Celebrating 72 years of mzee Joachim Kiio
Peoples. Today, my father turns 72 years. I celebrate the man, and what he did to see 8 of us through the best education he could afford. If it were not for education, I wouldn’t be where I am today – and those that joked around with education at the time are still struggling to find the radar.
While growing up in the 80/90s, education was our only hope of getting not just out of poverty, but out of the village. You had 2 chances to get out, either when going to high school, or university – if not taking a short cut and dropping out of school to go and work in the factories of Athi River famously known as Kinanie.
If you stuck to education, your parents borrowed heavily from banks or even shylocks to sent you to school. They would sell everything – chicken, cow, arrowroot, milk, land, hair – whatever they owned to make sure you got an education. Many lost their valued property to shylocks.
Our county suffered lack of water, bad roads, bad weather and everything that can work against your youth including jiggers. The biggest joke/diss made at us was, and still is, the lack of mayi aka water if not behaving like the stupid people of Kathonzweni. The hottest/driest place is called Kambu, rain comes once in a decade. While schooling at Makueni Boys, water came to school by way of a tractor towing a tank once every week. You had to refill your jar of drinking water and safeguard it with the same zeal as anything contraband within a learning institution.
Almost 40 years after I was born, it’s in 2020 when we finally got running water at our homestead. We can now flush a toilet and clap as the crap goes into oblivion. Amazement. Unlike parts of Central and Western Kenya, Makueni doesn’t have a culture of producing billionaires, whether old money or tenderpreneurs of our time. But we have a culture of producing academics, thinkers, doers, scholars, priests, and other brainful servants of integrity.
In his own measure, my dad is one of those, a senior teacher through whose hands hundreds of students found their way into a better if not brighter future. Never once did he give or recieve a bribe. However, like everybody else, he too had his own set of shortcomings but that is a story for another day. What I celebrate today is how he went all out to make sure his students got the best score in Maths and English, the best way he knew how.
I owe a lot of my prowess with art, language, communication and teaching to this great man. I inherited my Mwalimu name and a beard from him too. Join me in wishing a Happy birthday to Mzee Joachim Kiio. #madeinmakueni #speakyourtruth #freedom
[Originally posted on Facebook on 16th August 2020] .
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