Date: 30/3/1955 is the date my mum Jane Olala was born in a village called Namirama somewhere in Kakamega. This is the date that appears on her government documents though. She says her parents have no idea what date she was born so dates had to be cooked up. I know nothing about her childhood so I’ll go straight to her primary school days when she met one Javan Olala the would be our dad while he taught at Namirama primary school in the 60’s. Javan must have been the team mafisi chairman then since I don’t see how a teacher is supposed to fall in love with his student, a primary school one, and end up marrying her. Anyway they did. Fast forward to when I was a kid since I have no idea what transpired between when they met and when I was born.
By the time I was of sound mind and able to know whats up at around age 4, she was a student at Siriba Teachers Training College which is now Maseno University Siriba Campus and we were all alone at home with Javan who did everything for us from cooking to bathing us. That must have hurt. If my wife was to go away for even a single day she better bathes those brats five times in one day for the shine to last the entire period she’ll be away. I have no problem with cooking but she should be sure to wash the utensils we used from the day she left till the day she comes back. In short the shorter she stays away the better otherwise go with the kids. I’ll eat in a hotel and come sleep. Jane would soon complete her teacher training at Maseno and come back to us. TSC of those days wasn’t an asshole like today’s folks would get employed the next day after completing training. Or maybe its the government not TSC. But TSC is a government organ after all so no difference. She’d be posted to Buhayi primary school but shortly moved to Lusumu primary school. It was a distance from home so she went to work on a black mamba bicycle.
When I was the age of joining nursery school she was moved to Sihanikha primary school. Sihanikha is the cradle of mankind (mankind = me) as it’s where it all started. No cars, no shoes for us and no bike for mum because Sihanikha wasn’t far from home and that means we’d brave the early morning dew on our way to school and there was no way I’d skip school because she made sure the three of us (with my two elder brothers) walked ahead of her and not behind (correction: we didn’t walk. We ran. She walked too fast we couldn’t match up so we always were in Usain mode.) Mwalimu Jane as she was fondly referred to was the no-nonsense type she’d beat the hell out of you if you messed in her class (and in her house as well.) She was a strict disciplinarian no one fancied finding themselves on the wrong when she’s on duty. She wasnt the type who’d slap another student because he beat me up and I ran to report to her. I’d get the beating instead for getting myself into a fight. Am not supposed to.
When my desk-mate, Omutingo, landed a right (ngumi) on my eye I remember running to the staff room to report him to my mum. Instead of calling my assailant and slapping the hell out of his tiny head I was the one to be given a sound beating and ordered back to class as quiet as I didn’t come. It had to happen because the louder I cried the worse it became. I still haven’t forgiven my attacker to date. I promised to “close school with him” (Getting my revenge on closing day by hitting him hard enough then bolting home) but I never did because I couldn’t run faster than he could and that would mean more trouble for me. I’d learn in the same school where she taught till class seven when I transferred to Sivilie primary school but for one reason or the other I came back to the cradle of mankind for class eight. The fact that my mum was always in school kinda made me a better student and I came third in the primary school final exams. She would then move to Nambacha primary school in 1996 when I joined form one at Ingotse high school. She retired on june 3oth 2015.
I was alone in high school so shit happened. I don’t even remember being close to position twenty save for one term in form three when I got hold of all exam papers in the library before hand so I only revised the exam but I only managed to be position 24 out of 80 but that again was because I didn’t want to over-perform and surprise my teachers who’d then form a tribunal to investigate my results since everyone including me knew I wasn’t the type to top the class. While in high school, one of my elder brothers was at university and the other one in high school as well and that meant trouble for my primary teacher parents. We refused to go to low cost day schools so were all sent to good boarding schools. One day I stole my mum’s payslip only to see four loans from KATECO (Kakamega Teachers’ Sacco) and a net pay of close to Ksh. 577. All that was so she could see us through school. I didn’t pity her at that time because I always thought my parents had money. After all “they’re teachers” I’d tell myself. None of us was ever sent home for lack of school fees.
When she visited on visiting days she’d leave me with Ksh. 20 for pocket money to last me till the next visiting day a month later. It lasted me 10 mins after she had left. I loved food so I spent 10 shillings to buy half bread and 10 shillings on supa dip (Some flavoured powder we’d dissolve in water and make juice) from the school canteen and gobble everything up as fast as possible before my friends could find me and ask for a share. After high school with some of my brothers and sisters (We were born seven in total) still in boarding high schools my mum still took me to college. And again I was never sent away for lack of school fees. At that time I was mature enough to have pity so I avoided her payslips like Shebesh would avoid Kidero lest I get emotional. When I finished college and was jobless she would still give me fare to go see Velma whom I had met as broken down in one of my earlier posts on this blog.
In my first job in Kisumu where I was paid peanuts I’d go broke as soon as I got paid and I’d call her to send me some money to use which she did without ever complaining. And even as an adult the other day I went home for december holidays with my car and I ended up celebrating Christmas using every penny I had in my account when it was time to come back to Nairobi I was a broke ass nigga I couldn’t afford a litre of petrol to get my ass out of Kakamega to Nairobi. Jane gave me 4,000 shillings to “buy fuel, go back to Nairobi but send me that cash as soon as you get to Nairobi because it’s church money” she said.
In my book on INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY there’s only one woman who can play the main character. Happy International Women’s day mama Jane Lusike Olala. You’re the strongest I’ve ever seen. You’re the best I’ve ever had. There will be no other like you.