Last week I had only two things in mind — train for Kakamega Forest Marathon and continue enjoying school holidays with Fiolina, the lucky laugh of my enviable life.
My brother Pius came to the village last weekend. On Saturday morning, he led my team, Rural Swaras, in a training session. He took us for a long run, which he christened ‘endurance race’.
“After this, we will be able to say how many kilometres each of you can run,” he said. “Some of you have told me you want to run 42kms but it is not a joke. Even 21kms is no child’s play.”
After stretching at 7.30am, we ran for what seemed like an eternity. Although we were about 12, only Kuya, the beautiful Rumona, Tito, Pius and yours truly finished the race. The rest fell out along the way.
It was approaching 11.30am when everyone arrived. “We should be able to do 42kms,” I said while panting. “You people must have done 84kms,” said Nyayo, who had run halfway.”
After the stretches, Pius said none of us could run 42kms. “We just did 17kms and some of you are almost dying. Only a few of you can try 21kms, the rest will struggle even with 10kms. A few of you should consider 5kms.”
Disappointed, I walked home to spend time with Fiolina. With no children around, life was good. It was just the two of us and no disruptions. The first disruption of the weekend came last Sunday in the afternoon.
After church, we were just relaxing in the house. Fiolina had fried the best eggs I have ever eaten. She served them with ugali and sukuma wiki.
An hour later, someone knocked at the door. That was a surprise as we were not expecting anyone.
For obvious reasons, we took long to open. It was Pius. He stayed around for the rest of the afternoon, and evening.
It was a long stay, and while we wished that he would leave, we could not tell him so.
Pius travelled back to Nairobi on Monday morning but left me a training programme for the last two weeks to the marathon.
That morning, the beautiful Rumona and I (the rest did not turn up) ran for about 7kms. We then passed by her place, where I took water and juice before heading home.
I had left my phone at home and on arriving, I found 21 missed calls from Bensouda. I knew it had something to do with school.
I learnt from Fiolina that KCPE results had been released. I did not need a calculator to know that Bensouda wanted me to go to the county education office to pick the results.
I am always sent to pick the results when they are bad, but when they are good, she usually picks them — which had only happened once before!
If you remember, Bensouda had been very keen on performance in third term. She had asked us to do remedial classes to better last year’s mean score of 186.9.
But due to the way she had bulldozed everyone, we abandoned the project.
So unlike other years when I would use my phone to check results for a few of our top candidates via SMS, this time I did not.
I was, however, jolted by an SMS from my brother Pius, “Congratulations Dre!” it read.
“You guys have produced one of the top candidates in your county,” he said when I called him.
I asked him to give me more information. “Have you accessed Twitter or watched news? He asked. I had not.
He forwarded me something on WhatsApp indicating that Sanglinda Awinja, our index one candidate, had scored 404 marks.
A new record had been set on this side of the Sahara. The last time anyone I knew scored 400 marks was during the time when candidates were examined in seven subjects.
I called Bensouda, who was on her way to school. “Let’s meet in school, come with Sanglinda, and she should be well dressed. Citizen TV crew will be there,” she said.
I learnt that Sanglinda had gone to visit her aunt a few kilometres away and quickly dispatched a boda-boda rider to go fetch her.
Bensouda arrived shortly after. She was accompanied by a young man, who had sophisticated cameras ready to take photos.
Apostle Elkana also arrived in school. He quickly called everyone to order.
He then invited Bensouda to address us. She promised everyone that Sanglinda would arrive shortly.
She thanked Mwisho wa Lami parents for supporting her efforts to better the performance of the school, “despite frustrations from teachers, especially the local ones”.
“Her speech was interrupted by several boda boda riders, who arrived hooting loudly. Nyayo was leading the troupe carrying Sanglinda.
As soon as she arrived in school, villagers carried her shoulder high amid song and dance. It was the second time Sanglinda was going through this.
Last year, she was our top student with 379 marks but due to lack of fees, she repeated Class Eight and had now improved by 25 marks!
The full results were announced the following day. We had dropped our mean score from 186.9 to 176.9. Only Sanglinda had 300 marks and above.
No one cared or made noise about this. What mattered was that we had produced the best candidate in the whole sub-county, and the fifth best in the county. We are now a high performing school!
To register for the Kakamega Forest Marathon, go to: www.ingomarathon.or.ke
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