What you need to know:
- Many children also started roaming the streets.
- In Mwisho wa Lami market, for example, school children were increasingly being sighted idling around shops.
When schools were closed indefinitely due to Covid, parents and children celebrated. Learners got freedom while many parents got an extra helping hand.
“I no longer have to worry about cows,” said Nyayo. Rasto too was excited since his grandchildren were home, and would be sent for whatever errand.
Many children also started roaming the streets.
In Mwisho wa Lami market, for example, school children were increasingly being sighted idling around shops.
“They are just being children,” Saphire said when one day Rasto complained that his grandsons were joining bad company at the market. “We all did all these things, why don’t we want children to do them?”
“When will the schools open we take these children back to teachers?” Asked Alphayo. He now respected teachers more: “Only teachers can handle the children.”
Without doubt, children were having a lot of freedom — I met them everywhere I went. The only children who were not enjoying were those whose parents are teachers, for instance Electina, Honda and Branton.
As soon as schools closed, we made a strict timetable. Everyone knew what to do from when they woke up till they went to sleep. Fiolina was in charge of supervising chores while I was in charge of academics — ensuring they followed their study timetable, giving assignments and marking.
There was absolutely no time for them to join other children at the market. The only time Brandon left home was when he went to supply mandazi. But this stopped when the business, as I expected, collapsed.
“I wish I had become a teacher,” said my sister Yunia when she visited us. “You teachers know how to control children, yours are very disciplined.”
“Ni kujaribu tu,” said Fiolina. “And we thank God.” “I respect you teachers,” added Yunia, “Theophilas last looked at a book in March. I think he has even forgotten how to write.”
“As for my daughter Perpertual who is in Form One, let us just pray she will not be married by January.”
I said nothing for I knew all Yunia wanted was for us to host his rude children. That was not going to happen.
What we did not tell Yunia was that we too were struggling with children. We had been too strict at the beginning, but it was becoming difficult to maintain the momentum.
No parent can consistently handle someone like Branton. Strict as we are, we also need support — that is why I usually use other teachers to put sense in his head when I can.
With schools closed, I had no other teachers to report Branton to.
You see, things were going well until the day Prof Magoha announced that schools would reopen in January next year. And that all learners would lose a year.
From that day, Branton refused to read. He told Fiolina there was nothing he was missing as everyone will be taught afresh in January. I too had become tired of checking his books daily.
The girls also abandoned books, completely. The children now had a lot of time on their hands, and they definitely wanted to go out.
Branton, on realising that I usually go to Hitler’s from 4pm, also started leaving home at that time. He would go to play soccer with his friends, but soon he started coming back late.
“This son of yours will bring us problems,” Fiolina complained. “We have no idea where he comes from when he arrives at night.”
I was about to take action against Branton, but Fiolina uttered some words that made me remain calm.
“As long as you go at Hitler’s every day and return late at night, your son will keep copying you,” she said.
Once Electina realised that Branton was getting away with coming back late, she also started visiting her friends. And the two became very close, which is unusual. Last Saturday, Branton disappeared at noon, and did not return till late in the night. Despite Fiolina declaring that he should not be given food, Electina sneaked supper into his room. The next day, it was Electina’s turn to disappear. She left at 2pm and came back past 6pm.
On Monday when I investigated the matter, I found out that Electina had been visiting Morgan, Maina’s sons who is in Form 2. Maina owns a hardware -cum-wholesale shop in Mwisho wa Lami market. Morgan had realised that the only way to reach Electina was through Branton, whom he gave sweets and some coins to facilitate the plan. No wonder Branton and Electina had become close.
That evening we beat them up. When we woke up the next morning, they had disappeared.
I was not worried until evening when they failed to return. We started searching for them and calling relatives. Branton had gone to my sister Yunia’s place, where there is freedom, while Electina was at her aunt’s home. They vowed never to come back.
You may not believe this, but I also want schools to re-open soon so that fellow teachers can help me to discipline my children!