Back to my roots: Challenges down memory lane

You sit down in a nice office, swiveling about in your plush leather seat; juggling with three tasks at once, a month later after all that work you get a cheque that puts a bounce in your step. Do you not?

You sit down in a nice office, swiveling about in your plush leather seat; juggling with three tasks at once, a month later after all that work you get a cheque that puts a bounce in your step. Do you not?

Life is sweet and you are convinced you deserve all the good things that life throws your way. You do, don’t you?

Sure you do. You work hard at everything you do and should not be begrudged of all the blessings you have. I’m a proud alumni-or Old Boy (OB) of one of the historically famed ,secondary schools in Uganda-Kigezi College Butobere.

Sure, it wasn’t a Kisubi or Ntare School; but it had always held its own and had a culture of excellence. Or, at least it did when I was there. I hadn’t been to ‘my’ school since 1998 and on a recent trip to Kabale-Uganda I decided to visit my old alma mater.

As I left Kabale town and approached my destination, my heart rose in tandem with the decreasing distance. It almost felt like I’d gotten on a plane and flown to the land that ‘time had forgotten’. Everything looked exactly the same as I’d left it ten years ago.

The same gate man, with whom I’d clashed time and time again all those years back as a khaki-short clad boy; welcomed me back like a prodigal, the teacher that taught me the intricacies of titration in the chemistry lab still came to school on his bicycle; and even the cooks, who mingled my posho, were still at it.

And boy was I happy to see them all once again! Wonders of wonders…they all remembered me. The best part of the trip was seeing the words I’d written on a wall as a senior four national exam candidate-“NEVER FORGET, SUNNY NTAYOMBYA S4 1998.

I was in seventh heaven. That is, until I saw through  the ‘fine picture’ they were presenting to me. The gate man was wearing a pair of worn sandals with marks of years past firmly etched on his face.

The teacher, while smiling, informed me that the school was empty because the students had almost rioted and they’d been told to go home, while my once proud dormitory, Makobore House, was crumbling. All in all, the school looked like an ageing courtesan in denial that her time was up.

“Why, I asked, is everything looking so shoddy?”

“Does the school not still get funding from the ministry of education?”

‘‘No’’ The sage gate man corrected me, ‘‘it’s your fault that things have come to this”. I was going to splutter a rebuttal when it hit me. He was right!

The school, that I profess to love, is the same school I chose to forget. That is, of course, when I reminisce about the good ol’ days.

Wasn’t it my responsibility, nay, duty, to give back something to the school that set me along life’s road?

Kigezi College Butobere taught me courage, strength and gave me steel, honor and pride; who am I not to ‘tithe’?

This isn’t a call to only my fellow alumni; this is a call to all those who have reached the apex of their professions on the backs of the teachers who  have nurtured and given you the skills that you now use to conquer all. They need you, the teachers and current students, both. Give back!

Contact: sunny_ntayombya@hotmail.com  

 

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