Back in the days when school fees was being catered for by parents teachers used to enjoy sending students home for unpaid balances. When this happened, I’d find my dad sitting under the Mūtūndū tree (Croton macrostachyus) where he’d constructed an outdoor patio to entertain his guests. You see there were guests, then there were guests squared. Guests squared would get to enjoy eggs and occasionally goat head and soup. That is during the festive season. So while heading home, I’d cross my fingers and utter a prayer that my dad would not be sitted by the patio, but karma would not let those prayers reach the heavens. I think they got trapped somewhere in the nimbus clouds and fall back as rain thanks to gravity. No sooner had I opened the gate than I’d find myself stating the reason I came to land. Once done, dad being dad would be like, ‘cooka ūmwīre nīnjūkīte.’ Go back and tell him I’m on my way. And just like that, my dream of sipping gatubia with the remnants of yesterday’s Ugali were crushed. The only consolation was rushing by the oranges orchard and putting a few in my pockets to go share with my friends. I’d run like my life depended on it, climb the tree and before I had even located the succulent ones, I’d hear the old man’s signature throat clearing, he’d only stepped into the house to pick his walking stick. That meant grabbing whichever fruit was in your vicinity, jumping down, ‘kuu’ and running towards the tiny opening in the euphorbia fence, praying that seng’enge ni ng’ombe doesn’t pass the same verdict on you. I’d run helter skelter and soon I’d be at the school gate. I wonder why I didn’t participate in Ineos 1:59. 🤔🤔then again I’d not be here chronicling. The good thing is that when most students were sent home, most teachers preferred to stay in the staffroom sipping gatubia while the few students left pretended to be in group discussions, which was mostly gossip the amplified version. Best time ever. Then there was this principal, name withheld; who decided that we were better of at home than at school. Every day we’d be sent home for a different kind of school fees arrears even some development fee dating back to 1988 and mark you this was 1996. Boy, did we look forward to this.After assembly we’d all be listening to the sound that KTC pickup made as it parked under the mūbirū tree (Meru oak.) A few minutes would pass and the bell would ring and we’d saunter back to the assembly grounds, giving our maths teacher the Cheshire cat grin. We’d secretly sing, when the roll is call up yonder, with fingers crossed.