Guest Post: Nostalgia Diaries: Kenyan School Life In The 70s.

With all the drama that has dogged the Kenyan education sector, it is hard to imagine what schooling was like in the 70s. Our nostalgic correspondent Ochieng Kochidi, takes a trip down memory lane to a different era when students used fountain pens.

I attended Primary school in Nakuru during the 7-4-2 -3 era, which was characterized by seven years of primary school, four years of secondary school, two years of high school and at least three years of University for the undergraduate degree. Around 1985, the Government transitioned to an 8-4-4 system, which consisted of eight years of primary school, four years of secondary school and at least four years of University for the undergraduate degree.

One of the things that I remember quite clearly is the textbooks issued in school. Yes, you heard me right! Textbooks and even notebooks (we called them exercise books) were issued free to students in primary schools all over the country regardless of which school you attended.

We Are Playing With Fire

It is difficult to be optimistic about the bright future when the country biggest airport goes ablaze and the most we can do is stare helplessly. Bright in our case conjures up the image of huge flames burning out of control in the distance. When the arrivals unit of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) airport caught fire last week, I was not surprised by the response. The signs were all there for us to see. The ridiculous tussle for the duty free shops, the stinking toilets that had no water, poorly lit corridors and just a few days before the fire, there was a jet fuel shortage that had athletes headed to Moscow delayed for hours.

The fire broke out before 5am and three hours later, it was still raging mostly because the fire hydrants were out of water. It read like bad joke. We are pretty fortunate that no passengers or airport staff suffered causalities or died and everyone near the scene scampered to safety.  The fire was detected by an airport official who noticed smoke billowing from the terminal. We could conclude that the nameless individual turned to be the only functioning ‘fire detector”. The brigade was called but they were ineffective because the water pressure was inadequate. Army personnel were photographed sprinting back and forth with buckets of water. Might as well have called in the Navy. The situation could not have been more desperate.

The head of security at the Kenya Airports Authority Eric Kiraithe was quoted by the dailies saying, “By our own standards this is so big”. You would think JKIA was bombed. I suppose like most Kenya tragedies, it will be blamed on an ‘electric fault”.  JKIA really has no standards. We now have to brace ourselves for the embarrassment of a burnout arrival terminal and as we pave way for investigations. It won’t be long before a commission is set up and the usual pledge to leave no stone unturned will be made. We have been through this rant of disaster preparedness for too long. For the ordinary Kenyan, fire tragedies have become normalized much like the road carnage and economic sabotage by the political elite.

I guess out here, where there is smoke, we quickly run in to stock the fire. Only one month ago, the Kenya National Brigades Association (Kenfiba) sounded the siren. The gist of the statement was that fire engines, taxpayers property were disposed of like stale cake. We were treated to an even more demeaning expose and an example of classic systemic greed. Three fire engines were auctioned after the council failed to settle a bill of kshs 7, 400. Another engine was sold after failure to settle a bill of kshs 29, 660.  The Nairobi governor Evans Kidero admitted that the situation was dire and as expected a promise was made, in essence that the county government would be receiving donations from various well wishers. Obviously disaster does not seek appointment. Nothing was done and after the fire at JKIA, we expect the usual plea for divine intervention. “This is not the time to blame one another. We need to come together as Kenyans and pray for our Country”.

A series of measures will be announced which will amount to nothing. A scapegoat will be arraigned; probably Kamlesh Pattni and counter accusations will feature in the news cycle until the next big news item shifts our attention to the pressing matter of the day. The siren has been sounded, there is a fire in the distance and no one is running.

 

Image Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/?slideshowID=287&slideshow_title=jkia-fire-in-pictures

 

MARRIED BUT AVAILABLE (THE MBA CLUB)

 

Ipsos Synovate courtesy of their public affairs arm released a poll that left relationship skeptics disturbed. The stats basically revealed one thing that is already in public knowledge. Marital infidelity is now a national past time. Typically, in cases of infidelity, the person at the receiving end of the cheating game is always the last person in the know. Your wife could literally be playing right under your nose but guys are generally too slow or arrogant to read the signs. Women are lot smarter at hiding their tracks. They think through the options, meticulously plan their strategies and erase all evidence that they could be anything less than a loving and faithful spouse.  A woman only reveals that she is playing the field, when she achieves a secure position and is no longer bothered by the consequences of discovery.

Men on the other hand only have one strategy, the away game. If the affair is conducted away from the house it will not be detected, so the man thinks. But since we only have enough blood to run one brain at a time, the thinking is never that thorough. We forget to prepare an alibi, leaving evidence strewn all over the place and all the wife has to do is call her hubbies’ close friend who will blubber out such an outrageous lie, he ends up implicating you.

Fidelity is no longer just the husband’s toughest test. Women are struggling as much with the notion of sexual exclusivity. Marital boredom and fatigue is spiced up by the on-off affair and the fear and guilt of discovery gives it that adrenaline rush that lures couples back for more. Which must be why, most married couples are secretly enjoying an MBA status. We are all happily married but available for play.

Image Source: theattractivearts.com