Editor’s Choice

Old Girls Reunion: Meet the brainbox, the lucky geese…na yule dame ali beat!

Reunions come with deep emotions, nervousness and anxieties of how one measured up against the rest

Bush Girls: Sophie Ngugiduring the Alliance Old Girls Reunion in 2011. “I felt the excitement of 20 years ago when I had stepped into this school that has shaped who I am now. I made sure my camera was well charged,” she wrote on her blog.
Photo courtesy: sophiengugi.blogspot.com

By Shifa Mwihaki

Feature writer/Essayist

@Undercover KE

This is how a woman prepares for an Old Girl’s Reunion:

She buys 10 outfits, three months in advance and tries them out during weddings and other social gatherings. The one which turns the most heads is the one she will wear at the Old Girl’s Reunion. Next is the hairstyle. It must wow, be different, but show some class. For that she enlists the services of a hairstylist. The same goes for nails, shoes and the facial is reserved for the day before.

Most girls in the alumni association will also monitor Who is Who in the Reunion WhatsApp Group. They will scrutinize uploaded profile photos to compare nani ame chapa. Photos of children will also be dissected to check whether they’re from the same sperm source. The silent members (who mostly don’t turn up) will be reading comments to check who is still a loud mouth “kama tu vile alikua high school.”

Actually, some will attend the Reunion depending on how many of their own classmates commit to attend. Phone calls will be made behind the scenes for that, gossip exchanged as well.

Then there are those who are 50-50. Mostly the socially shy, those in bad marriages and regrettable careers.

The overweight will sign up for marathon slimming classes and the latest phones will be squeezed from unsuspecting boyfriends and spouses. Big cars will be hired, leased, borrowed.

Those married to television and radio presenters, politicians and other public figures will ensure they appear or are picked by them from the Reunion venue.

Then there are the lucky ones who will drop their busy schedules globetrotting and “pop in just to say hi” after all “the venue is on my way to the airport.”

And why are most alumni association and Reunions the preserve of national and elite schools?

Reunions, especially those coming after a decade or so come with deep emotions, nervousness and anxieties of how one measured up against the rest from Form 4 W. But surveyed closely, Old Girl’s Reunions-which are fertile grounds for such- not as formidable as Old Boy’s Reunions here in Kenya.  Which is slightly surprising considering women love meeting up to compare life notes, swap gossip and size each other up.

Read Also:  Mau Mau girls: They entertained Field Marshals…like Dedan Kimathi

And why are most alumni association and Reunions the preserve of national and elite schools? The Kenya High School, Alliance Girls, Pangani Girls and the various Precious Bloods have been impressive, for instance.

While scholarships, libraries, school buses and new roofs and classrooms have been initiated by alumni associations, psychologists inform us that Reunions, on the other hand, help in reconstructing a sense of meaning in our lives while providing mental spaces for reevaluating the choices we made and how different things could have turned out had we taken different paths. After all, the schools we attended, and which are the basis for Reunions, shaped our collective identities and attitudes which went a long way in forging life-long friendships and career choices.

Besides Reunions providing opportunities for reliving yellowing school memories, they also reveal how different people turn out away from dreams of their callow youth. Unlike boys, Old Girl’s Reunions are later turned into chamas, Mother’s Groups and such. This makes Old Girl’s Reunions fertile grounds for networking for women in social work, running children’s homes and the like. In these chamas and Mother’s Groups, they find an outlet for their stress which goes a long way in reducing stress and number of women who dangle on ropes. 

Here are the 12 characters you will bump into during an Old Girls Reunion…

Listen, girls: American singer Keri Hilson giving a pep talk at The Kenya High School in 2018. Decades later, schoolmates turn out totally different as is evident during a Reunion.
  1. The lucky geese

She was a bimbo, barely scrapped through high school.

Did Food &Beverages, diploma course. Then somewhere along the way bumped into this loaded IT guru who opened for her a restaurant in Gigiri “and I just live not far away, you guys should come visit” she tells her envious former classmates while dangling the keys of a brand new Porsche Cayenne…

Read Also:  Polycarp Igathe: Why he gets new jobs at the speed of light

2. Diamond in the rough

She could get lost in a crowd of three. Being a plain Jane, few men gave her a second look. But kumbe she had a hidden killer figure and her complexion changed from dark to rangi ya zambarau. No one had noticed her dimples. Few could remember her before she introduced herself as Kui Njuguna-Gatembo then all recall she was the faceless Wangui Njuguna now married to Dr Gatembo!

3. The hooker

She flirted with teachers, cooks, the male guards, the canteen guy and the school driver. At the Reunion, she is seen flirting with the waiters after the fifth glass of wine and brags that she didn’t pay for her Uber! No one mentions it, but she was deported from, was it, the UK?

4. The motor mouth

She is still the noisemaker that she was in Form 4 Yellow. There is a group forming around her just as in high school. She has the 4-1-1 on all former students dead or alive.  Half the stories are still exaggerated but no one minds. They are funny as hell. She is a receptionist with three children from different fathers.

5. The brainbox

Scored all As. Now works for an international body. But brilliance in school appears to be different for life and she is still figuring her way round men, marriage and work life balance. But her Shinde, an S-500 was bought in coldcash. She looks intimidatingly monied and that perfume must have been bought from Rodeo Drive.

6. Lady Boss

She was the girl who sold bread when the canteen was out of stock. She also doubled as the school photographer and trader of Camera-One mtumba outfits. She now does roaring business importing stuff from Turkey, China and Thailand. She skipped college and appears as successful as the Brainbox. She also doubles up as the adviser on how to succeed in life!

Read Also:  Madaraka Day: The ‘iron law of Oligarchy’ still holding Kenyans by the balls!
Gotta go to school: The pioneering students at Alliance Girls in the 1940s. The schools we attended, and which are the basis for Reunions, shaped our collective identities and attitudes.

7. The Fashionista

Dressed awkwardly in ill-fitting school uniform that kissed her dusty ankles. Her hair appeared like a nyoni would fly out any time. How she became a fashion icon with her own blog and fashion house, nobody knows!

8. The cucu

She is mistaken for the matron or the cateress. She has really aged and looks like that auntie who attends all weddings and funerals. She got married soon after KCSE results and popped out five brats in quick succession. She runs a hardware shop in Kamulu along Kangundo Road.

9. Forever young

Still behaves like a Millennial yet the average age at the Reunion is 35. Still has that girly laughter, body and mindset. She is the last girl dancing at 5am! Wasn’t she the chairlady of the Christian Union?

10. The Globetrotter

Lives in different capitals of the world. Actually, she lives in a plane. Said she works for, was it the World Bank or something? But she was always huko ma-number 30-something in class, Ngai Fafa! She appears to laugh kimoyo-moyo at all the other girls who thought she would fail in life.

11. The Princess

Rich daddy’s little girl has never worked hard, not in school, not in life. She paid for half the Reunion budget and seems as carefree as she was when she took permission most Fridays to go get hot showers at home in Karen!

12. The bewitched

Nothing worked for them. They were impregnated shortly after high school, missed college and have since sold cereals at the Ruiru bus stop ever since. Never mind they were top 12 in class. They miss they Reunion as it falls on a market day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *