Did any of you study in this Catholic Based Schools…
Well , here I am.
I hope the story relates
Dogmas or call them doctrines, creed, credo..you name it
Mine was Sr. Margaret
All right everyone, line up alphabetically according to your height.
Sr. Margaret a.k.a Sr. Margaret, short but sturdy
We couldn’t even coin a name for her,
We feared the repercussions, thorough and lifeless.
To us she was the Iron lady..no nonsense.
Our day began 4.45am that as enough time to kick a shower and get to church by 5.15am
The water was nothing less that the cold in Verkhoyansk, Russia,
having being stored in the metallic ice buckets which was a school regulation upon admission.
Lest i forget, the water supply was as meager as the Wildlife creatures in our National parks.
you had to device ways of securing your water can including, spitting saliva into it, storing it under your bed, or just be the early robber.
We had to survive!
Sr. Margaret at those wee hours could only be identified by her
Dark green hoodie
And that yellow scarf
and some closed flat black shoes.
The scarf could illuminate from kilometers away
as she paced with the speed of a deer
Anyone behind her was considered late
Late for church, in a Catholic Institution…Lifeless was what your life could be
The church was a sacred place, Only prayers,
and being in Catholic, nodding, reciting after the priest , stand, sit, kneel, sing and repent mann!
Anything less that the above was considered a sin, punishable by caning.
Basic beliefs were subscribed by all religions, whether Muslim, Buddism, protestant etc,
Baptism, confirmation was non negotiable.
Sr. Margaret was all round
Mentor to some, teacher, Spiritual mom, administrator, dorm matron, leader etc
In real life she was the school headmistress and everything else.
We feared her, she had a copy of our lives.
We dreaded punishments,
She called them evil doers, those that would go to hell,
Caning was not a joke, the strokes of canes would be aired out under the sun
It was said they were drying and becoming tougher,
The school was located in one of the wetland areas, Africa, Kenya.
So the canes needed to be ready.
We were only of between 10-15 years, pre- primary level.
Small girls, almost confused for malnourished.
We would cry if your name was called out, in the list of evil doers.
Punishment was equal to death.
While caning, she could utter in local slang
” Do you know how your mother has struggled to put you in school:” Your dad being a casual laborer and all you can do is play at school” Your siblings did not even get an education, for your sake, and yet…………She knew us by name and family and even by extended family.
One time we got caned that our fingers could not be separable. Bulging and broken
I remember i couldn’t write, or hold a pen
I had to ask the history and Government teacher to intervene.
My puffy fingers resembled my thighs.
Beating was not a crime in Public /government schools.
Parents believed it was instilling discipline.
We hated school. But that was deep in our conscious, no speaking out loud.
Those lucky got their parents to transfer them, the likes of me with African parents with traditional bound attributes, got an extra cane upon such talks.
Life was miserable, life was a pain, life was worth giving up, Life was unfair.
Miraculously, we performed very well.Leading school in the province,
Children well groomed, well behaved, respectful and intelligent.
Mama said i had changed. I could tell myself “things” like to collect dishes after meals and clean them
I hated school opening days,
They were coupled by so many memories and neglect. I believed that my parents hated me, how could they subject me to such a life.
food was not even enough,
I was as little and slim as a needle.
Subjected to vigorous checking points of all household needs_- Panties, sweaters, jackets, soaps, petticoats, comb and everything was supposed to be labelled.
Even Soaps!! Goodness!!!
Fast forward, Sr. Margaret, disowned the practice,
Got married, Is on Facebook!
Sired two lovely kids.
And began wearing trousers and low cut tops.
We never deciphered as to why she was so tough on us.
We concluded that she was already fed up with the sisterhood,
and was only expressing the wrath on us.
She felt caged, she felt cheated, unable to have a life of her own.
You know sisterhood means: Your wealth is not actually yours, its for the Congression, no husband, no children and generally no social life
The reverie of the life we lived then never fades off,
It’s as fresh as it can be, scripted word for word, images coded.
My friends don’t even like talking about it. It creates shivers.
They say the school has improved, but Not My children, i rather home school them.
Education is Power, but it should be lovely, enjoyable and friendly.
It should be empowering, holistic. We didn’t even have sporting activities. It was exam day from Monday to Monday.
For me it bore fruits academically, however socially, I am dead and vulnerable.
To be continued……………………………………………..