In my first month in my new high school, I crossed paths with my principal. I had just transferred from another school and joined Form 2 in the new institution.
He was a tough guy, some Form 4s used to tell us that he was an ex-military officer. So they nicknamed him the machine. Haaa, but the guy indeed walked like a robot.
There were all types of theories about him being shot at while on the battlefield. Others claimed he was running away from the camp over the intense military training.
“He does not have canes in his office. Mr Patila uses a hockey stick,” some claimed.
So that morning I slept past the 5 am morning prep. You wake up at 5, be in class from 5:20 am to 6:30 am, then head for breakfast and be back in class at 7:15 am.
I missed the bell and knew definitely I’d meet a prefect or the teacher on duty patrolling. My bed was a spring one, had inherited it - okay, bought it with a piece of chicken and some mandazis from a Form 4.
When you sleep, it curves inside and you spread the blanket - duvets were then prohibited.
“Watoto hawajakuja kulala. Hata io mattress ni kubwa sana. Tunataka 4X6 mattresses,” the admission teacher told my mother that day.
“Na hii baridi yote jameni?” My mother wondered.
“Unataka mtoto apate Grade A ama akue sleeping beauty?” the teacher added.
My mother had to purchase another mattress at the school store, which cost an extra Ksh500. I think it was even a 3X6 mattress if they exist. By one year you feel like you are sleeping on metal - we used to call it roasting… like roasting maize.
Oh, maybe the new generation may be wondering what kind of an experience is this. This was in the 2006s there around.
So that morning I curved inside my bed and heard the teacher on duty walk around. Little did I know it was the principal himself.
“Alexander, come out of your bed. I have personally come to flash you out. You are quite a cheeky student I see,” he shouted.
What a bad day. He was analysing the roll call himself that morning. Cutting the story short, I missed breakfast and ended up kneeling in the parade until he summoned me at 10 am.
In my mind, I saw a hockey stick beating, but the session turned out quite interesting.
As witty as I thought I was back then, I convinced him of the grey areas we could explore to enhance the school’s reputation. From starting a journalism club, and writing plays and music for the drama and choir teams.
I knew how to pull myself away from trouble. I moved from the notorious kid to the prefect and quite a force to reckon with. In my past school, I was quite mischievous and when my grades rose, my mother and the principal acquainted.
He had an impact on my life and I couldn’t forget him. I realised most of my talent then.
I scored good grades, was among the best in the country and joined campus, did my course in communication and got a lucrative job with an NGO. But Mr Patila was always a part of my life.
16 years later after high school, my wife and I decided to track him down. It was then his last year prior to retiring and he had been at a new school for six years. We were quite blessed and always thought of buying Mr Patila a car as a way of appreciating him.
It was my wife who came up with the idea. She stated that Co-op Bank was offering financing on pre-owned Cars. Co-operative Bank funds you up to 100 per cent to buy a pre-owned motor vehicle of your choice for both its customers and non-customers.
“If you have any source of income, you can walk into a second-hand car dealership, select the vehicle that best suits you, and get financing from Co-operative Bank. The loan, offered with a 13 per cent interest, enables you to purchase a private vehicle that is pre-owned. The car has to be a maximum of 8 years old,” she read from the Co-op Bank website.
“The fees applicable include appraisal or negotiation fees, insurance fees, motor vehicle valuation and tracking fees. Co-op Bank offers a repayment period of between 60 to 96 months and the vehicle being purchased acts as the security,” she stated, adding that by five years therein we shall have cleared the full payment.
For the requirements all you need to provide as an applicant are your ID and KRA PIN Certificate, a letter of Introduction from your employer, the latest three months’ certified pay slips and the latest 6 months’ bank statements (if you’re not banking Co-op Bank).
Other requirements include copies of the employment contract or letter of appointment, motor vehicle sales agreement or proforma Invoice, copy of logbook, import documents or National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) search records and original valuation report from the approved valuer in the bank’s panel.
“It is easier to apply. Download and fill out the application form here or from your nearest branch. Attach all the requirements and submit them to the nearest Co-op Bank Branch,” she added.
A few friends and I, who I filled in on the plan, appeared at the gate on Tuesday morning, September 2022 and surprised our favourite principal.
I couldn’t do it alone.
“Still the cheeky you wanting to get past the gate like you owe the school,” Mr Patila laughed after we intentionally caused a scene at the gate.
But he whipped a few tears as the whole school congregated to appreciate him.
A new whip for him.