On New Year’s Day, my brother Pius had told me that he would be travelling to Nairobi on Sunday.
“I have quite a lot to do in the office from Monday,” he had said. I wondered how come he would be going to the office yet he had indicated to me that he works from home.
He did not travel that Sunday morning; instead, he passed by our home for breakfast. “Mlamwa, you make the best chapati in the world,” he complimented Fiolina as he ate. While I disagreed with that, I kept it to myself. In my view, beautiful Rumona makes the best chapati.
Being the first Sunday, I suggested to Fiolina that we go to church, at least to start the year on a strong Christian foundation. It was clear she did not want to go to church, given that Pius was around. She reluctantly agreed and we left, leaving Pius seated under a tree in our compound, reading a book.
Apostle Reverend Elkana, the revered Spiritual Superintendent of The Holiest of All Ghosts (THOAG) Tabernacle Assembly, was quite happy to see us, and he centred his sermon around me, mentioning my name in every other sentence. The Sh100 I gave for sadaka constituted half of the day’s collections.
After church, Fiolina usually stays behind catching up, but, last Sunday, she announced that she had guests and hurried home. When I arrived home, she was preparing lunch – chicken – for Pius. He was seated near the kitchen, talking to her as she made lunch. As we ate lunch, Pius asked me about our plans for opening school, and I told him there were no proper plans.
“We do not have enough classrooms, desks, masks, sanitisers, washing points etc, but would be innovative and hope for the best.”
“I have some masks that I can donate to the school, is that ok?” he asked me. I welcomed it, saying it would go a long way.
I was the first in school on Monday. I had been cracking my head on how to handle the situation, which was made worse by the fact that we had 30 new students.
Apparently, my decision to close the school a week early last term had endeared me to many, and some students from neighbouring schools had decided to transfer to Mwisho wa Lami Primary.
We also had about 10 students who had joined us from Nairobi and other towns, after their parents relocated to the village. I was still thinking of how to address this matter when Pius arrived, and carried a big box from his car to the staffroom. He seemed in a hurry to leave.
“No, you must address the parade,” I said. During parade, I gave him an opportunity to speak. He encouraged all the students to work hard, get big jobs like him, even buy cars. He then donated 150 reusable face masks for students, and two boxes of disposable masks specifically for teachers.
He stayed around after parade but, seeing how busy I was, he excused himself, saying he wanted to start the journey to Nairobi immediately. I bid him farewell. I called for an emergency staff meeting. Present that day was Mrs Atika, Madam Ruth, Nzomo, Lena (her bad hair notwithstanding) and Alex. Kuya and Saphire had not turned up.
We decided that Grade Four pupils, since they had been in school last term, would learn under a tree. We also reduced Class Eight from four streams to two. In order to reduce the new students joining us from other schools, we sent all of them away, asking them to return with their last report forms. Quite a number would rather go back to their old schools than bring their report cards.
All along, the chicken that had remained the day before could not leave my mind, and with Branton back, I was not sure it would still be available come supper. So I decided to go home for lunch, something I rarely do. I was surprised to find Pius’s car parked in my compound.
I went straight to the house and knocked. No one opened. I pushed the door and entered. In the sitting room were Pius’ s shoes; which was strange because Pius is, usually, the only person who Fiolina allows to enter our house with his shoes. Even I, who toiled to build the house, must remove my shoes. There was no one in the sitting room, but just then, Pius and Fiolina came to the sitting room, awkwardly carrying some maize.
“Pius was helping me carry the maize that we are gifting him,” said Fiolina. I helped him take the maize to the car. Fiolina had also gifted him bananas, groundnuts and a hen. As he drove off, I rushed to the house, my mind still on the chicken that had brought me home. To my disappointment, I found out that Pius had been served the chicken.
I walked back to school dejected, and started planning sweet revenge on a brother who ate my chicken. What would you do if it were you?