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Breakout Kings

If you went through a boys’ boarding high school without ever sneaking out, then you missed out on one hell of a spine-tingling experience. The rush that goes with it is just priceless. What you need to do is to enroll at a high school near you, sneak out, then get back to whatever it is that you are doing. In this post I intend to share with you my thrilling experience of the first time I sneaked through the fences.

Featuring (truants): Lenny, M’mata, Brise, Kunju and of course myself.

I spent my four years of high school at Lenana School, commonly known as Changez. I’m proud to say that I had been a very good boy up at until my final year. I had never sneaked out of school, I had never held a joint between my fingers, never had I even peeked at naked photos of women in a magazine. Ok, the last point maybe once… or twice – who was keeping count? Point is I had been of decorous behavior for the better part of my high school life.

Well that was until one historic Sunday evening. We were walking from the dining hall when a pal suggested we sneak out and go for dancehall night. The club of choice was Beehive. Beehive was a renowned club back in the day despite the fact that it was located at Ngumo. I know what you are thinking, who goes raving at Ngumo? Well that was long before Westlands took over as the prevalent sin city.

The exploit was absolutely impetuous. We acted on a whim. The idea was not even assessed. There was no debate. Convening a study group would have raised more contention. No one thought of the consequences if our plot went south. Brise and the like were not particularly from the Christian Union Brotherhood. No one took the moral high ground.

It was agreed that we would recruit one more person: M’mata, the most spirited and spontaneous person you will ever meet. We would then go to our respective dormitories, change into decent clothes and go for Dancehall night. I had attended enough Social Studies classes and Mrs. Njoroge had time and again warned us about succumbing to peer-pressure. But there was no way I was going to be a wet blanket.

Walking across the open, expansive rugby pitch towards the thicket fence was like walking through enemy territory. There was a chance a watchman would spot us and blow the whistle. The tension was evident as we strode across. But we remained cool. If I were alone I would have folded under the pressure and taken for the fence at full speed. But I trusted my boys. They had experience.

We were soon on the other side of the world. There was life on this side. No lethargic looks of people bogged down by tedious coursework. No dullness owing to the constraints of conformity. Out here people moved and behaved as they pleased. The unrestricted manner in which people went about their business was comforting. It filled me with excitement.

Well that’s until a woman saw us as we were walking past her shanty and yelled, “nyinyi si ni vijana wa shule? Wacha nipigie headmaster wenyu saa hii.” (aren’t you boys students? I am calling your headmaster right away)!

We dropped our cool at that woman’s doorstep and ran like possessed boys. Thinking about it now, running seems a bit dumb. It’s not like our headmaster would have dropped his dinner on the floor, asked his wife to get him his running shoes and come after us. It’s not like the principal would visit the woman with a pencil and plain paper and ask her to sketch our faces. But you don’t think along those lines at such times.

We connected matatus and got to Ngumo. My pals were veterans.They knew how it was done. Before we hit the club we passed by Kenyata Market for some nyama choma.

When we got to the club, each one of us was required to part with a hundred bob. We paid and we got receipts. But when we got to the main entrance, we were all frozen. You know how kids wearing Mohawks are normally asked to present their IDs at the entrance, the bouncer didn’t even bother asking us to show him ours (I have mentioned before just how tiny I was back in high school, haven’t I). He just pushed us aside. Even after we showed him our receipts!

We were flustered. There’s no way we were going to spend the night out in the cold after taking such a huge risk. We pleaded and pleaded. But our efforts were futile. Luckily, the club owner happened to step out for some fresh air and recognized Kunju. They chatted briefly and he instructed the bouncer to let us in. Kunju was our savior. If we knew better we would have pulled that bouncer’s nose. In turns.

I was finally in a club for the first time in my life. I vividly remember how it was inside. It was hot and humid. The air smelled like a merger of BAT and KBL. It reeked of intoxicants. The music was so loud it threatened to blow off my eardrums. My eyes struggled to adjust to the smoke-filled, dimly-lit surrounding. I discerned a lady in hot pants gyrating next to a table. Seated directly in front of her was a man gawking at her lustfully. There were happy faces scattered all over. Tables were covered with beer bottles. People were enjoying themselves.

We took sits around a table and my friends ordered for beer. I asked for ginger ale. I spent most of the night observing, quietly absorbing the nightlife. But that’s a story for another day. This post is about the sneaking part.

The most dramatic part of our escapade was getting back to school. We left the club at around 4am and had to walk to Ngong road where we would take a mat. On the way we passed right in front of Brise’s home. If his mom had peeped through her bedroom window she would have seen his drunken son staggering by.

It was still too early in the morning and there were no matatus when we got to the stage. Lenny, M’mata and I sat on the bench at the stage while Brise and Kunju sprawled themselves on the edge of a culvert, and fast fell asleep. Of all the boys, myself excluded, Lenny was the soberest.

While looking out for a matatu, I happened to see a police landrover approaching. I thought I was being paranoid and I asked Lenny to confirm. He confirmed my fears. We both watched it as it approached. The scariest part was when it started slowing down as it drew nearer. My heart was exploding in my chest. The five of us were the only ones at the stage. Normally boys run under such circumstances. But we were flat-footed. Brise, Kunju and M’mata were oblivious of what was happening. They had blacked out. The vehicle came close to a halt directly ahead of us and I could see the cops’ heads turned towards us.

Lenny and I sat there staring back at them. And somehow, as unbelievable as it sounds, they drove away without bothering us. The relief we felt was so immense. We woke up the boys so we could narrate the close shave. As hair-raising as our story was, two of them went back to sleep midway through.

We soon got a matatu. A few minutes later we alighted and took a winding dirt road towards the school fence. When we were about a hundred meters from our entry point, dogs started barking hysterically. They barked like we were Chinese. We knew they must have caught the attention of the watchmen. We therefore had to regroup. We split and I paired with Lenny. I had shared a dormitory with him since form one and I trusted his judgment. Before parting with the rest, we made a pact not to squeal in case any of us got caught.

Lenny and I walked towards an alternate entry point. But as soon as we got to the fence a dog came scurrying towards us. Behind it was a watchman bearing a torch trying to keep up with it. We stood still as posts behind the thicket fence. The dog was barking menacingly on the other side as the watchman tried to peek through. Luckily for us, he was not as keen. After searching for a few seconds, he turned and walked away. We could see numerous flashlights hovering around the rugby pitch. It was evident the principal had instructed the watchmen to be on high alert on receiving the phone call from the snitching woman.

The pitch was a no-go zone. I turned to Lenny for a way forward only to be met by a defeated look on his face. He even suggested, as a last resort, we back off and come back later through the main gate and say we had been sent home for school fees. It was not a good idea as it meant shopping for school uniform. We decided to keep walking along the fence and see if we could find an unmanned opening.

Lenana School can as well be a province on its own. The school is expansive. It would take the whole KDF to have all the openings covered.  We squeezed ourselves between some barbed wires and made it into the compound. The walk between the fence and the dormitory was the longest walk of my life. It felt like walking across the Sahara. Mind you we were not in school uniform. We crashed at the closest dormitory. We waited till time for breakfast, borrowed school attire and went to our dormitory. All my friends made it in.

Later on the teacher who had been on duty the previous evening came to my class and demanded to know where I was during prep time. I came up with some flimsy excuse and got punished. The punishment involved washing the dormitory. I have never undertaken a punishment so enthusiastically. My own house has never been scrubbed with half the dedication. I undertook the punishment like it was part of my grades.

I have done some pretty crazy stuff in my lifetime, but this could easily count as my most thrilling experience.

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Categories: True_story
  1. kamara
    January 30, 2012 at 8:26 am

    hehehee i can imagine the fear in ue eyes of being caught and the dogs barking. nice read

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      hehe it was not funny. Thanks Kamara!

  2. Anonymous
    January 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Nice one Joel….

    “Happy faces indeed!!!”

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Thanks. You leave your problems at the entrance.

  3. BrareMafuda
    January 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

    BrareMafuda likes this

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      And he has resurfaced! Thanks

  4. Mercy
    January 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    and a few years later we now have ‘Joel the party animal’ 🙂

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      I am yet to attain that status.

  5. No 1 fan
    January 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    the first time at the rave huh? ur a fast learner!!!!!!!!! i think u have it in your genes to be cheeky

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      What can I say? I just came out this way…

  6. M'mata Michael Boy
    January 31, 2012 at 2:04 am

    hahaaa!! Funny thing is some of us were at ‘Midas’ in westy the previous day but we still craved some more the next day… I remember how addictive the adrenaline rush was, I needed no convincing. Good times!!

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      Hahaha! You guys spent more time outside the fences than within! Remember the other time we snuck out for nyama and we came face to face with someone whom we thought was Fada? (or was it Keengwe… Can’t remember). Good times man

  7. thatguy
    January 31, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    boss, that was funny. gave me memories of how myself and ivan sneaked from school. we were desk mates in high school and now workmates. lolest. memories are made of this.

  8. Anonymous
    February 4, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    no wonder the small boy cn down 6 bottles of beer n get slightly tipsy..silly me I thought he couldn’t do 7 n stay up….naona changez taught u better….

  9. June 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    and here i was thinking changez were a pack of pedante guys whose greatest escapedes involved their right hand and their weenies, my bad. I guess no society is pure enough to lack rot. And by the way did you get tipsy cos you took ginger ale? Oooh hahaha

    • June 4, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Very funny! I have a feeling you got a little turned on as you wrote about hands and weenies, didn’t you?

  10. Kariuki
    June 5, 2012 at 10:44 am

    This is good. Very good. Vivid

  11. Anonymous
    June 22, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Back in 96 we used to sneak out to F2 in packs of not less than 30 fourth formers. I always remained unscathed because if guys were heading to F2, I would go to Maddy or Princess.

  12. Liberty
    August 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Sadly i didn’t have any thrilling escapades in highschool besides going for ‘funkies’………:) I felt like i was there sneaking out of school with you:) Bloody brilliant writing Joey!!!

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