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School

GOODBYES ARE OVERRATED

Lewis was to write this week, but due to some very real reasons (that I will not mention), and definitely not excuses, he could not. Therefore, I will fill in this week. In all honesty, I had nothing to do so this wasn’t a big deal to me. Finishing school can have that effect on someone.

The past few days have been full of farewell parties, last time photos and ridiculous amounts of goodbye(s). Almost everyone I know is saying goodbye to someone or something. A good percentage saying goodbye to 8-4-4 system. I am among this group. It’s been a long academic journey from the times when we would draw grasshoppers to crooked Kenya and Africa maps to brains and the whole human body. In the spirit of appreciating the 8-4-4 system, maybe one day I will be asked to draw a grasshopper in an interview panel and man will I thank my teacher for the lessons, at the same time giving the interviewers an ‘I got this’ look. It’s a look full of confidence.

So back to the main point, goodbyes. In my opinion, just as the title clearly stipulates, they are overrated. How many times have you cried when saying goodbye to someone only to realize a day later that you did not even think of them in the 24hours you had? This is obviously rhetorical so moving on… How many times do we say goodbye to people with promises of ‘we will talk’ ‘keep in touch’ ‘I will miss you’ and yet never keep the very promises. The contact information becomes one of the many contacts in your phonebook never meant to be deleted, just in case. Just in case you visit a town they are in and you need a host. Alternatively, just in case you meet one day, you want to be the one who never deleted the number. It will be even more advantageous on your side if the person has a new number, and does not have yours. You can always pull the Your-phone-is always-off-whenever-I-call card. Works every time!

This is not the first time I am leaving a learning institution. This is not the first time I am parting ways with friends. And of course, I mean this with distance as the factor and not any drama. I have been in boarding schools most of my life so I know what it means to say goodbye to years of friendship when eventually everyone has to go back home and the probability of a meeting is at 0.05%. I said goodbye to my primary school friends. Those I am still in touch with are few, but still more than I expected. I expected zero communication. I can say thanks to social media. I said goodbye to high school friends and it is the same case with a little upgrade in form of auto books. They were ordinary books with many celebrity photos, and colorful writing with all types of pens. These books had five main categories, name, nickname (aka), hood, digitz (yes, that’s how we spelt digits back then), and the partying shot. Any other additional data was allowed as long as it was within your page allocation. The few special friends to the owner of the auto books would have the privilege of using two pages. That was an honour! This past week I said goodbye to my campus friends. The difference here is that this time round I was mature enough not to make a big deal out of a goodbye. The most my friends got from me was ‘safe journey’. And this is only for those I was in contact with while they were travelling.

What is the point of elevating something as simple as a farewell into a mountain of rushed, fake and unclear emotions that will only last the duration of the farewell after which everything resumes normalcy? Again, rhetorical.

As Africans, we have a ‘culture’ of making farewells such a big deal. Let’s take for instance a family member is travelling out of the country, especially when the destination is the USA. There will be a family get-together, a Harambee, and several meetings held all in preparation for the farewell of a family member. To me these farewells are just but a huge waste of money and time. At the end of the day, when this person leaves, chances of communicating with them are close to nil. The next time such a buzz will exist is when the said family member is set to return home. Then we start another episode of ‘Let’s waste money with an excuse’.

As I said earlier, I have had a week full of goodbyes. Classmates, friends, neighbours. Everyone was bidding everyone goodbye. Be it face to face, via a long emotional text that may or may not include an ‘I’ll miss you’ with a series of emojis that I find absurd, via social media with a long post about the journey of whatever it is you are saying goodbye to and its relation to you. In my opinion, we only say goodbye to the proximity, when it comes to people. I don’t see what else changes other than that. If there was good communication before, I do not see why that should change. If there was none, there is no point kissing each other’s you-know-whats (read that as a word that starts with an ‘A’) in the name of promising to keep in touch. It’s time to lose the façade. There is no point in creating an emotional environment with people when you know so well you have no intention of staying in touch with them. it’s better to let them go without any expectations. At least this way, when communication fails, no one is betrayed.

Do I sound negative? No? Wonderful.

In related news, we will be changing the design of this website soon. It’s a work in progress. But since am not one to make a big deal out of that, letting you all know is good enough for me.

11 LESSONS I’VE LEARNED IN CAMPUS

The more I grow the more my fears become vivid. They become clearer and do get me thinking, though not worried.  My fears originate from things I have seen and felt as well as things I am anticipating. I fear turning out like my dad. I fear poverty, that is my number pushing force in life. There is no glory in poverty. I fear being a failure in life, failure to me is when I will be unable to inspire anyone to greatness and when not even a single soul will owe making it in life to me. I also fear losing the one I love. I don’t give it much thought though, I don’t want to break my heart before it’s broken for real. Above all, exams are my top fear, the papers are a source of frustration and sickness. To me exams are pure torture.

Currently I am in the exam period, writing my last papers as an undergraduate. As I am facing my fear, pretending to be brave, let me present to you some of the lessons I have learned through out my life in campus;

 

1. Don’t be cool

There was a time I hit my head real bad on a slab when learning to skate. It is not like learning to stake is bad, the only problem is that I was doing it to appear cool. I wish I would have just taken it as an hobby or learning a new skill. It would be better getting hurt on that rather than when trying to be seen as cool. I even stopped trying to go to gym. It is just not my thing.

 

2. Live your life

There are times in second and third year when I was always on the pursuit of being influential. I wanted to create a name. Well it went well but at the expense of other things. I needed time to interact much and to keep face needs cash. I realized that if I was to keep that then I would run into debts and keep friends who don’t even know me. Well, I let that shit go and started keeping my low profile. I am a low key guy.

 

3. Have good vibes

Be nice to people, you are going to meet people with different stories. Have some sense of humor, it comes in handy when you got not lucky to have a great face and body and again more miserable that you are broke. Spreading good vibes will come in handy. Most of the people I have interacted with have always liked being with me for being free spirited in a good way and just being positive.

 

4. Be good at something

Get a craft that you will do. Whether it’s in sports, modelling, photography or just any creative. Be good at a damn thing. You will need in building who you are. People also tend to like people who have something going. You might also have some means of income in the process. Even though I tried out stuff like modeling, I ended up settling in what ticked to me most, writing. It is the craft I hope to improve on every other day.

5. Friends are important

Good friends are a gem. Some times you will want to be stupid, you will need your ass covered and some other days you will just want great company. Well, real friends always come in handy. Just be good to them. Just be a good friend it will pay off during the rainy days.

I have had real good friends in campus. They might have been a handful but they were the best. They were my moving form. Ohh any signs of disloyalty would be punished instantly. Losing me as a friend is a big loss on you, just so you know.

 

6. Create memories

Four years is a long time when just starting up. By then time has this one characteristic; it flies. You need to create memories that you will hold to. You will what them to even have good laughters later on.

I have had real good times in school, we visited my home with friends just because we wanted to. I had some real good nights made of beautiful people. The times I spent with Princess were really great. Princess always has this thing around her, it’s more of positive energy and awesomeness.

 

7. You cannot do everything

There are a lot of parties to attend. There are  a lot of groups to be members to. There are lots of pretty ladies. Well, you cannot have it all, just choose the ones that are worth it and keep at them.

I kept close to only those that I could stand, I let go of several people and companies. In the end it felt so peaceful.

 

8. It is not as serious just yet

It is campus, you are barely grown. You just left home the other day. Don’t take it all too serious. I think we will be forgiven more in campus for being asshole than it would happen outside school.

I did a lot of shitty stuff in school. Some I am not proud of but I don’t regret. I mean it ain’t as serious just yet.

 

9. Do what you want

Well being the land of freedom you are free to do what you want. Even with the knowledge that freedom comes with responsibility.

I did drugs, yeah, some times I would drink from Monday to Monday, the catch would be that I would realize that it was not economically, and health wise viable. Some days I did weed. All these I did because I wanted. So judge if you like but I did them when I was happy.

 

10. Cooperation is better than competition

We are all in a race. People have dreams to realize, goals to achieve. It gets to a point where you feel that people will get to their goals before you, so you start competition.

I have grown to get fulfillment in being an helping hand. I have realized that the world is too big and everyone can have their own space to grow. A progressive friend is a progress to you as well. You never know the days you will want a hand as well, most definitely an empty hand won’t make the difference.

11. One girlfriend at a time is probably not enough.

Well, who brings you a pool with a variety of beautiful clever ladies stack up together then wants you to pick just one. Don’t beat yourself over the fact that sometimes you might want to move through. Be free move, they also need the services.

That is only till you will get to meet this special being who will make all the others smell for you like rotten onions.

 

LIFE AS A PREACHER’S KID; SCHOOL LIFE

As I write this, am listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album, Divide. It’s one hell of an album! Look at the title of this again, crazy that am listening to this? No? Well good to know.

There is a lot of scrutiny, judgement, expectations, superstitions, stories and responsibilities that come with being a preacher’s kid or a pastor’s kid. Sometimes we just call ourselves the PKs. Sounds cool huh? It’s not easy to be a PK. Everything you say, everything you touch, everything you eat, how you dress, whom you talk to becomes a major topic of discussion at the church and among your peers. There is a specific way that we PKs are expected to live. Make a small diversion and you might as well tattoo your own forehead with the word “sinner”.

PKs are expected to be holy. Even holier than the preachers themselves. What people fail to understand is that we PKs are not the preachers. We are the kids. In the same way, being a thief’s child does not qualify one to be a thief. Debatable.

Some of the PKs become so later in their lives when the parents become preachers. These ones face bigger challenges as they have to adjust to a new lifestyle. Some, like me, are born into it. We do not need to adjust, pastors raise us. We know how it is. We know right from wrong right from childhood. We attend all Sunday school services, we participate in all the activities of the church, we live in the limelight of the congregation. We know all the church elders by name. We are expected to grow up like saints. But we are not; at least I know I am not.

You know that saying ‘where much is given much is expected?’ well, it doesn’t apply to us PKs. What is given to us is criticism, radicalization, talks of how much we are really bad, how much we are the defiant souls and how some are a big disappointment; and yet what is expected is an angel. How is that even possible? People really?

I have been in boarding schools most of my life. In class 7, I remember being chosen to be the Sunday School prefect. Yes, it was a thing. My main duties were to ensure that the lower classes, that is class 4 and 5 had a smooth service, were organized well during the services, and ensured that I safely kept the offertory until the main service was over. No biggie right? Well, I hated it. I was chosen purely based on the fact that my father was a big man of the cloth and was highly respected in my school. That was my only qualification. Just that. My wonderful leadership qualities were not paramount in the decision making. Aside from being exempted from manual work, I never saw any other advantage in that responsibility. I also have problems with having people look up to me. I am not a role model. I refuse to be responsible for someone when trying to live like me fails. I was super excited when I didn’t have to be a prefect anymore. My replacement was a very staunch SDA, and again, that was her only qualification. She had a hard time though, it was an Anglican school.

In primary school the teachers kept looking at me and seeing a good girl. A PK. Someone who can mentor others. I am not saying am not a good girl, am just saying classifying me in that category fully would be a lie to everyone. People rarely focused on me as a person. It was always me as the PK. I was very good in Maths. My lowest score back then was 90%. One time I was leading in a maths test, and when I was receiving my badge, our headmistress says “girls, be like Paula. Prayers help in academic excellence”. I rolled my eyes. Yes, I would pray once in a while, but you can’t pass maths without practice. Give me some credit damn it!

In high school, I remember joining the CU and being a very active member. But then somewhere along the way, I just got bored. Why you ask? Quite a charming number of the members are what the common man calls pretenders, hypocrites. These are the people who would be so prayerful on weekend challenge (a whole weekend of prayers) and become a perfect example of bad influence the next week. These are the people who would ask you in some weird accent to raise your hands as you worship God, (they always pronounced it as guard) and at the end of every week, they are the ringleaders when it comes to writing diss letters to brother schools. I couldn’t take it. It was so much pretense I left. Then came the issue of being a PK who does not attend CU. People can talk! Eventually they got over that.

Let’s get real for a while, when you are in class with a PK, what do you expect? Quick list. Long skirt, Bible genius, generous to all, kind in all manner of ways, church lover. You mention it. Basically the textbook good girl. What happens when good girl here is caught in a scandal? Any scandal actually. What happens? People talk. What do they say? “Ata mtoto wa pastor pia?” “Hao ndio hua wameharibika sana”. I have heard these words so often they are now irritating to my ears. I don’t give a *insert any curse word*

I once found myself in some crazy scandal back in high school. I still hate how the principal handled the whole situation. Good girl here was suspended and that was the beginning of my ‘rebellion’. I was punished for a mistake I did not commit. I was very bitter. And, hey, which PK gets suspended? From then, I stopped caring about what teachers and fellow students would say. I wasn’t going to be just a PK. That will not be my legacy. Oh, and I did leave a mark in the school. And it’s not as a PK.

My school life was mainly being classified as PK.  Until I changed all that. If I were to narrate the stories of my mischievous acts in school, I would get all sorts of reactions. The most common one will be “Na wewe ni mtoto wa Pastor?”

I am now in my final year of university. And guess what, until a month ago, very few people knew am a PK. I love it that way. I can live my life as I want. No posters attached to my life.

Being a PK is a good thing until it’s all that you are. It’s all that defines you. It’s all people see when they look at you. Everyone wants to establish their own mark in the world, no one wants to be remembered as so and so’s person.

I have survived school. As far as I am concerned, that was the toughest part of all this.

This is an introduction. Since we are all aware that I am a PK, we are ready to move to phase two. Life as a Preacher’s Kid: Social Life.