’ that there are dudes there because we already have them in school, hehe

  65. Biko in 1992 i was not even conceived. SMH

    Reppin’ Machakos School (Mac-B). I have never been more scared in my entire life. I was the second tiniest guy in our school. It was so bad i had to stay 2 weeks in school with home clothes so they can get uniform that could fit me. And the seniors were massive people with beards. I’m sure those guys had families back home.

    First weekend of School happened to be a visiting day. My sister *Bless her heart* visited me and that was the end of my troubles. She is pretty so a senior who happened to be my Dorm captain made friends so he can see her during visiting days. I have never been happier and from there life was smooth.

  66. Passed through the same, except for the breasts ogling part: blame naivety. I would advice my 15-year self not to breath while under water. Nice piece Biko.

  67. I cant remember how i got through high school. My love for volleyball kept me going during those game time. It was hell and half. I neve used to enjoy the exam time and i used to wonder how the Nai peeps used to have blue band and tomato sauce the whole semester. Onions picked from home and a five hundred bob note the whole term will do it for me. Nyambaria High school somewhere in Nyamiraa

  68. ” Sometimes you would send letters to two girls from the
    same school hoping they wouldn’t find out, one in form
    one and the other in form two. You know, spreading your
    risk portfolio ”

    half the girls who went to boarding schools have been victims of this

    this post just speaks to me

  69. “as I bang this”

    My pervert mind had started imagining things
    But my mind didn’t wander too far!
    “Real girls with breasts and all! It was like aliens had landed.”

  70. And here is a bit of my alumni:
    “However, the most interesting thing about Nkubu high school is not Francis Muthaura or Mathew Iteere or even Titus Naikuni…the most interesting invention by the smart students of this illustrious school is…(Drum roll) SCRUM!!!! And No, not the oraganised thing by grown ups in rugby where they bump their heads and place their bums in the air for a fart…its the trademark of this school. It should have been the school motto: “TRUTH,COURAGE AND SCRUM” and the school vision: “TO BE A CENTRE OF QUALITY EDUCATION AND UNRIVALLED SCRUMMING” . It should also have been emblazoned on the school logo. Not two lions and that boring composition book, but two students in the canteen scrumming.
    I can even quote the gospel of Nkubu : “Whenever two or three are lining up in this school a scrum MUST occur” Thus says the Law. No one knows where this archaic behaviour came from, but unconfirmed sources that didn’t want their name or pictures taken spoke to this blogger and confessed that this behavior came from the cursed spirits og monkeys. Legend goes that the school is situated on land where mad monkeys used to live and when their fellow monkeys brought bananas they would push, pull and struggle since they were not enough. It was all a curse on the haunted grounds. Truth is in this school boys like eating raw rice on Wednesdays and drinking overcooked melted fat more than they like girls. Speaking of girls, this should be the only school that has been in existence for over 50 years and still remains unfaithful. I was unable to confirm the sister school, but I also guess none would want to carry that burden. Not St.Marys because when they come for games they are labelled “stones” to mean inhumanly ugly not Nkuene because they have not gotten to their level yet not Dust a.k.a. (By brother John and his cronies) Materi girls beacuse they overexaggerate their beauty and make them look like sl…(The ink refused to print that). Maybe, just maybe Kaaga, the shoulder to lean on when the school meanscore is in the neighbourhood of 8 and St.Marys are too proud. So this is the ONLY school in Kenya that is polygamous and none of the wives cares yet all of the wives hate it…yet another paradox…I would love to say more about this school but truth is as I said I am not a writer but later I shall coerce my ink to try and tell you what i think about the teachers and the food…till then OH! SHAME TO DEAR NKUBU…(Wrong choice of song) OH! HAIL TO DEAR NKUBU…
    https://ninjagi.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/nkubu-high-school/

    1. We were once your ‘Sister school’ but apparently you couldn’t handle our beauty and brains….hahaha! Alumni Materi girls aka dust. RIP Bro John

  71. Biko 1992 I wasn’t even born!!! Aaaih
    Advice to 13 yr old form 1 me.. Have fun, laugh at all.. And just be you. They will like you either way.

  72. A form four tried to monolize me on my first night as a form one and i had to bite her ear (Maureen was her name) haha from then on…i became ‘kile kimono kiliuma Maureen maskio)……high school was fun

  73. 1999 Shimo la Tewa High School (Mombasa) to 2000 Barani Day Secondary School (Malindi) and finally Malindi High School (stepped out 2003)….It was quite an experience. Unfortunately I was the kind who was always looking, searching very hard, for adventure (read as trouble). Thanks to Mzee and Mama, they never gave up on me. Unfortunately, I am still adventurous!!!!

    1. In these streets with kids who were born in 1991 i used to think that I was old then there is your ilk that were in form one in 1992! I was in nursery!

      I still remember my first day in form one – it was the first time I had a new school bag (and maybe the last time). When you are almost the last born in your family you get to inherit stuff from your siblings and being the quiet and humble one does not help. Actually I wore my last ever pair of new uniform then too.

      Going through a day in school was like surviving in the Afghan desert for an “allied forces soldier’ after straying from the rest of his platoon. There were the prefects, the chemistry and physics teachers (and maths too) then you had to endure the rich kids talking about their parents’ cars during games time – I went to a day school.

      Then there was mum who kept reminding you of the sacrifices she is making as the sole breadwinner of the family! Weight on your shoulders but somehow we made it out alive after 4 years…four long years>. This piece took me back to 2001 with my mum waiting for admission to Kisumu Boys’ High School and now I feel bad that I haven’t gone back since picking my certificate.

  74. Loved the food at my high school but somehow it was never enough…we had great cooks, I loved how the porridge tasted, loved the fish, the chicken etc etc..wasn’t so social but I remember girls were pretty much excited when boy school buses came into the compound..for our school the guy high schools that came a visiting were mainly Changez (Lenana) or Patch…I remember the prefects though they were not bullies as such..but most were feared and /or hated..for the power they held over us. In the month of July, it got really cold. Yes, we owe schools we attended something..no one should ever be sent home for lack of fees. Every child in Kenya by virtue of we who went before, have a right to education. Lets not twiddle our thumbs waiting for others to do it, or for the government…the alumnus are more than enough for these tasks!

    1. What an inspiring message Caroline. As MP Ken Okoth (Kibera) said ““Parents can’t do it alone. Teachers can’t do it alone. Alumni have to step up. Whether its giving your former school a tin of paint or serving on the school board, it doesn’t matter how you give back, what is more important is that you do.”

      Hope you’ve signed up at http://www.myalumnipledge.org. @futurefirstke #asanteshule

    2. ei did I hear you say fish……and did I also hear you say chicken!!!! in school!!! it seems you guys went to school in Java …….let me retreat to my cornet with my bowl of githeri spiced with mkarango

  75. My first day at Moi Forces Academy-Nairobi some form 3 got stabbed in the middle of the night..The same term I sprained my two hands as the form fours in our rugby team used as Mono’s as demonstration personnel..We used to pay to be included in Drama and Music festival trips..Along the way we would be forced to part with 10 Bob each for gazeti ya mwalimu…In form 3 we brewed our first alcohol in the dorms..How could I forget, in form 1 my sweater and tie were given to a Pangani girls student after requesting a souvenir from my form 4 bully..

  76. I felt like I was right there in my former school. Same script different place. Kudos Chocolate Man. Machakos School was the same, we also insisted not to be called “Machakos High School” nor Machakos Boys High School it was either Machakos School or “Mac B”. I hope you had a truck for a school bus too. First day of school a form 2 gathered us and told us we had joined the best day as it was “Kuku and Chapo” (Chicken and Chapati day) only to find out it was Githeri, and for the next four years it was githeri every lunch time apart from once when Moi paid us a visit. I came out hard boiled. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  77. Biko you have brought back nolstagic feelings about where I spent my high school years… The humor too OMG…. If I went back even the teacher with the ass we looked up to would have a piece of me… Haha. Great story. Hillary, http://articlebuzz.org & msafarakenya.wordpress.com

  78. Strathmore School canteen (also no ‘high’) had the only female in the whole compound. Her ass shimmered. And she new how to use it to good effect (especially after hiking prices)
    She had only one (known) name.
    Alice.

    Tams and Kim will get embarrassed(about your forehead, biko) we were all get embarassed by something while in school.

  79. I will tel my 15 yr old self,you cam eto this Place alone and you will leave alone,don’t get carried away by Peer Pressure.Have fun but never forget who you are…

  80. I would tell my 15 year old self to enjoy high school life. Get more involved in the games, clubs and all.
    Live a little more. Be kidogo mischievous. You only go to high school once.
    Biko, you don’t know what cold water is until you have had a shower in Limuru. The thought of it gives me the chills.

  81. Strathmore School canteen (also no ‘high’) had the only female in the whole compound. She had an ass that shimmered. She had only one name.
    Alice.
    She new how to use her assets. hehe. Especially after hicking the price of combi (mandazi wrapped round a sausage.or samosa)
    Hers was a CBK type benchmark rate for an ass. -Did she have an ass smaller or bigger than that of Alice?- was often everybodies first question if you mentioned a girl.
    Bigger, eyes would gleam, smaller and the interest rate would drop as fast as Dr Njoroge would have prefered banks do.
    Biko, embarassment over your forehead by T&K will wane. Eventually. Just keep your head down till then.

  82. Maseno was so egotistical that they refused to acknowledge the “high” in high school. Like the “high” was beneath them. You either simply called it Maseno, or you called it Maseno School. Never Maseno High School.Copy paste Kisii School… Well,wazee hukumbuka!

  83. Hahahaha……long live Chinga boys ….we had saturday night entertainments where we watched movies that came with the boys from Nairobi…..how i hated them….they knew everything….i got saved everytime there was a CU Rally….

  84. This sounds just like where I went to school, a girls’ school though. We didn’t call it ‘high’ school either, haha! Form one was tough, I’d just lost my mum a few months before joining high school and I was in devastated. Luckily, we had counselling at school and I was smart enough to go. If I went back to form one knowing what I know now, I would tell my 14/15 year old self that it DOES get better. I’d tell myself to work harder and get better grades. Cliche, I know, but now I know it would have made all the difference for me.

  85. My grandfather wanted hard boiled back in the at Maseno in the 1960s, in late 1990s history as they say repeated itself. My father also preferred hard boiled still at Maseno. When the time comes for me to choose, I will have hard boiled at the great Maseno School.

  86. Nairobi School, 2001.- Manners maketh a man (a form one-Raboli). There were so many rules and traditions- (You learn that ignorance is no defense quite early). You also got to learn the pecking order and how to take instructions and ask questions later. No snitching and don’t kiss and tell.
    To my 15 year old self- Speak less and listen more

  87. My school was way better.. i guess coz it was a’ Moi’school, joined it in 2002. We had a Bata lorry come yearly and we would get shoes and towels and tissue papers for free.
    No bullying.. two people per cubicle. It was really an awesome experience. Long live Sacho High

  88. hehe… was there (Maseno) from 1995-1998. Tell you that place was so terrifying than the Alshabab. I had no option but to be a bad boy there in order to get some identity at least. Hehehe.. but the mention of Oyier made me laugh. I almost laid his daughter in the thicket behind his canteen. So long to the days of mkate-quarter. hahaa.. Big love to the Ouko hse fraternity.

  89. Hahaha ive laughed throughout this piece..oooh the nostalgia. ..high school was one hunger pang to the next…remember how during midterm we’d all congregate at some chipo joint at luthuli and devour 3 plates of chips eachlike a bunch of convicts …#MFA #SchoOf96

  90. Wow! You were in form one in 1992??!! tsk I was born that year and i love the fact that even back then my alumni high school (Mukumu Girls ) had a reputation with boys haha

    My favorite part was “…with 500 bob you could
    start a small family in the neighbouring Mabungo Hills
    and have kids and send one of them to nursery and
    have money left over to get a haircut. ” Right now 500 barely lasts a week

    You probably already know this but good job Biko

  91. “Lobby to become a dispenser. Lobby hard. You might have to kiss a little booty but that’s ok.. a little politics never killed anyone. A hot sister, or cousin coming for visiting’ll work even better. Because, form one, become one.. become a very good one and you wont get duties throughout your Maseno school life.”

    Wish someone had told me that in Ouko house 2005. Hahaa nice piece Biko.. Bowers house though.. hahaa.. we called that ablution block “snake park” in my time. You can imagine why. If snake park didnt kill your self esteem dammit nothing will.

  92. wooooooooow,,this is exactly what happened during my time in maseno school in the year 2008-2011…..imagne all that hasnt changed

  93. I thought I had the toughest high-sch life in Baricho high school until I found a friend (Oliver Towett) who took me through life in Kabianga high school. Trust me you don’t wonna know stuff…

  94. Biko, the details… From “Timing”, “cold shower”, “whistling”, our awesome Deputy Jim Agutu, showering in the ablutions, Jacobs Well, the chapel, “Knock” i.e. 5am preps, cops brutality…lucky i was one, Oyier`s Tuck Shop…the whole details man, very nostalgic.

    Maseno truly shaped us well, “Kinda piny emanyalo gimoro.” Very proud.

    Proud MOBA, Ouko Hse, 1999-2002.

  95. 1992 The year my mom was in form two! …Biko I was unfortunate enough to see that look of disappointment. It’s haunting. It stays with you forever. Only I was not in highschool, uni. I’d tell my younger self that you will make mistakes, tones of them-course/career wise and life at large. You will fall and fail before you rise and succeed. Sometimes you will kiss asses in your pursuit of your dream. And you have to work your ass off to get what you want because it’s really hard out here. But all in good time things will work out (I like to think that way)
    Btw you didn’t mention about those extremely weird and frightening storos we used to be told especially when there was blackout (devil worshippers, witches and the like- went to one of those girls’ school in south nyanza,you can’t blame me if it was only in my school…. the best part for me, regaling those spiced, highly exaggerated tales to my younger siblings and watch them cringe in horror hehe (I felt like those storybook grandfathers…the ones that used to tell little kids stories) Lemme try to sleep (I need the energy for in a couple hours I’ll be doing the above*kissing ass)although the rumba playing in the bus isn’t helping. At least they’ve played some appreciation song dedicated to mothers

    1. Funny thing is I went to State House and we had the same thing! Senoirs telling the juniors scary stories any time there was a blackout in the hostel.

  96. These happenings and the entire experience from my alma mater still remain vivid, reminiscence engulfs my presence and nostalgia sets in… The cop experience is quite synonymous…. And indeed that life…what never killed us made us wish it did! Then was the Anthem that fueled our resilience… “Maseno Strong!”

  97. MOi Forces Academy – Nairobi, I believe was one of the few academies around.
    This piece brings very interesting memories when loaves of bread were a form of ‘currency’ in paying debts. How people used to sneak into the bus during funkies with fully dressed up in ‘borrowed’ attire from the shirt down to well shined shoes!! I am so sure that posta guys went to their opticians from reading the calligraphy off some well designed envelopes. Good old days.

    Advice to 14 year self, read smart, think big and enjoy the moments!

  98. HAHAHA!..that is definitely a throwback but as an alumini of Loreto High School Matunda i appreciate all the hardship i went through because i emerged a better and stronger person. Advise to a form one is to stay strong and focus on your education you might be many but in the end it will just be you!

  99. hahaha fast forward to 2006, the cops still run a tight ship, wearing badgeless shirts is still a capital offense and guys are yet to find a way of running around all day long and still keep their collars white by the time the cops are doing their rounds. the hanging lines right outside the loos behind olang still stand and nyoyo, white porridge and heartburn reign supreme. the school bus is cleaner than willis and stansfield got a facelift…sometimes when its almost lunchtime, a spoon will be dropped in class by an unknown person and guys will laugh…occasionally a teacher will ask whether we think cooks in the kitchen would laugh if one of them dropped a pen.
    ..every so often a hero hides the iron that gives life to the knock and the only one who could possibly have the keys to Old Makay is…well..you, Biko. hehe

  100. I had a blue bucket and a greenish mabati box. It wasn’t a new experience since I had been in a boarding primary school but everything was different. Guys had beards. It wasn’t a fattening camp as I would be told more times than I could remember later. I was very small in size then and an emotional wreck. As I watched my parents leave I knew my fate was sealed. I remember that as I was being escorted to the dormitory that first day some form four guy came and grabbed my bucket and disappeared in the crowds.
    Should I leave the box and chase after the bucket? I remember asking.
    Confused, I ran after the guy to find him in Gitaru (a dormitory then) with two huuuge bearded guys standing next to him.
    I want my bucket back. I said.
    Mono umechizi?
    He produced two buckets, of similar color and asked which one was mine. I didn’t know which one it was since I had not marked it earlier so I pointed to the one on the left.
    I could not leave there without a bucket.
    This one? He asked me as he brought the one I had pointed to the front.
    Yes. I replied meekily.
    He then proceeded to place the bucket top side down and with all the strength he had brought down his foot on the bottom side of the new blue bucket.
    That was the end of it. His big foot left a big gaping hole at my new bucket then without shame or remorse handed the bucket back to me.
    I was hurt, and angry. I wanted to ask him why he had done it but I figured he might do the same to me so I shut my mouth and boiled with anger from the inside…
    That was my first day in high school..

    1. That was a very warm welcome

      My shirt,trouser and box(with allmy belongings and shopping) were stolen on the first day, on the following day,my box was found on the dormitory roof with nothing inside it

      1. Hehe. I was asked to push two classes so that they merge into one. Luckily, one of the bullies recognized me and I escaped that. A boy who we joined on the same day but had the unfortunate face of looking like his dad, a prominent politician then wasn’t so lucky. Some graphic artist drew a female form on the wall and asked him, politely, to make love to her. He became one of the worst bullies once our mono year ended.

  101. “Maseno was so egotistical that they refused to acknowledge the “high” in high school. Like the “high” was beneath them. You either simply called it Maseno, or you called it Maseno School. Never Maseno High School.
    And we owe Maseno a lot for who we are now because now we constantly show up, we persevere and we survive. We can survive anywhere and anything. I mean if Jacob’s well didn’t kill us, if the insanely cold dawn preps didn’t kill us, if hunger didn’t kill us, if Jim Agutu didn’t break us, ………I think we can survive a lot of things”

    #SeriousTBT Boss..From the only National School on the Equator North of the Limpopo & South of the Sahara

  102. High school in Form one was a sea of peculiar and unnerving scenes. I remember going to the ablution to shower in those cubicles without doors and seeing boys walking around naked! Naked! Their dings and dongs swinging about like black pendulums. Everybody seemed extremely comfortable in their nudity.

  103. Boys with feet that looked like roots that could treat epilepsy… i have laughed so hard my boss had to find out what cracked me up that loud.
    I recall vividly the faces of those girls who kept stealing my water from under the bed.

  104. So Biko is basically my age mate? I can relate with most of what he has written since i was in form one in 1992 and experiences in boarding schools do not differ much apparently. What i am most nostalgic about is that i schooled in one of those schools tucked in tea-growing areas. When guys talk of a cold shower in the morning, i can relate because it was one of the things that scared the shit out of me until i changed my bathing time to lunch hour. In very cold weather, bathing was to be avoided or you would be rushed to hospital with pneumonia. My worst feeling was being subjected to a mob justice by form threes after i smacked one of them cold for trying to bully me. My body hurt everywhere but it saved me from what most of my colleagues went through.

  105. Hahahahaha…let me go get all my highschool letters and go through them, I have kept all my letters from Butere Girls..and ooh, forward this to someone that needs therapy, the hotmail :).

  106. hahaha This was a great read for sure, and the funny thing is no matter the year you went to high school, the experiences are the same. Such good memories have been evoked from reading this. Big up Biko zulu.

  107. You know I saw my high school principal on the JKL show on Thursday and had all this nostalgia about the Chebisaas High School and the other school I went to on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. Its funny that I’d go for both CU and CA rallies being not really aligned to any at the time just to get away from boys. To make chics from akina Karima girls and Moi girls Eldoret giggle. The latter were harder to impress but they were loyal. Those were heavenly days man 🙂 By the time I was out there is this one girl I was convinced I would marry – she even introduced me to her mum – crazy I know. Now look at me all grown up and shit!

  108. my high school we called it the eight wonder of the world. Our ablusions doors were next to the teachers staff room (thats how small our school was)it wud take a column to write bout it. I made best friends in high school campus is just a fake life. I wud like to go give back to my schoool but i hear its now a bakery.8th wonder.

  109. Waaah! Si i have travelled back a decade plus. You have brought up memories! OMGeee. I used to get so many letters with the dedication from uncle Sam – When i see u smile. Wish i culd put my smile here, you tell me if it is that confusing.Thanks Biko this was an awesome read.

  110. Hehehe…..1992 and people think you are old? Your 15 year old self, I was in form 1 in 1991 and every one sympathised with my 13 year old self, and brothers thought I looked like a gal (i’m as straight as Msa road), helped me escape bullying, Biko you must have been very rich 500 bob for me was shopping, pocket money the whole term (I actually ate half a loaf daily till half term) and transport to school and back. And how did I survive drinking water that I stored under my bed in poorly washed plate with traces of cooking fat? Mungu yu mwema…Homa Bay School class of 94

  111. only one person here attended day school or what have i read? schooling next to a changaa den and around 7kms away from home still happens today.
    advice to any form one joining student, take life a day at a time.

  112. Then there was ‘com week’. One week before closing day when we would do nothing but slashing all the grass off the ground. The blunt slashers stored in Old Mackay did nothing to help the commoners. You felt like you were in sobibor as soon as a cop mentioned your name and asked that you move to the Geog room ‘immediately’ for skiving a session of ‘com week’. Oh my! Memories.

  113. With 500 bob you could start a small family in the neighbouring Mabungo Hills and have kids and send one of them to nursery and have money left over to get a haircut.

    AHAHAHAHHAHA

    On day 1 I would have said. Run. Refuse. Don’t do it. DON’T. DO. IT.

  114. a Gati (cop) forced me under his stuffed, socks smelling bed just because I could not draw ‘mandazi na harufu yake’. Oh and on the eve of our graduation to form 2, I and many others slept on a pigsty with the pigs (not in that way) just to hide from form three bullies. Thats why I eat pork….in remembrance of my fellow bedmates long gone to the slaughter houses.

  115. Sir Biko, the prefects, ooh “cops” were worse in 2005 when I joined form one. Running after you and then inspecting the collar of your white shirt for a dot of a stain… aaah! Wait….. did you guys use to drop spoons during a quiet assembly?

  116. Outstanding piece. Made me go back to my first day at Moi Forces Academy. Military camp in every sense of the word. JST Kamunchuluh could instill the fear of God in both teachers and students. Form 4’s were a law unto themselves. Stealing of shirts wah! we would launder them and hang them out to dry while watching them !

  117. That right there described my entire high school life. I left 6 years but all my nightmares are still based in my old schools compound, irrespective of the participants.

    And please move the comments box to the top of the comments. It’s quite a task to scroll through all the comments down to the bottom of the page to leave a comment.

  118. I was in BHS BARINGO high the experience us the same even worse. We had girls back then and they also joined in the bullying of boys though not in a bad way if you look at it now. “sexual molestation”

  119. Am a proud alumni of The Alliance Girls High school. That school constantly reminded us that we were women of substance.i am who I am because of that school. I awe it big time.

  120. In 1996 I was in form three (3Y) and during one evening prep time Amadi, the feared principal caught me red-handed writing a letter to some girl from Nyabohanse girls, a girl whom I had earlier met during national ball games hosted in Maseno. I cant remember when again I have been such a dreadful situation! Guess what? he read what I was writing from where he was standing and just walked away, smiling!

  121. Lenana School Form 1, 1984. In Changes, they were not
    called Prefects. They were Head of House and Head of
    School. Probably worse tyrants than those Maseno Cops.
    Rabbles were bullied silly. Frenchies for breakfast and
    Sunday Yorkshire pudding are what I truly miss about
    boarding school. Obviously, I am the grandfather here.
    1992 I was in 2nd year, pushing a long Campus vacation
    occasioned by those Uni riots!

  122. Maseno hadn’t changed a bit when I joined in 2007, Hahaha. I still hate those guys who were cops, what a bunch of cockheads. And Kisumu Girls, LMAO…I have no words. Amazing piece.

  123. Biko, i wish i had time to write my story……………..boy’s schools had it rough, however, i had it so though myself while in form one, i use to wet the bed…………..yet they made me sleep on top of the double decker bed…………..you can imagine being worken up violently on your 1st day and made to wash your beddie’s beddings at night……………that was in 1991, February, i still feel the pain, i never recovered.

  124. In 2005, i was a form one in Maranda High School. My dad was a teacher at Maseno School. Struggling with students at Jacobs well on a daily basis made me prefer Maranda to Maseno. Little did i know “hell on earth” that awaited for me. All in all, as Magunga can attest, Maseno was a safe heavens compared to Maranda. Everyone wanted to leave the school but surprisingly, 50% managed to sit for KCSE in the same school.

  125. St Joseph’s Rapogi. 2001 and my mother is crying leaving me at the mercy of this gigantic frame of a guy, Jomo! Headboy has been suspended for straying off to the senior teacher’s house for some practicals with the househelp. Ochieng’ Odongo awaits this new servant at the dining table to wait on tables for the Kodhek Table 1. The Kodhek captain Achapa Willis is happy to lead the Q&A tradition: How many sisters do you have, wheelbarrow? Do they look like you? The list is long! Meanwhile, a crackling sound is heard in the horizon as Ozone Buda’s back-folded hads meet with someone’s face! This was just the few hours of a long, tormentous four years! But I love every day of it!!

  126. Note to thy 15 year old self

    If you are not book smart, focus and give 101% to talent and sports.

    Identify and actively participate in clubs you have passion.Drama Club-Churchill,Music club-S.Sol,Football-V.Wanyama,Journalism-J.Biko………….Cheering Squad Leader-M.Sonko.

    Point is.Current society massively rewards talent and effort.Wish someone told me that about 15yrs ago while in Form 1, I would be minting shillings through paintings which I had worn several awards in primary school….and not sitting behind this PC at late hours.

  127. Haha. Am a Nguviu allumni. I remember our deputy ‘kaka’ telling some guy ” i saw you kissing a girl!! now go and kiss the jembe!” meaning he goes and dig as purnishment.

  128. Kericho High. Yes. A Tiny form one admitted to harambee one in 2003,,,my experiences are all jiggled up in my head. from the scrum at the school canteens, to getting 5% in mathematics, to getting a girl from mercy Girls,kipsigis girls, and Moi Tea G. Well,, form one was tough.I have soo many memories I can’t write them ,,as I am not a good writer. We used to boil maize too, and talk to girls. Real girls. From our sister school,,Kipsigis Girls. I Was an ass and boob guy. I was more into girls that into githeri ukiwa na avocado…. oooh, the “pinch”….hehehe….Niggas went around with a polythene bag requesting for a pinch of the precious Loaf … Our our bus, Face me …..Good memories were made in that one .. it being a lorry turned to bus,,it was soo fast that we were damn proud of it. Long live Kericho High. !

  129. It’s the comments that are funnier! People went through some dreadful experiences in high school. I thank God for my alma mater, a simple catholic school run by nuns. It was a public school, so we had people from the richest families, as well as those whose family had sold the last cow, just to make the form 1 fees. There were the posh girls from Nai (very snotty, even those that came from Nairobi slums), and the shaos from that village next to our school. But here’s the thing I’ve taken with me all these years later: Those nuns equalized us like ice cubes in a tray. They actually made it unglamorous to identify with the posh squad. And so now, 20 years post high school, I am forever grateful that I went to a catholic nuns school. My advise to myself @ 15: Work hard, play hard, learn a sport, learn some leadership skills from school (volunteer a lot), and treat everyone as your equal, for they indeed are. Most importantly, some of your classmates will be very senior people in the country. Be nice to all.

  130. 1992???Man…Biko you should be a ghost worker by now. I wasn’t even born yet. Guess my parrents were then planning how I would come about the next year.
    High school,well,kwanza I remember having classmates who we would sneak into the school shamba to steal(but I do not think it was so,si we had paid fees..lol). Anywho,long story short,we once jumped through windows and one of us was unconcious for a minute,tena at 11pm…It was the longest minute esp with the watchman on our case chasing us around the school

  131. Note to thy 15 year old self

    If you are not book smart, focus and give 101% to talent and sports.

    Identify and actively participate in clubs you have passion.

    Point is.Current society massively rewards talent and effort.Wish someone told me that about 15yrs ago while in Form 1, I would be minting shillings through paintings which I had worn several awards in primary school….and not sitting behind this PC at late hours.

  132. Why are people always hating on the Nairobi crowd in high school.it wasn’t our fault we came from the city,that as it turns out, most of you currently leave in, and are probably more “snotty” than those of us that grew up here.

  133. i really hated my school i am not sure ad be willing to go back there for whatever reason,, butI made sure i got my good grades for me #sigh

  134. that nivea for men #playitcool thingie sounds like a good treat for my cuzo who is joining form one, but only if his school ain’t like Magunga’s. advice for him; work hard and have some little fun.

  135. Its funny watu walisomea International schools na walikua na bouncing castles ndani ya class are also commenting how this post gave them nolstagia. The devil is a liar. Bowers house

  136. One advice: Nothing lasts forever, in the blinking of an eye, the first year will be over and here comes form two. Just make sure that when it gets to class work, every Tom, Dick, Harry and Mary should know, there is a really bright kid in form 1.

  137. Dear 15 year old me in Moi Girls school Nairobi… Relax!!! Boys will still be in existence even after your done with university…. 🙂

    And on a side note, I lived for those days I would be alighting from our school bus in a boys school….

  138. lol. I was born when you was going through high school!!! Biko!
    anyway I would tell my 15 year old self that “its never that serious!” ati sijui that hot guy didn’t reply my mail as soon as I replied his, sijui who said I walk like I’m modeling blah blah blah… it is really never that serious!! hehe my high school is Mugoiri Girls it is a national school now and that strike I silently organized brought a new bus, new diet new houses and so on… but given a chance I wouldn’t go back to high school, I mean I have come to love other stuff like fashion and alcohol and road trips/vacations to amazing dream places instead of those funny boy schools we went to.

  139. Heh… I should also do one about my S1 experiences in a certain school in Mbarara, Uganda. In the meantime, @magunga, @bikozulu and the rest of the gang, here is an opportunity to relive the days of writing love letters muwado.com/muwadoloveletter2/

  140. Thank you for the weekly literary dose Biko!
    Starehe was no different on the mental turmoil you describe in a form 1 which was exacerbated by the ‘enemy’ (the force aka prefects)

  141. Before Guantanamo, there was Maseno, this was hilarious!!! I never got the chance of attending a boarding school. My boy did. Dagoretti High a.k.a Ditches! Every day I prayed from my son until one fine morning his Papa sent us papers for us to process so that he can be transferred to go study abroad!!! Lets say Ditches was a hell-hole!!! From the day he set foot theretill the day he got out in form 3, it was hell for me. Case after case. prefects were deities!! that was 2007 – 2009. My son at form 3, I was done!!!

  142. You say before Guantanamo, there was Maseno!!! Ever heard of Onjiko Tura at the Ahero plains!! Gosh

    You have just had hot nyoyo and uji for lunch in the searing heat, (I think it used to be 45 degrees) then get into class for afternoon session for a double maths. Even face washing never washed the sleep away. At night you have a combination of heat, talking mosquitoes and bed bugs (worse when schools just opened, I think the bugs had been starved for a full month and were eating retro) I finally learned how to sleep with whole face covered without suffocating!
    But I agree with you about the Kisumu Girls! Those ones were veery veeery veeeeery Baaaaaaaaaad! I hope to God they are good nowadays

  143. I hope my kids don’t ever feel embarrassed by my forehead when they get to high school…..you really have a way with words Biko….At least I can relate to the 500 bob being so much money. That was my pocket money for a whole term.
    A form one being given a smelly shoe and told to call his mother, that was the worst of it….And there is a time guys stole a chicken from the principal’s house and convinced the school cook to make it for them. High school was really something, we survived though!

  144. Why was there always a light cateress with a fine ass in these our schools. godamn!! ours was fiiine!! hehe and i see what you did with the diversifying risk portifolio. hehehe nice one!!

  145. Bathing stark naked was a shocker but got used to it after a few days. Fortunately, we had running water all through. We came out aright, even if we went to schools with unpronounceable names. Kangubiri…Private bag Nyeri. Great Memories. ’92 was my gap year, waiting to join campus. Chocolate man young!

  146. Gosh!! You were in high school in 1992??! I was only an year old then!
    Now, if I had to advice my 14 year old self, “Cheer up kid, it’s just ‘ugali-almost’ uji. and boiled cabbage. However unbelievable this sounds, it’s not meant to kill you.”

  147. I was in form one in 88:when Kenyan GDP was still equal to Malasia. At 12, I was too young to be bullied but all new boys had to bathe each night after preps. We eventually became so good at it that we would shower in the rain. Of course a parent witnessed this and was not amused so daytime rain showers were banned. My boys joined form one this week and I told them that there is nothing like circumstance-just opportunity

  148. I would advise 15 year old me to be less conservative and actually make friends. They would have been a sure bet to successfully surviving the hellish experience of public high school.

  149. That fine ass cateress was my mum. We lived at the staff quarters the side where the chapel is. Life was just awesome in maseno, mangoes, avocados (gosh they were plenty) and bananas. Mabungo hills had so many mad people (no pun)

  150. Maybe i should make ‘last to comment’ a thing… i like reading through all your comments and LOL. “…Boys with feet that looked like the roots of a plant that could treat epilepsy.” hahaha really Biko. Though i have seen some of those toes.

  151. “And you were unsure of many things, unsure of who you were and what you wanted and where you fit in the grand scheme of life…”
    Sounds like 28 to me.

    -28 year old

  152. I would tell the 15 year old that forget the mouth watering aroma from your mom’s kitchen. Here we partake of weevils infested githeri with paraffin (kerosin) inside and kales (sukuma wiki) are like those being fed to cows. Forget the medical insurance cover, here we all converge at one common room run by a school nurse. Forget the comfort of your bed at home here we sleep on a two inch mattress and the principal ensures that it is two inch. Forget that your father will come and ask school administration why you were punished, here its everyone for himself and God for us all. And finally forget the tech gadgets at home, here we only have one librarian which you must befriend to enable you get good books all the time.

  153. In my school we slaughtered pigs, milked cows, irrigated kales in the shamba, watched the latest block buster movie straight from the USA before slipping off into the village town all on a typical Saturday…………..

  154. I’m a proud Shimo La Tewa alumni. Not the GOK Prison even though it felt like it at first. It had a ‘The’, i.e The Shimo La Tewa School, or simply The Mighty Shimo. We ate beans everyday. E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y. Due to the constant heartburns I walked up to the school nurse one day and told him I had BIS (Beans Intolerant Syndrome), so I instead fed on some oily cabbages. To this day I hate beans and cabbages.

  155. ”Maseno was so egotistical that they refused to acknowledge the “high” in high school. Like the “high” was beneath them. You either simply called it Maseno, or you called it Maseno School. Never Maseno High School.”