Young and stupid.
In our youthful days we are motivated to try out so many things. Some of them are to build us up. Others border insanity and barbarism. They are the blocks that make us anyway. The blocks are never equal in shape, size and composition.
Today, it is all about a night of a 100 canes. Yes, some of you here cannot stand or sit to hear I was caned. You think and believe hardship and caning ended with you. You could be right. Because you do not know what other went through. While some do not even understand how you could be caned. They know it as uncouth. Away from all our different thinking. To the caning part.
But before we get to know what canning this is all about, let’s set the context. It will bring some somber emotions. We have to talk about it anyway.
I went to a school on the slopes Mau escarpment. The school had been cut out of the forest. This came with some challenges that we will talk though. This place was freezing cold. I could compete favorably with Limuru for the national coldness title. I was not well-structured to deal with this kind of temperature. To be open I was so small and slender. Not sure anything has changed yet.
Supper was always served at 6:00PM. I remember one day I was served my Ugali by the famous and diligent Kosgei. This man is a hero. He had been a cook in that school for 28 years by the time I was joining. When I visited the place 3 years ago I still found him. Unchanged. Same outlook oomph and energy. Back to the ugali story. I was then served what was to lubricate the Ugali to help it maneuver my gullet. Immediately my ugali began to swim. There was nothing else on the plate other than the white block cream substance and a clear liquid. That night I had Ugali and non spiced and unsalted cabbage soup for supper. When you don’t have an option, anything is delicious.
Where it All Began
Year: 18 Years Ago
Location: X Boys Boarding
(Where X is the DEB school I went to).
Supper was already done and people were rushing in for evening prep. No one ever wanted to deal with Mr K wrath. Or let me just call him Soyo like we used to. He was so ruthless. The Bell was not to tell you to go in. It was to find you in. My boarding counterparts would understand how evening prep was a nightmare. Imagine a nightmare while you can’t even sleep.
On this night I forgot to visit the washroom on my way to class. Let’s just say forgetting has been a thing since… I cannot remember. The nearest washrooms from our class were 800 meters away. Behind Malawi. The school compound was not only deserted but was silent. You could hear brain cells absorbing and rejecting information. There was no way I was going out and face Soyo’s wrath. On a different though I wish I had. The night wouldn’t be as bad.
I tried to tighten my bladders. And I did a good job. Not so good though. Just before eight o’clock, the elasticity of my bladder was at maximum. I had to find a way out. The brilliant guy I have always been, had a solution. I didn’t have to go out.
My desk was the fifth from the blackboard adjacent to the left wall; furthest from the door. Only one desk was behind mine. One that I shared with a long time bully. Looking below the one story class structure through the window, there was my salvation. I could just stand and relieve myself. The content would only irrigate the entrance of a store that had never been opened.
Monophobia motivated me encourage two other friends into my relief process. This was through the well-crafted written pieces of paper. I had folded them into minute pieces that I doubt the legibility of the content. However, they joined. Without saying a word, we stood up, walked to the windows and unleashed our instruments of destruction. No sooner we started than a flashlight lit.
It was flashing at us. At this time of the night only the watchmen roamed around the dormitories. With total disregard of the silence in the entire school complex, we started to tease the watchman below. They did not have any permission to get into classes. Especially when they should be protecting us from external threats. Three boys challenging each other who can shoot the furthest while teasing the watchie, attracted other class members. It became a raining choir.
I obviously cannot remember who became the shooting champion. The teasing went on for a while before the watchman stitched off the flashlight. We then all went back to our desk to read as if nothing had happened.
With a thud, the door swung open. In a black fluffy jacket stood Soyo. Breathing anger, fire and whatever else people breath at night when they are mad. We had disrespected him, caused commotion and above all been mischievous and naughty.
In whatever fraction of a second it was; I was airlifted from my desk to a cold floor. A sharp stabbing pain from my cheeks brought me to reality. I got some real beating before Soyo, picked my desk mate to share the treatment. Everyone else who had participated was then required to join the bandwagon of tasting the floor as one received some strokes of the cane.
When Soyo got to the end of the queue, he would get back to me. And start all over again. He refused to tire. After around ten cycles of receiving strokes; which was not a definite number, he asked the entire class to join the floor. The cries of guilty and the innocent decorated the air. While we thought that the preps would mark the end of the World War three that I had initiated, it never came to be. When he got to the end of the cement caressing queue, he would look at me and get angry afresh.
End of the Rain
We must have been in the hot chambers for almost three hours. Our salvation came at 10:45 PM. The real watchman always switched off the lights at this time. In darkness a midst the painful moans and cries, he ordered us to go sleep. This was total freedom. But not to me. I knew wrath awaited me.
He led us to Uganda; our dormitory with his flashlight. I sneaked into Malawi bathrooms, where I spent the next two hours hiding from my foes. And nursing my injuries. By morning the fear of Soyo among my classmate had escalated versus the anger they had against me.
Later, Soyo would find my mother on visiting day to share the escapades of that night. Today I reminisce the stupid things I tried out as a young boy. You should too.