X-files from the village
A typical Monday is for a lot of activity in the village, all school going children have an errand to run before running to school. Caning children at school is much supported and at times sanctioned by parents themselves. If a teacher does not cane children, then he is not expected to teach well and parents will not like him. It is very common for children to carry gifts for their favourite teachers. If a child does not have a favourite teacher to give any gift, it is likely that the child will not go far in school.
Because we have many school going children in our household, we are used to seing the children compete to show their progress in their class work and new skills. Once in a while you join in their play or help in homework. We wonder why some songs are only sang in Luganda like “head masta agenda mu town i Mbale” and “pusi agoba emesse” but they sound better that way. They have other songs like “katoore”, “nyanga nyanganya”.
Watching the children play I remembered the times we spent in school. I hated most the teacher who caned me until I realised that it is my father who always told Mr Wekoye to cane me because I was allegedly stubborn.Whenever I came back crying after being beaten expecting a consolation, father would just praise Mr Wekoye for being a good teacher who wants children to pass. On this particular day, I appeared on the list of noise makers 5 times. Since everyone was being thrashed 2 times, I was supposed to be caned 10 times for the 5 appearances on the list. After 4 canes, I slipped out of his hands and with all my might ran home crying. When father asked why I was at home and I said it is because I was beaten, he soothed me and after calming down led me to school.
I was smiling from ear to ear knowing that my father is going to raise hell and maybe tell Mr Wekoye to stop beating me. When we reached school, I shuddered as I imagined what will happen to the teacher when my father gets to him. We entered the class and lo, Wekoye was there. When he saw us, he paused his lesson and looked intently. It was my father who talked first, addressing not only the teacher. “This one that you see here is my son…………He ended up asking the teacher to cane me in his own presence so that next time I should not think about running back home. The problem with Wekoye was that if he caned you 5 times and you touched your behind to sooth the pain, he would start counting afresh. What was supposed to be 10 turned into 25 canes.
After that humiliating ordeal, I went to my buddies and received a number of suggestions on how to handle the situation. If I want to punish my teachers so that they stop caning me, I should insert a needle in my hair or an onion in my armpits. If a teacher canes me, I will faint and scare them from caning me. Or else, when Wekoye canes me next time, I should pick the stick with which he canes me and insert it in an anthill. This will make his hand swell and incapacitated to stop caning.
The day I used an onion, it slipped from under my armpits and fell before the teacher. After being caned for making noise, he again caned me for stealing onions from home and yet I could not place a needle in my hair since my mother always shaved my head monthly using a razor blade.
After being caned, we realised that probably out of fear Mr Wekoye hides his sticks in the staff room. We plotted to break into the staff-room next weekend and get the stick. As soon as we get that stick, we shall insert it in the anthill in our backyard and shall forever save ourselves the pain of Wekoye’s canes.
Till then, we shall keep you posted!