(Hey folks, remember I am launching my first hard copy novel, The Preying Shepherds, on 23rd April, 2022. The event will be at Eton Hotel, Thika. Kindly grab your ticket by paying Kshs. 1500 to buy Goods Till Number 297264. I encourage you to register early to help me prepare for the event. Thank you for the continued support.)
As she walks down the corridor, her perfume precedes her, sending the sweet scent into the nearby classrooms. Her destination is class 8 East where she will be teaching mathematics. Today is the first day of schooling in the New Year, and all the pupils are excited about being in their new classes.
Grace is the head teacher of Walleva Academy, a private school that she co-owns with her sister Eve and her sister’s husband Wallace. Being the head teacher of the school, Grace is primarily concerned with administrative duties, but she takes pride in being a teacher, so every year she teaches mathematics in classes seven and eight. This year she will be teaching 7 North, 7 West, 8 East and 8 South.
Walleva Academy has grown into a four stream institution: East, West, North and South. Each classroom holds about 30 pupils, meaning that the primary side of the school has slightly less than a thousand students. The pre-primary side has about three hundred students in three levels: playgroup, PP1 and PP2.
Grace is the overall head of the school. She has two principal assistants: Ian, the deputy head teacher who helps her with the running of the primary school and Nancy, the pre-primary superintendent who oversees all the operations of the pre-primary school. The school has been in operation for ten years, and Grace has always been in charge. It started with just four classrooms: nursery and Std. 1-3. It had only one stream then, with a total population of eighty students.
When the school was founded, Grace had been teaching at another private school. Her sister approached with a proposal that changed her life.
“Listen siz, my husband and I have an idea. We want you to think about it and let us know if you like it.”
“Okay, what is it?”
“We want to start a school, and we want you to lead it. This is what we are proposing. We register the school with three owners: me, you and my husband Wallace. Wallace gets 45% shareholding, I get 40% and you get 15%. The three of us will be the directors of the school. You will be the CEO and the secretary to the Board of Management, and while Wallace will be the Chairman of that Board. I will be a non-executive director of the school.”
“That is all good and nice, but I earn peanuts at my current job. I don’t have money to contribute as capital.”
“We got you covered, siz. Wallace and I will contribute the capital, and you will offer us labor. We cannot offer you a competitive salary, and that is why we are proposing to give you a fifteen percent stake in the school. We will give you a salary of thirty thousand to sustain you, and if the company makes profit, you will get a 15% share of those profits. What do you say?”
Grace was earning fifteen thousand shillings at the time, so she quickly agreed to the plan. Wallace and his wife Eva bought three acres of land and provided money for the construction of four classrooms, Grace’s office and a small staffroom. Grace is the one who was on site everyday supervising the construction. Eva and Wallace poured more money on advertisement, and when the classrooms were ready for pupils, the new school got an average of twenty students in each of the four classes. They hired three teachers: one ECDE teacher to take charge of the nursery class and two P1 teachers to take charge of classes one and two. Grace took charge of class three.
In the five years that followed, the school grew in infrastructure, number of staff and the number of children. By the time the first lot of pupils got to class eight, the school already had two streams, with thirty students each. There were also boarding facilities for pupils in classes four to eight. The three directors of the school had made a decision that they would limit the number of pupils per classroom to thirty.
Wallace and Eva’s vision was to make Walleva Academy and elite school. That was the reason they decided that each class would have a maximum of thirty students. But they did not stop there. They spent heavily on infrastructure. Dormitories are top of the range; pupils sleep in cubicles, and each cubicle accommodates two pupils. The beds are wide and comfortable, as are the desks and chairs in the classrooms. The meals are delicious, with the school employing a trained and experienced chef on a full time basis to supervise and train the cooks. Classrooms and all the other rooms and halls that pupils use have thick curtains to shut out the cold especially at night.
The laboratories are well equipped, as is the library. Three years ago, the school bought out six of its neighbors, raising its acreage to from three acres to sixteen. The directors put up modern sporting facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, chess boards and badminton courts in addition to the ‘ordinary facilities’ such as pitches for ball games and an athletics track. All the sporting facilities are separate for boys and girls, but the male and female pupils share classrooms and other facilities except dormitories, toilets and bathrooms.
The first candidates of the school smashed the exam. The last student in the lot of sixty had 350 marks out of the possible 500. The top student in the school has 436 marks and was the third best student country wide. That result raised the profile of the school, and the following year there was an influx of applications. The directors agreed to raise the number of streams to four, and then leave it at that so as not to dilute the appeal of the school.
In ten years, the school has established itself as one of the finest private schools in Kenya. It has top of the range facilities and its performance both in academics and in extra-curricular activities such as sports, drama and music has been solid for the last five years. Parents clamor to have their children school there. This has of course made the school very profitable especially in the last four years. For your child to school at Walleva, you have to be ready to part with an arm and a leg. It is a top school charging top fees.
In the first five years Wallace and Eva pumped a lot of money into the school, but the expansion in the last five years has been financed by bank loans. Nevertheless, even with the loan repayments, the school has been making a decent profit in the last four years. Even though Grace only has a minor stake in the school, she makes more money every year than she would have made as TSC employed teacher. And from the look of things, the situation can only get better. Eva and Wallace have already recouped a large part their investment through profits so with the benefit of hindsight, establishing the school was a brilliant idea.
“Good morning class?”
“Good morning Teacher Grace! Welcome to standard eight east!”
The energy and enthusiasm of the pupils is always uplifting.
“Thank you, pupils. Are you ready for our mathematics lesson?”
“So today we will do a little bit of geometry. Let us turn out text books to page thirty one.”
As the pupils open their text books, Grace’s eyes rest on Arnold, the boy seated at the very back of the class. He is a tall boy, taller than his classmates, even though he is only thirteen years old. He is a good looking boy, and he is also shy and eager to please. Grace has studied him since last year, when she started teaching mathematics in this class while they were still in Std. 7 East.
She knows that his mother is a single parent, having been abandoned by her then boyfriend when she was pregnant. She is semi-illiterate, and sells vegetables for a living. Arnold is in the school on a scholarship. The school provides six slots for poor but bright students to join the school in class four every year. These pupils, three girls and three boys, are not charged school fees; instead the directors cater for their personal expenses. When they get to class eight, Grace usually finds them NGO scholarships and government bursaries to take them through secondary school.
The first lot of the scholarship kids is in form two; Arnold is in the third lot. As Grace continues with her lesson, she cannot take Arnold away from her mind. She has to make her move today. Arnold is now in class eight, so he is ready.
Evening preps at Walleva Academy are unique. From six thirty in the evening, right after supper, to seven thirty, pupils are supposed to hold group discussions in their classrooms. There is a ten minute break and after that the pupils are allowed to do private studies in class for one hour. At eight forty, pupils in classes four to six are sent to sleep. The pupils in class seven and eight are given another ten minute break after which they are expected to continue studying, but they are allowed to study either in their classrooms, in the library or in their cubicles. Teachers on duty usually patrol the school from six thirty until lights are switched off in the study areas at ten pm, to ensure nobody is causing mischief. The teachers on duty are sometimes joined on the patrol by Grace and the deputy head teacher, Ian. After lights-out the teachers retire and the security officers take over the patrol of the school compound. The Seniors’ Hour, as that hour between eight fifty and nine fifty is called, has become Grace’s favorite hour.
Grace discovered “the thrill” of sleeping with younglings two years ago. She targets sponsorship pupils because they are vulnerable. And she targets them while they are in class eight because then her interaction with them will be one year, reducing the chances of getting caught. She has been with two boys already; Arnold will be the third.
At exactly eight fifty, she passes by his cubicle. Having spent most of last year studying him, she knows that he prefers to spend the Seniors’ Hour studying from the comfort of his cubicle, while his roommate prefers the library. She finds him deep in study, and instructs him to wait for her at her office while she pretends to continue with her night time patrol.
Grace finds Arnold waiting for her at the reception of her office. Since it is night time, her secretary is not in school. Grace leads him to her inner office and locks the door.
“Arnold I want us to have an adult conversation. Can you do that?”
“Please have a seat,” she tells him, leading him to a couch and sitting next to him. She placed this couch in her office two years ago after having awkward sex on her desk with a teenager. She explained in the requisition that the couch would make pupils who came to speak to her be at ease. No one doubted it; after all, she is a trained counsellor.
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Would you like to have a girlfriend?”
Arnold looks confused for a moment. The school frowns against romantic relationships. Is she testing him?
“No madam. I want to concentrate on my studies first.”
“What if your girlfriend can help you concentrate of your studies?”
“I don’t know madam.”
“Oh Arnold,” she says, kissing him on the lips. “I want you to be my boyfriend. Don’t worry, I will help you study. But I need to feel you.”
She kisses him deeply and then slips her hand under his school-issue t-shirt. His breathing becomes heavy, as she knew it would. After all he is a teenager, and his hormones are raging. By the time she pulls down his trouser, she knows that he is all hers. She has just landed herself a new, thirteen-year-old lover who will delight her flesh for the next one year.
Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/photos/classroom-school-education-learning-2093743/
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