Oh, the indefatigable agonies wrought by the Visiting Day.
Some students would have the extended family coming over in droves to gawk over them. Multiple cars, loud music and enough food that would turn a lackluster visiting day into a picnic that’d rival the present-day Blankets-and-Wine fiesta.
In my case, well, the story usually slid sideways on so many fronts.
I didn’t have an extended family covering a substantial section of the school grounds in colorful Maasai fabrics on a picnic.
My father was my sole guest in all the visiting days over the four high school years.
To give credit, where it’s due, father was never late. On that day, I’d spot kids staring at the gates all day long – and the sun would set with no one coming. I’d thankfully be spared that trauma.
Many a times, we’d be in the regular morning parade for the usual Visiting Day pep talk, and I’d spot him at the gate.
He’d be hard to miss, what with his signature cigar-tainted, black leather jacket and cowboy hat – with a daily newspaper clutched under his arm.
I’ve since become a father, too, and I’ve understood – but in those days, I’d wonder (to myself) why father wouldn’t slice off a section of his annual tea bonus and get a new jacket.
My high school was rather liberal. Anything short of drugs was allowed on Visiting Day for students – as it was, a fair number of guests would openly engage in alcohol and various narcotics.
In my father’s mind, school was meant to be school – not alternative grounds for picnics and family bonding.
Father wouldn’t bring a single glorified Chapati, or rice dish with chicken or beef stews.
After assembly, I’d walk over to the gate.
There’d be a stiff handshake, and some inquiries on whether Miss Mutai was in good health. This lady taught Chemistry, and doubled as my class teacher. They’d been comrades in UON – when multi-party activism was a thing.
Father would grab my arm, and lead me to the school canteen. We’d grab soda, and cakes. We’d cross the soccer field to our usual quiet tree – near the church.
We had all the time in world, and not much to talk about.
The conversation never changed in all the years:
Father: Everyone is good at home. Your rabbit got puppies.
Me: Rabbits don’t get puppies. I also don’t have rabbits.
Father: Oh, shoot. I meant your dog.
Me: Wow, that’s nice.
Father: Why do you keep getting English and Kiswahili badges, and never once for Mathematics?
Me: I’ll try. I almost won in Biology.
We’d mostly read and re-read the newspaper. I’d glance at my colleagues having full-blown parties with their families with food, music and dancing.
Weirdly enough, the sight and smell of my father’s worn leather jacket gave me an inexplicable calm.
As a father, I’d like my kids to have fond memories of me. I seek to offer mentorship – socially, psychologically and financially. It’d be fulfilling to raise up my kids as all-round specimens on life and societal aspects.
To teach finance and money management, I’ve tapped into a proven financial entity with a structure built for this purpose.
The iconic Jumbo Junior Bank Account, with Co-op Bank.
Co-op Bank has a transitional account that’s a perfect for children below the age of 18 years. This is great as a financial teaching aid for kids, on the basics of money management.
The Jumbo Junior Account also grants the child automatic membership to the exclusive Jumbo Junior Club.
What’s more interesting is that the Jumbo Junior Bank Account attracts interest payable at 3%, annually.
To sign up, or learn more about Jumbo Junior, visit the nearest Co-op Bank branch, or click here.
The Big Bank Account….For Little People!