Private primary schools were expensive, in terms of money yes, but mostly in terms of social status, and keeping up with the new trend of fashion, television programmes, movies, music and ‘cool’ clicks. They are still expensive but back them around 1997 to mid 2000’s when technology, information and ‘coolness’ had not crawled in completely in our lives, standing out really mattered.

Every parents dream is to see their children in amazing schools and get to acquire quality education; my parents have from time and again wanted the best for me, so they took me to one of the most prestigious schools, Marion Preparatory. Everyone who schooled in Marion would know best how we (the pupils) were hated by all other pupils schooling nearby because we had what people term as ‘maringo’. When I joined Marion I had transferred from a public school ‘Mahiga primary’ and adapting to the lifestyle in this preparatory was a big task. I was famous in the previous school, maybe because my mother was a teacher there, or maybe because I was an awesome actress and singer, hmm I wouldn’t know which was which, but point is I was famous and popular at the same time.
In Marion I was like this shady ‘kid’ on the block, at first I was excited about transferring to Marion, but I had no friends, people would talk to me whenever they wanted something. I remember very well I was never up to date with new music or television programmes, because my father being who he is, would never let us watch television and whenever he left for work he always locked the Television inside the wall unit!! It sucked being that ‘kid’ who did not know stuff. I love having friends, am quite the noisemaker and whenever am quiet it itches me like it’s a taboo to keep quiet, in Marion that was the order of the day.

One day as I was reminiscing this whole ‘not me’ life, I came up with a brilliant idea on how I could capture the attention of the rest of the pupils. So one Wednesday afternoon when everyone else was preparing to go for the regular cross countries, I stood at the corner of the class and ‘collapsed’.

‘Corrie amefaint ita teacher!!! Corrie corrie!!’ voices around me screamed for help.
I loved the attention; I knew deep down that this attention would not end there. I was taken to a place (I really can’t remember whether it was an office or a sick bay-blur memory) but wherever it was I got amazing attention. I remember I was in standard 5, and the fact that pupils in standard 8 could attend to me, meant a lot. I eventually woke up after some’ first aid’
The events that later followed were amazing, everyone was so concerned about me, people always wanting to give me ‘stuff’ like juice,(not the one we used to pimia each other, ati mtu akunywe juice kutoka kwa kifuniko ya chupa, na-ah-ah, I got the whole package, pity at its best) I loved this new attention, at least I could even participate in class activities with the other pupils, and what even made me happier was that I was never beaten by teachers (remember then corporal punishment was the in thing), so no teacher would beat me because I was apparently ‘sick’. I guess fainting back then was a big deal. This was not the first and last time I fainted, I put on the act once in a while (hey it was a problem I had-according to them)
It really interested me that it never occurred to these people that I was actually pretending, but as long as they bought the act, for me that was a high way to leveling my social status with the rest of the pupils. A time reached when I got tired with fainting, it had become an old act, and I was running out of ideas and places where I would collapse. So I decided to upgrade, wait for it… I now started to fake epilepsy, yes EPILEPSY!! I did not know that I could pull it off, but it ‘jazzed’ how amazing of an actress I was, if that was a movie I am sure I would have won an Oscar, I mean who would pull of a ‘kifafa’ have pencils put between my teeth and break them, have biros between my teeth to help me not bite my tongue at a very tender age, 11 years. But I knew better, I had mastered that skill, I knew how to do it, and even fidgeting my body, the only thing that I did not do(and this is because I did not know how to act it) was roll my eyes as though I was possessed and to remove foam from my mouth. I just could not pull that off, but fidgeting my body and chattering my teeth worked well for me.

So one day when I was having my ‘episodes’ I overheard the secretary to the headmistress (carol) say,
‘We should call her parents this has become serious.’

Immediately I heard that I cooled off, and tried to act as though the chattering had stopped, calling my parents would be a disaster, this was only supposed to be a school thing but sadly I had not planned ahead, like what if they called my parents. So from then on I decided to stop with the whole circus.
This was not over yet, so one mid-morning I was called to the headmistress’s office. I had no idea why I was being summoned but I knew it had nothing to do with discipline; I was a very disciplined girl how ironical huh? On getting to the office my mouth almost fell, seeing my mother there, I knew exactly why I had been called to the office. You should have seen the way my mother looked at me, it’s like she knew that I was faking the fainting and epilepsy. Before I even sat down’
‘Mwende ati u usually faint? And that you have epilepsy? How come I have never seen you faint at home?? Ehhh Mwende!! Sasa hii ni nini? My mother asked with a lot of bitterness. She did not bother to know whether it was for real or not, let’s say am mother’s instincts, dang!

I did not have an answer I think the headmistress and her had already figured out that I was a pro actor, am sure they even gave reasons such as not wanting to read and all that, little did they know that all this was for attention.
That evening I was scared to go home because I knew my mother would discipline me ‘viserious’. On reaching home, I found both my parents seated in the living room, looking annoyed ,I cant even find the words to describe their anger.
‘ebu kunywa chain a ukule mkate kwanza,kabla tuanze kuongea ushibe kabisa!!’ my mother said

No sooner had I finished eating than questions began to flow, my father removed his belt and I knew there would be some thorough beating here, I did not know where the words came from but I immediately told them of how I used to fake my sickness. (heee ile kichapo ilifuata waaaa!!!)
‘Na siku ingine ukifaint nitakuja na nikuamshe na viboko,nikutandike kabisa ndio u faint ya ukweli!! Sasa hii ni pepo gani ,Mwende ehhh!! Ebu faint tena utaona, nakuambia nitakuchapa ufaint vizuri!!’ my mother said as concluded the war with some thorough beating using her slippers!

Never again, never!! I told myself. Not only was it embarrassing but annoying especially to know that some pupils would learn that I had been pretending. The good thing about all this was that I now acted in some of the plays we presented during school functions.

We all have our hysterical moments, am sure some of you also pretended in something, ha-ha. Hey that was me being me, back then that is.

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