It was one evening. A Saturday. The following Monday I was to go sit for a very important exam; an exam that would give me an opportunity to prove that my dad had not aided me to cheat in the previous exams in which I topped the class in this new school. There were strong allegations that I had cheated in exams in order to be ahead of all the (local) pupils. The headteacher expressly stated that it was not possible for a pupil to come from another school and lead a class in that school. That idea pained me a lot. I had never cheated in any exam in my life. In fact, that was quite a foreign vocabulary even in my imagination.

This was (primary school) in class 7, term 2. In term one, I was in a different school; the school where I did most of my primary schooling, that is Kendu Muslim Primary School. But even there, it was like I was just passing by since I only did one term there; class 7 term 1. Sounds interesting? Yes, it is. I left Kendu Muslim in class 5 after 2nd term. I joined another school at my maternal grandma's in 3rd term of class 5 and left after 4 terms; which was at the end of class 7. As you can see, I was a primary school nomad; moving from here to there, and so I went to nearly 8 different primary schools in total; as many as the classes in the primary level of education in Kenya. Very interesting.

So having migrated to this school where my dad was teaching, I came to learn that he had been boasting about how brilliant his son Paul was and that he would lead all of them should he come to this school. So the moment I joined this school many pupils would enjoy me saying, ‘Ooh, ine Paul wuoda?’ (i.e, oh, you’re the Paul, my son?). They had longed to see me for years. And now I was there. It was time to prove whatever my dad had been saying. Only that I didn’t know anything. I would only meet them and they giggle as they chant "This is the Paul my son."

They gave me the impression that they were a very bright lot and I had to work extra hard to be in the positions I was used to. In every school, I was always among the top pupils. But Kendu Muslim was always more competitive for me. So when I was ranked position one here, no teacher believed; including the headteacher. I was not amused. I really waited for the following term, which would be the 3rd term, to prove that I had worked for my grades. In fact, my dad didn’t give me even a single book. Neither did he teach me any subject. I was made to know that he usually taught Kiswahili and Maths for the senior classes but in my year, it was someone else. This would also be the exam for determining whether I would proceed to class 8; where national exams would be done; Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE).

So this evening, around 4 pm or 5 pm, I saw my elder brother come in. He never used to live with us. He lived at my maternal grandma's place from his childhood. He would come in briefly once in a while but was more comfortable where he stayed. He was schooling there and he hardly visited us in this school. Just about 3 weeks back, my uncle, the only brother of my mum’s had come. He brought the bad news of the passing on of my grandma. He had cycled about 40km to bring this news, and they left with my mum the following day on the same bike. I followed them about a few days later, with my youngest brother, to attend the funeral. Grandma had been buried already. My mum had fallen ill there too so we didn’t talk much. The situation was very sombre. Actually, it was this trip that made me travel by engine boat for the first time. And our journey back was one of the most horrifying I had ever encountered. It is well written in my two books; Live Your Dream in 7Ds and The Making of a Symphony Orchestra.

With my brother, the worst news I ever received came in; it was my mother this time round! It was a big blow! Why would such things happen in life? Two people whom I loved and who contributed immensely to my philosophy as a child had just left me within weeks apart. Our father wasn’t in when my brother came in. He had, as usual, gone for his bottles. We had to go look for him in the villages and find some information about where he could be. We sent word. And when he came in a while later, he was a little drunk. He pondered and talked to himself at length, then sat quietly for a few minutes. He rose up and said, “Even that is not a big deal. It doesn’t matter much.” I very much wondered what could matter more than this. He had not attended his mother-in-law's funeral yet, and here was now his wife dead while still at her maternal home to moan about her beloved mother! So what next? (part 4 loading)

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