I went to the salon this evening to have my hair done. It’s my graduation on Friday so I have to make sure that I get everything ready for this auspicious occasion. I call it that because if you ask any person graduating from a public university, they’ll tell you of the gruesome procedure that these institutions have before one receives a clearance. It’s not funny.
So am in this salon, and am asking my hair dresser to make sure that my hairstyle is a perfect fit with the hat. She asks me whether am graduating and I nod halfheartedly because I rarely talk about such stuff lest one may think that am bragging. They then begin this interesting conversation on the irrelevance of education.
“Umeolewa ama uko mna mboyfriend?’ (Are you married or do you have a boyfriend)
No. Lakini sina haraka.
Mbona huna haraka. Unajua unazeeka?Kuna miaka inakuja utakuwa na shida sana. (there are years which are coming that you will have a hard time getting married)
I smiled and brushed off what she said.
“Are you intending to go back and do a PHD?’
I don’t know, only God knows. For now I thank him for this far.
How can you say that? God did not create education. It’s you who decided to go to school.
Really? So you want to tell me that people in the past didn’t go to school. That God didn’t teach people?
She looked at me blankly when I gave her that answer and stopped plaiting me. A man selling tea passed by and she called her enthusiastically as if to escape from the question that I had just asked her. Knowing this, I waited patiently like a lion waiting to pounce on a gazelle. I waited for my moment of come back.
“So did God teach people in the past?’ maintaining eye contact with her, trying to see whether she will evade my question.
Mimi siaminingi na masomo. sunaona waatu wanasoma na makazi hawapati. Afadhali ukae nyumbani tu. Hata mimi niko sure napata pesa nyingi kukushinda. (I don’t believe in education. people are studying but getting no jobs. Am even getting more money than you with all your degrees and PHDs).
I kept silent at that answer. She knew exactly where to hit me. Right there. And yes, it was true she was earning more cash than me. Per day if I calculate and if she got a client per every two hours paying her one thousand shillings or two thousand, this woman will be going home with nearly 20 thousand per day. That’s like a fraction of what I get every month after insults and being threatened and working hard like a donkey. No body pays you to make you rich, even the wise men said.
The room was as silent as the graveyard until she finished plaiting my hair. All this time myriads of thoughts were cascading my mind trying to think what the value of education was and beating myself down of all the things that I haven’t achieved. She really hit me hard, I still insist. She suddenly broke the ice.
‘Unajua, si kwa ubaya nimesema hivo. Naona umenyamaa sana. Labda bahati yako si the same kama ya watu wengine. Unaweza pata njia tu imefunguka. Lakini mimi siamini na masomo. Yangu ilifikia class 8 na nikasema siendelei tena.’ (Don’t feel bad that I have said that. I can see that you are very quiet. Maybe your luck is not like other people. Maybe a door will open. But I don’t believe in education. Mine ended in class 8 and I have never desired to go back.)
Najua (I know). By the way, ni vile vitu ziko kwa nchi. Lakini mimi nina hope that nitafanya kitu ya maana na hii masomo.
With that parting shot, she handed a mirror to me to look at myself, whether she had done a great job or whether I wasn’t satisfied with what she did. She looked at me intently as I admired my beautiful self in the mirror. For real, she was a great hairdresser, who earned more cash than I, even with the fact that she only had mastered a few hairstyles. This fact annoyed me especially since I love variety and I am an impulse person who decides on stuff at the now moment. I thanked her and left the premise.
My parents spent a lot of money taking my siblings and I to school.I think all their lives, this is what they have lived for. Taking loans here and there, tightening their belts, ensuring that we get the best education. My mum, is a teacher, and for those who have teachers as parents can attest to the fact that there’s nothing like playing with books as long as you are a teachers daughter or son. I really pray that God will give me the grace to repay them for all this. that one day, they will totally say they are enjoying the fruit of their labor, the desire of their sacrifices.
Like Will Durant, I believe education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”That if harnessed well, and with understanding, education makes men and women to be impossible to enslave, it assists us make the right decisions. Ben Franklin once said that if a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take that away from him. That an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. So to all the people who are graduating or have graduated and are still facing the stigma of being scorned for your ‘elite’ status, know that what is in your head, if used wisely can save an entire nation. Nothing you learn in life ever goes to waste. Its time that we stopped using money as the yardstick to what prosperity and success is. Even the good book says, get wisdom, and with all thy wisdom get understanding. God had wisdom even before He made the foundations of the world. Am not equating book wisdom or knowledge to God’s wisdom am just saying that when you comprehend what it is you want to do, go to school, it helps.