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How chicken scam ruined our feast By Mwalimu Andrew

As she always does, Bensouda disappeared a day after the staff meeting, leaving the school in my able hands. She only came back last Tuesday, and invited Kuya and I to her office. JOSEPH NYAGAH

As she always does, Bensouda disappeared a day after the staff meeting, leaving the school in my able hands. She only came back last Tuesday, and invited Kuya and I to her office. JOSEPH NYAGAH | NATION

As she always does, Bensouda disappeared a day after the staff meeting, leaving the school in my able hands. She only came back last Tuesday, and invited Kuya and I to her office.

“How is the school,” she asked Kuya.

“It is good,” he answered. “But I still need to know other teachers well.”

“They aren’t so many teachers here so you should already know them,”

“I know,” he said. “But I need to know them more. I suggest that we have a bash out of school to know each other well.”

“What is a bash?” I asked, since this was the first time I was hearing that word. They both laughed. “It means party,” said Kuya, as he chewed Big-G, something he always does.

“I agree with you Kuya,” said Bensouda. “We need to have a party to bid farewell to the outgoing teachers and welcome the new ones. Kuya can you plan?”

“Yes I can. But it would be good if I can get a female teacher to work with,” he said. I suggested that he works with Mrs Atika but he refused, and chose Nzomo instead.

“No problem, if the party will be this Friday, please let me know the venue and budget before tomorrow evening,” said Bensouda.

Plan bash

After meeting with the HM, Kuya and Nzomo left the school – and became rare on the school compound for the rest of the week.

It was Wednesday when the HM announced that we would have a party on Friday at Cosmos Bar and Lodge.

“Dre, please contact the teachers who left so that they can come so we do a proper farewell to them.”

I tried calling Anita and Madam Mary incessantly but none of them picked. I sent them an SMS instead. Anita responded immediately: “Count me out that shady thing of yours.” Mary did not respond. Lutta, who had never accepted his transfer, indicated he would come. I had no doubt that Tito would quickly jump at an opportunity for free food.

We were already on Friday, and it was announced during parade that afternoon classes had been cancelled.

Since I was hungry, I had planned to be the first to arrive at Cosmos but I remembered the words of my brother Pius that a boss must always arrive after all employees. So I planned to arrive when all the teachers were there — but before Bensouda, whom I knew would come late.

I arrived at 2 p.m., and found almost all the teachers were seated, taking sodas as they waited for food. I ordered for two Stoney madiabas. Tito was there, seated next to Rumona, and from the look in his eyes, he must have been on his fourth soda. Erick was seated next to Lena. He had a Bible and I think he was preaching to her. Mary was there too, seated next to Oscar, even though she had not answered my text.

Although he had not been at school for three days, Saphire was there as well, with Oscar on his right and Mrs Atika on his left.

They would occasionally leave with Oscar to go for a smoke. Nzomo was together with Kuya, organising things around. Sella was the only one alone, and she moved to seat next to me as soon as I arrived.  Who was I to complain?

Then came food. There was ugali and chapati accompanied by chicken and matumbo. There was also sukuma. Only those who do not know me need to be informed that I was not going to touch ugali or sukuma.

We attacked the food from all angles. I had not eaten a good meal for some time since Fiolina went back to college and had to compensate. Saphire’s plate was full, for he had to take plus supper. But that was nothing compared to Tito. Tito’s plate was full to the brim – and it looked like a small mountain from far, with pieces of chicken arranged delicately.

Before we started eating, Erick said a short prayer – at least that is what he called it. But he went on and on praying even for Form Ones and the late Hon Muchai’s family. I am sure by the time he finished; a few teachers must have eaten a piece of chicken or two. I, too, was tempted to eat but I am too civilised for that.

Nzomo and Kuya had ensured that some food had remained for Bensouda – a little food since Bensouda doesn’t eat much. But there was a mistake. We only realised that Mary and Oscar had left briefly when they arrived back – and there was no food for them. Madam Ruth also arrived.

Nzomo and Kuya went to the kitchen but there was nothing.

“How many chicken did you buy?” asked Lutta.

“Three,” said Lutta. “And I saw them as they were being slaughtered.”

“You were conned, I have looked around but I have only seen two imondos,” said Saphire. Where is the other one?”

“I suggest Saphire and Tito reduce their share and give some to Mary and Oscar,” said Lutta, but Mary said she wouldn’t take food from someone’s plate. Oscar didn’t mind and picked some pieces from Saphire’s plate and mine. Tito wouldn’t allow him.

Empty stomachs

Just then Bensouda arrived accompanied by Juma, the former HM and Kizito, a deputy headmaster in another school.

“Wa! tuko na njaa,” she said as they took their seats. “That was one long meeting with the director. Please serve my guests.” We could see the agony in Kuya and Nzomo’s eyes but the other teachers continued eating as if nothing had happened.

They served them with soda, but by then Juma had already washed his hands, ready to eat. Kizito had also removed his jacket, a sign that he was looking forward to a feast. At this time, even Ruth hadn’t been given a soda (the remaining two sodas had been given to Juma and Kizito), and she left in protest. Seeing that Kuya and Nzomo were focusing on Bensouda and her guests, Mary also left.

We could hear Nzomo shouting to Cosmos’ staff, and soon we smelt something being fried and the smell of ugali hit our nostrils. A few minutes later, they served the three with ugali and eggs.

“I don’t take eggs,” said Juma, pushing the plate away. As expected, Bensouda also refused to take the food. I sat there, knowing that come Monday, she would skin Kuya and Nzomo alive. But she did no wait for Monday.

“Where’s Nzomo?” she roared.

“Is this what I gave you money for? Didn’t I give you the money you asked for the bash? How can you embarrass me with my guests yet I gave enough money?”

“I am sorry madam, but we didn’t know some teachers eat a lot…”

“Like who?” asked Lutta. “Tell the HM the truth that you did not buy enough food. We have evidence.”

“What evidence?” asked Bensouda.

“They say they bought three chicken but we have counted only four legs and three wings,” said Saphire.

“What kind of staffroom is this I have!” she said as she beckoned Juma and Kizito to leave with her. “And you where were you when all this was happening Dre?” she asked pointing at me. I thought you were the deputy?” I reminded her that she had not involved me in the planning but she would hear none of it.

“Dre and Nzomo, I need an explanation on Monday!” she said as they left. She called Kuya to follow them. Oscar ate the ugali and eggs. And just like that, the would-be bash ended. – NATION.CO.KE

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