08 Nov

Meal card, kwota, kiperian: Things Kericho High boys could kill to obtain

Meal card, kwota, kiperian: Things Kericho High boys could kill to obtain

Lakini, is there a place where a quarter of bread is celebrated, worshipped and treasured more than high school? I’m yet to find one.

During my days at Kericho High School, a quarter loaf cost 5 bob. It was a highly treasured commodity, and students would do anything to get it, even if it meant fighting at the canteen or cutting bread in a way that ensured you got a bigger quarter than the person with whom you’d bought a half loaf.

Everyone who went through Kericho High will agree with me. Be it the current Bomet Governor Dr.Hillary Barchok, Kericho Governor Mr.Paul Chepkwony, Cs. Charles Keter, or Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot, or Belgut MP Nelson Koech, Leader of Majority Bomet County Assembly Josephat Kirui or nominated MP David Sankok, alumni will tell you that many friendships were broken because of the quarter. People shed tears for missing out on a quarter. Enemies became friends when a quarter was shared. World wars were fought to get to buy a quarter ahead of others. The quarter was gold.

When I was there, Sanik and United were the top bread brands. Their quarter was something else. I don’t know if the brands have changed but I won’t be surprised if those are still the bread brands people are fighting over.

Now, other than the quarter, there were other terminologies that were famous at Kericho High School back in the day.

SAKARIST

Every school tends to have a name for the act of going to serve a second time.  It was called “sakarism” and those who did it were called “sakarists”. And they were many. Even most of the politicians I have mentioned above were legends in “sakarism”. Those who were in the same cohort as Senator Cheruiyot and Governor Barchok, how good were their “sakarism” skills? I would love to know, haha.

And this I know for sure: if we were to form a Kericho High School Old Sakarists Club, hundreds of thousands of people in it.

And I can’t discuss “sakarism” without referring to the MEAL CARD. Oh, that small card which was alpha and omega. You couldn’t even start imagining that it had got lost because that would mean being chased out of the dining hall or eating the worst food after everyone had eaten. A meal card was an enabler of life. A passport to nutrition.

So, because food was hardly enough, there were those clever students who would forge meal cards so they could do their “sakarism” without inhibition. I would love to know how many of those meal card forging legends are working on the infamous River Road, forging things for survival.

KOMPA

If you were a Form Two and had some muscle, there were high chances you would be made a “kompa”. These were literally “watu wa mkono” who would help prefects maintain order in queues. Because “kompas” were tasked with manning Form Ones’ queues, it is understandable why they had to be well-built. But most “kompas” did not amount to much after high school. I could be wrong.

Speaking of prefects, the word for them was PIRII. And I remember that one of the piriis in my group is now a dental surgeon. Yes, Kericho High old boys soar high. I recently visited him and you can tell that the respect he commanded in high school is still there. And the queues at his place are well-managed.

By the way, Mr Sankok, the nominated MP, was once a “pirii” at Kericho High. And he is known for green suits. Is it possible that the green sweater we wore at Kericho High sparked his love for clothes of the same colour? I think there is a correlation.

Anyway, memories of queues and “kompas” and “piriis” always come up whenever I explain why I run a company that sells, among other things, a queue management system.

KIPERIAN

This was the name for a student from Kipsigis Girls, our neighbouring school. Of course I need not speak about the things we did, the letters we wrote on writing pads, the perfumes we applied on the paper, among other things as we tried to woo one Kiperian or another.

Which reminds me of something. You know, we always thought we were the only underfed students in Kenya. But there is a day some Kiperians shocked us. A friend bought bread for three of them, and we were left in shock by the way the girls devoured the bread like hungry lions pouncing on a gazelle. They didn’t even ask for water or soda or anything. They tore it up plain, and in a few short seconds, the load was past tense.

JUGGIT

This was a word with two meanings, like the word “unga” in Swahili which can mean flour also refer to joining something, and also slang for being heavily built and also a nickname for cocaine. One meaning was the jug that Form Ones used to serve tea. It had to be big enough to serve four and given its importance in the life of students at Kericho High, it was only natural for it to get a name.

In my days, “Juggit” also referred to the principal, the late Mr.Jackson Chepkwony. The first letters of his name and that mix of the local accent made it sound the same as that of the jug.

The chaotic queues and the fights we had in school can make one start thinking of better ways to manage queues. At least they made me think of better ways. At The Mocropoint Systems Ltd, we have a simplified and digital queue management system that ensures the first to come is truly the first to be served. Survival-for-the-fittest shouldn’t apply in queues because there will be more people at a disadvantage and it gives your business a bad name. Queue management systems are the way to go. In case you want to hear more about it, please shoot me an email on info@micropointsystems.net .

BY CORNELIUS TONUI, THE MICROPOINT SYSTEMS LTD

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