M O 1.
Baba wa Taifa.
Guess you already know who I’m talking about. The man himself. Dreamer. Achiever. This guy was more than you could imagine. He was loved as much as he was feared. He made things happen at the snap of a finger, he promoted and sacked anytime or anywhere; in harambees, public holidays, touring the country, when he was having lunch or even commissioning a project somewhere in the North Eastern part of Kenya. News on every hour began in the trademark…
”Rais Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi….”
Anyway, this article has nothing to do with politics but about the positive side of this wonder man. The man who believed that Kenya could build it’s own cars, remember ‘Nyayo Pioneer Car Project’? Don’t tell me you don’t! Unless you were born 14 years ago or you don’t know anything about Kenya.
We had water points, kiosks, all over the country…move around the countryside and you will notice water kiosks made of iron sheets and large concrete water tanks, most have since been vandalised by scrap metal dealers.
Back in the 90’s, life was sweet. We had Nyayo Bus, OTC, Bao and do you remember those matatus, you had to sit facing each other. Woe unto you if the person opposite you didn’t brush their teeth or spoke with saliva splashing out of their mouth, you had to endure it to the end of your journey. Unfortunately, there was no mobile phone to keep you busy, you had to pretend to be looking out the window.
During those days when you had school uniform, you were exempted from paying bus fare. Life was good. With one Shilling Coin you could by ten biscuits, remember those small round biscuits! Haha!
However, there’s one thing that makes me love Mzee Nyayo.
If you had the prestige of attending school in the 80’s and early 90’s, then you probably know what I’m talking about. You couldn’t afford to miss school for whatever reason, trust me.
Now, for your information Nyayo Milk was free school milk. Free milk supplied to barefooted pupils in primary schools. Mzee believed that children, school going children, had to stay healthy and strong. Fortunately, they were. Pupils were healthy and strong. Some shaved beards by primary 6. Big hairy and scary, as big as the teachers themselves. The ladies too were big, maybe they were married I can’t tell, they were mother figures. I pitied the teachers and pitied myself even more since I was yet to benefit from the milk…
Usually the milk was given to the pupils during lunch break. When milk arrived in schools, the stakes were high! The teachers also wanted their share, share of the free commodity, a personal gift from Mzee Nyayo himself.
Pupils lined up in front of the staffroom to get their life-giving pack of the milk. At this moment, you saw life in their faces, the usual dull faces shone with hope. Not all the pupils had the prestige of having something to eat during lunch time at home so this milk always came as a reprieve, gladly it was distributed during lunch hours.
In the queues, it was no secret the children came from very poor or irresponsible backgrounds. Most kids had tattered pairs of shot that left bare their ashened buttocks, others who were lucky had patched ones, but mostly of different materials and colours that left you wondering what the original colour of the shot had been. Dirt-washed bare feet, some jiggers infested. Smells chocked you of different kinds, from urine to sweat, but you had to persevere if you wanted to get your share. My dream was to grow as big as possible (thanks to the milk, I’m about 6 feet tall) as this seemed to be what it achieved.
Sadly, there’s always propaganda, peddled by the propagandist innuendo surrounding every good initiative. Nyayo Milk also had its share. Others claimed to have found needles in the milk, while others intimated that the school milk had chemicals to make anyone who drunk it, impotent; myriad of other hilarious allegations existed.
As much as the kids enjoyed and teachers alike enjoyed this milk, the sad reality hit us one day that it was no more, what a disappointment! I however count myself lucky to have had the chance to consume the godsend school milk. Maybe Mr. Moi himself drunk the milk too, that’s the only thing that can explain how in his 90s, he still walks around strong compared to his agemates and those younger than him but look as though they are 200 years old.
Posted by Mr. Jagweng