Mr Muhia says, ” I have brought in a someone to share with you nuggets of this season you are going through. You see you are all young and perhaps don’t understand the importance of taking education seriously.”
I moved to edge of the seat.
The speaker that day was an educationist. A teacher by profession but had taken administrative duties at the district education office. We simply referred to him as the tutor. He worked with the government, and I heard that he was an accomplished motivational and public speaker. Perhaps his presence and speech would rejuvenate our spirits. I was fourteen. Short. Cheeky. Funny. Brightest [in my class]. I sat in the middle row first desk because of my height, but I’m 5’7″ now.
“What do you want to be in life?” He started his talk. 24 teenagers in the room, two adults and I am left dumb. I had never thought about what I wanted to be. I was used to people talk about being a doctor. I hated the smell of medicine that was sure. I once told my mum I would never work in a hospital. She said then you should be an engineer. I agreed. I didn’t know what an engineer does.
Then he started from the furthest row. The one on his right away from the entrance. Every one said whatever they wanted to be. It was typical cliche. Lawyer. Doctor. Pilot surgeon. Then the list repeated itself until this one girl said something.
Irene Kigen. She had the best handwriting in class. She had the best English. Spoken English. Because I beat everyone in the classroom in everything, but I didn’t speak well. I had terrible grammar and poor choice of words. She was resourceful in speech. And confident.
“I want to be a journalist!” she said with that sense of entitlement.
I had never heard that in my life. I don’t remember what I said that day, but I had one hell of a vocabulary to get the meaning. We had dictionaries, but I never bothered to find the meaning there. I wanted her to tell me what she meant.
Though I enjoyed listening to the radio then, I didn’t know that those who worked there were journalists. That episode remained in my mind until today. I know what a journalist does, I know what journalism is.