Sometimes, teachers wake up on the wrong side of the bed and misdirect their unresolved issues and anger on their pupils.
But woe unto a pupil who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. They are often punished, misunderstood or even expelled from school.
I dare say, nothing is as frightful as a halfway asleep teacher with a piece of dusty chalk on one hand and a duster in the other.
After my Mum (my teacher) handed me over to upper class from lower Primary, I had to adjust to some new strange teachers.
I was 9.
Mum was kind and loving and corrected the class through music, story telling and rewards. She did not use the long discipline stick, placed in the corner of every class.
She gave us , jaggery and groundnuts, we danced during Physical Education and laughed through the pit of the stomach.
My new Class Four teacher had a problem with my name. She wanted everyone's African (Nyaluo) or middle name in her Class Register.
We lined up in alphabetical order.
"What's your Nyaluo name?" She asked, when my turn came.
"Omwa", I smiled proudly at her.
She frowned, rolled her large gololi eyeballs, picked a dusty dustboard from her desk and knocked my clean shaven oval head twice with the wooden side. Bang! Bang!
"Ai! Ai! Ai! What have I done wrong?" I wailed as if visited by death, and jumped back.
She quickly grabbed me by my left ear and yelled, "Stop playing with me! Don't be dumb! 'Omwa' is not your Nyaluo name. I need names like "Atieno, Anyango, Awino, Achieng', Akelo, Aoko, Adhiambo, Aloo, Akinyi, Apondi, Ayoma, Adera, Adongo, Ayieko, Akech, Agik, Apiyo, Akumu, etc. "A-something!
Give me a girl's name! Omwa is a boy's name!"
She gave me a serious lecture and blamed my parents for not teaching me my real name.
She sent me home, and warned me not to come back to class until I found out my real name.
And so, I missed the day's class.
I did not go home directly but spent the day going about my favorite hobby, climbing mango trees, eating raw green sour mangoes and filling my green schoolbag with ripe ones.
My parents were livid when I arrived home 'without a name.' They reaffirmed that 'Omwa' was a beautiful name and the family greatly revered the person I was named after.
My mum took me back to class the following day with a copy of my birth certificate. It had the name 'Omwa Ombara' neatly typed with the Registrar's signature and the Kenya Government's bluish rubber stamp.
The teacher was unapologetic and unimpressed by the name. She told my mum, they should have given me a better name, more beautiful, more feminine.
How did I get the name, Omwa?
I have explained the historical culture behind naming a girl child after an uncle or grandfather and that all female Luo names do not necessarily start with an 'A' in my memoir, God's Child on The Run."
I also write about a few of my teachers who would wake up on the wrong side of the bed and indulge in nightmarish acts.
I proudly carry my name, 'Omwa', to date.