The last several days I’ve been tying the new kikoi my brother and sis-in-law brought me from Kenya. I really enjoy tying them. It’s somehow relaxing. And it always reminds me of tying my kikoi in my O-levels.
The O-level exams ran for two weeks, and it turned out that the weekend in between was the only time that we could go down to Mombasa. So, I took a week of exams, then we hopped on the Good Ol’ EAR&H and went down to Mombasa. It was wonderful – one of the best vacations that I can remember. Walking up and down the beach, haggling with the vendors, and *wonderful* food.
One of the things I bought on that trip – probably traded a tshirt for it, or something like that – was an orange kikoi which I still have. Kikois usually come with the ends unraveled, and the first thing you have to do is to tie off the ends into little bunches so that the thing doesn’t come all the way undone.
We left Mombasa on the train on Sunday night, and headed back up to Nairobi. During the night, there was some kind of trouble, and we sat still on the tracks for several hours, not arriving in Nairobi until just a short time before my first exam. We called ahead to the school, and got approval for me to come to my exam in what I was wearing, since there wasn’t time for me to go home and change into my uniform.
So, I arrived for my math O-level wearing shorts, a dirty t-shirt, and my new kikoi, while everyone else was in their crisp clean uniforms. Of course, that got me the delighted stares of my peers. 😉
Then, to make things worse (for them, not for me) I *totally* aced the exam, and finished it in about half the allotted time. However, I wasn’t permitted to leave until the time as over, so I just had to sit there. I sat for about an hour, tying off the ends of my new kikoi, while my peers glared at me from their desks. When they let us out, I had finished tying, and went home to change into my school uniform.
Sarah has asked if she can have my old kikoi now that I have a new one. I think I’ll probably hang onto it for a while. Good memories. But she’s welcome to share. 🙂