As I was walking to the bus stop today, I saw a young girl fully dressed in uniform with her blouse labeled at the back of the collar. It was clear that she was heading to a new school, her first day as a secondary school student. Her mum whispered words of advice (I presume) though she still looked nervous and afraid. It reminded me of the very first day my dad took me to school. He had me pack all my stuff in a box, made sure I had worn full school uniform and shining shoes. All the books required well arranged. We even took photos together, what an amazing way to start that journey.
I was confident at first, feeling that I was finally a grown up and would be independent living in a boarding school. I thought it would be fun to live with other girls my age and I would instantly make great friends. Don’t get me wrong, some of the greatest friends I have today, I got from here but it was not easy. As the matron was checking through my things, including a hockey stick that I saw then for the last time, she mentioned that my uniform was not right. The shade was a bit darker. Right then, tears swelled into my eyes. It had not even been one day and already something was wrong. Luckily she saw my sadness and told me not to worry. My dad promised to get me the right one by the end of the week. For the few items we had sewn my name onto with blue thread, they couldn’t be returned. It’s amazing how awesome my dad was as he surely sorted me out by end of week, I’m sure it was not easy considering the high costs he had already incurred for the full joining form 1 experience.
Every rabble (as they called us), had a big sister. This was a girl in form 2 who would show you the ropes till you got the hang of it. For some, they made your bed and taught you how to make the metered corner, washed your clothes, fetched your tea each morning for the entire week and checked up on you every so often. I wish she had washed my clothes but I am not complaining as she taught me what I needed to know and made sure I was ok. She probably was the first person, who molded me at that age to become part of who I am today.
With the thin little mattress and a tiny locker, I started my journey away from home. The very first day of independence, or a small part of it. Amazingly, Ruthie, Esther, Natalie, Meg, Kirigo, Phoebe and Sabra are some of my closest friends today, and I thank God that other than education, growing up, learning responsibility among other things, I built a support structure that will last forever.
I wish the new young lady (and all others joining form 1) a great experience, filled with mistakes and learning from them, courage to try new things, to find herself, to work hard, obtain an education, responsibility, fun and to grow to be a success while never forgetting how she began.