I’ve always been a friend to my teachers, something that made me look weird during school days. Now, to clear the air, no! I’ve never been a snitch neither have I ever been a prefect. Just that all through my schooling life, I have had friendships with different teachers.
This is why when I thought of doing a post on Asante Mwalimu, I was hard pressed to pick one teacher I would give thanks to. After much thought, I have decided to pick my high school- Huruma Girls’ High School.
When I first joined the school, I didn’t like it. I went in with a promise to be transferred to a boarding school. Something which never happened, and I would cry over every beginning of term as my parents paid my school fees (when they still could pay). I guess God Knows what’s best for us, because maybe if I could have transferred, it could have been the end of my education.
Mrs. Henrietta Ikambili
She was my Head Teacher, considered to be very tough. She came to our school when I was in form three. She touched my life when she allowed me in class even though I had a lot of school fees arrears. I had been chased away from class enough times, sneaking back so that I don’t miss out. Sometimes I would stay away for as long as a whole month. She saw the potential in me to the extent of registering me for KCSE when I didn’t have the 3,000 shillings to register. The deadline was fast approaching and my parents could not raise this amount.
This great woman gave me my certificate four years after sitting for my exams, overlooking the 25000 shillings debt that I had. On top of that, she refunded me 500 shillings caution money. Now, she may have forgotten this act but it is permanently etched in my mind.
She let my younger sister learn without being chased from school based on the relationship we had. My mother had just to arrange a payment plan with the school.
Mrs. Agnes Obutu (Mwendwa Marete)
My perfectionist Home science teacher. You never wanted to be on her bad side. Everything had to be done right. From setting the table to the back stitch on our final project. You would undo your stitches as many times as possible and redo them to her specification. (My final project, a skirt and blouse emerged the best and was used to teach the next batch of form four Home science students).
Mama Ryan (Mrs. Obutu) welcomed me to live in her house in Buru Buru when I was doing my KCSE. This was because the slum environment that we were living in, was not conducive for studying. An action that resulted in my attaining a B- score in KCSE. Now picture someone opening the doors to her house and welcoming a stranger to live with her family. Her eldest son Ryan, then about seven years old, loved to sing me the song, “I’m your romeo, would you be my Juliet”.
When I discovered I was pregnant, I went MIA on her for two years. We had a reunion after I had had a stroke and she was still willing to help me find sponsors for my education. She even called a radio station once complaining of how I was being put on hold for months before I could get treatment, after I got the stroke.
She is more than a friend, she is one of my mentors. When I got the opportunity to go to Canada for the screening of Abstaining From Reality, she helped me prepare my speech. She even welcomed me to speak to the youth in her church when she was delivering the youth sermon.
Mama Ryan, words cannot express the gratitude I have for your continual contribution in my life.
This post will be long if I numbered every single teacher who contributed positively to my life. Nonetheless, it would not serve justice for me to leave out the generosity of those teachers.
After I got a stroke, the teachers contributed money and I was called back to collect it for my medical needs. It was an envelope with 5000 shillings in it. This was not all, Mrs. Benta Otsyeno, my other Home Science teacher arranged for me to have free consultation with her husband, a private doctor at Kenyatta National Hospital.
My English Grammar teacher, Mrs. Mbuvi, who used to call me the poetic girl is one of my inspirations for taking a writing career. She used to ask me, “Juliet, what are you doing with your A in English?” How can I forget my literature teacher who narrated to the class the story of Romeo and Juliet. I remember Mrs. Ang’ango by this phrase, “What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”.
So here goes… Asante Walimu- Thank you Teachers.
It is an undisputed fact that teachers play one of the most important roles in society. Without teachers, we cannot have an educated and successful country. In Kenya, very little recognition is given to the teachers which has resulted in a demotivated and even under performing teacher profile. Children do not want to become teachers as they view the job as difficult, unrewarding and unappreciated.
It is for this reason that Jacaranda Africa launched the ‘Asante Mwalimu’ initiative which is all about celebrating teachers for the important role they play in our society.