Tribulations of Mark:- Part 7
The Teacher's Strike
Mark Boarded a Matatu
Clad in a navy blue suit, a stripped shirt, a matching tie, and sharp pointed shoes, Mark boarded a matatu (the mode of transport used in Kenya) heading to town. The matatu was playing loud offensive music and since no one was complaining, Mark was contented with the situation as it was.
The stickers on the sides were also equally offensive, like this one saying, “If you think the music is too loud then you are too old” and another one in Swahili, "kama uko na haraka, shuka ukimbie," meaning that if you were in a hurry, you alight and run. Some of the art graffiti were nice, others horrendous. Mark was seating at the back next to a fellow who was already fast a sleep. And in fact, he was snoring like he was in the comfort of his bed.
He Took a Matatu and Headed to Nairobi
The Streets of Nairobi Were Teaming Up With People
The matatu bounced up and down, braked and accelerated, stopped, picking or dropping passengers and then started its journey again. Inside, the passengers were silent, gloomy faces as they headed to their place of work.
Soon the matatu arrived at the CBD and Mark alighted. As usual, there were thousands of people in Nairobi, the capital city of the Kenya, moving hither and thither, minding their own businesses. He mingled with them, heading to his place of work. His high school students needed him for brain nourishment.
The Teacher's Strike
You can read the previous episodes here
- Tribulations of Mark:- Part 1
The clock on the wall struck 5:30 PM but his strap watch indicated that it was 5:31. Then he decided to crosscheck the time on his mobile phone, it contradicted the two because it indicated that it was 5:29. He was amused by the time difference of th
- Tribulations of Mark: Part 2
Mark gasped and his eyes opened wider in befuddlement. They left for where? He vomited the words involuntarily. I dont know. Esthers colleague said. Then a little latter, who knows it is members day, time for Nairobians to enjoy their hard ea
- Tribulations of Mark: Part 3
Nairobi clubs, bars, joints or whichever name you give them, are always a beehive of activity. Especially on weekends from Friday which many people prefer calling members day, these clubs are always filled with revelers. Most of the well to do Nair
- Tribulations of Mark: Part 4
So many things had happened to him within a very short span. All these happenings had befuddled Marks mind. After being thrown out of Porcupines Inn, he had thought of what best to do. What he realized was that he could not go back to the pub or wai
- Tribulations of Mark: Part 5
Mark knew of one thing, he did not feel like waking up. His body was still tired and aching. The throbbing inside his head had subdued but not completely. He decided to call in sick at the school he taught. He had issues to solve. And since it was st
- Tribulations of Mark: Part 6
The police land-rover drove along Moi Avenue switching between lanes without courtesy while overtaking. The police vehicle was carrying a group of around eight suspects. At the back of the land-rover sat three stone faced police officers preventing t
After ten minutes of walking briskly, he arrived at his place of work. There was too much noise coming from the inside and students were walking up and down the school compound chattering like overexcited monkeys.
He checked his watch; it was quarter past eight in the morning. There was supposed to be order at this time of the day in the school compound. He headed straight for the staffroom and as he greeted his colleagues, it is when he learnt that the strike that had been called by the teachers union had taken root.
Teaching Was a Tasking Burden
The strike had been called to pressure or force the government to recruit an additional 28,000 teachers. The country had a national shortfall of about 76,000 teachers. Hence the few who were employed felt the heavy burden placed squarely on their shoulders. Teaching had thus become a tasking job and the education standards in most parts of Kenya had fallen below the expected levels.
Demonstrations in Town
As they sat in the office chatting, arguing whether their demands would be met by a rogue government, Marks colleague received a status update on his face book. There was going to be a demonstration in the CBD heading towards parliament. It was as if that was the message everyone was waiting to hear.
They all rose at once and started preparing to join their other colleagues in demanding their rights. What was angering the teachers more apart from being overburdened and paid peanuts, was the fact that the MPs had refused to pay taxes like ordinary Kenyans. And secondly, it was being rumored that they had taken funds from educational docket to the military docket.
The Protesters Were Chanting Slogans
They arrived at the CBD and found another huge group waving placards and moving in a procession along Moi Avenue. The group was also carrying an effigy of Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta who had ruled out the recruitment of 28,000 teachers in the financial year saying that the government had no money. The procession was of angry workers who had been denied their rights, who had been underpaid for a long time and who had been overworked in the name of nation building. The protesters chanting songs, waved placards and twigs headed to parliament buildings in solidarity, their message loud and clear.
The Protesters Surged Forward
Mark Was in The Front Line
Mark found himself among the front line leading the group of protesters, with no fear of the hundreds of police officers who had been deployed to maintain peace and tranquility. He had a big placard and he could not even remember where he had gotten it from. The teachers on the both of his sides were blowing vuvuzelas. The sound of the hundreds of vuvuzelas, when blown continuously, was like the roar of the tyrannosaur and for sure being a part and parcel of this demonstration helped Mark relieve most of the stress he had.
Watch out for part 8, coming soon!
© 2011 Patrick Kamau