Why I missed my lunch
Today, I missed my lunch. I felt guilty knowing that two children Ben and Lyn were at home for lack of fees and excercise books. Their mother, a friend had spoken to me yesterday asking for help.
“You know,” she told me over the phone, “I used the little money I needed to buy them Christmas gifts and we bought a small Christmas tree which we decorated with two balloons. I had promised them a lovely Christmas and I could not let them down,” she said.
I felt angry and told my friend that she had wrong priorities and I would not allow her to drag me into her problems and disorganise me.
Each child needed only Sh400 and six exercise books, each costing Sh15, just slightly more than two dollars. But deep in my thoughts I was resentful. I was resentful that my lady friend had not planned for school fees for her children and was trying to budget with my hard earned money. After all she knew that January would come and she should have prepared for it.
After walking all the way down to Modern Coast on River Road to pick a parcel, I felt thirsty and exhausted. I felt tempted to walk into a fast food restaurant and treat myself to some nice hot chicken and chips and cold passion juice. But a stronger urge kept pushing my conscience – The children! The children! I branched into Tusky’s and bought the books. Then I jumped into a Minibus No 34 heading to Embakasi. I walked through the dusty footpath, passed Sinai and Rungiti to my friend’s house. She was in, sadly staring at the roof and the children sat sadly by the door.
The smile on their faces and the dancing lights in their eyes humbled me. “Books, books,” they shouted in joy as they held my hand, ran to their mother and hugged her. “Auntie has brought us books!” In their innocence, they had forgotten about me and were already writing their names with an old faded pencil. English, Kiswahili, Drawing, Mathematics, Science…They fought over a tiny thing that looked like a rubber and soon Lyn was crying and reporting Ben to their mother.
So tomorrow, Ben and Lyn will be back in School. Ben, 10, is in Class Four and quite bright. He was No 4 out of 47 pupils last term, despite missing classes for lack of tuition fees. Lyn, 6, is in Class Two and an average child but the neatest in the whole school. Their mother packs for them one banana everyday for lunch. An over- ripe banana costs Sh3 in Rungiti. I missed lunch but I ate more than I would ever need. I feel good for the children and wish them a bright future.