The Princess

Tough as a nun

Tough as a nun

I have had several run-ins or encounters with Sister Venerandah aka the Princess. She started teaching us pastoral in 2nd term. Pastoral, am sure you are wondering, is like a spiritual subject. We used to have a free lesson, then our class teacher thought that perhaps pastoral would make us a better class. Ours was the only class that had been “forgotten” in the allocation of these lessons, and we didn’t mind.

There is this day that she comes to teach. The topic: Are you fully alive? Then she leaves us with homework. Can you believe it? Stuff like what makes you happy? What hampers your happiness? What would you like to do to ensure you are fully alive? Etc

I sit near the front. During weekends, we are allowed to buy chewing gum. So after I buy, I stick those silly stickers for footballers on my desk. They act as ‘good decoration’. I’ve stuck them all around my desk. So on her first day in our class, she notices the silly stickers.

“Savvy, what is this?” she asks. Like she can’t see they are stickers.

“I asked what these are.” She repeats calmly.

“Stickers.” I answer.

“What are they doing on your desk?” Same patronizing and falsely polite voice.


“Savvy, what is this?” she asks. Like she can’t see they are stickers.

“I asked what these are.” She repeats calmly.

“Stickers.” I answer.

“What are they doing on your desk?” Same patronizing and falsely polite voice.


“You know Savvy, these things distract you.” She continues. I am about to protest, but my side deskie gives me a warning look.

“So I want you to remove them, all of them, okay?”

I nod as expected.

On another occasion, it’s yet another of one of those days. Those when you let go, and don’t worry about anything. You suddenly remember Jesus saying we should not worry about what to eat, or wear coz he provides.

So you scramble out of bed late, and grab any blouse you get your hands on. You don’t even get to comb your hair or polish your shoes since you are already late. And then you rush to the assembly hall.
After assembly, am walking briskly to class. Princess (how the name came about is a story for another day), being unnaturally observant, notices something wrong with my blouse.

“Savvy, come.” She commands.

“I walk up to her.”

“Let me see your collar.”

I confidently giver her my back so she can inspect my blouse. Then it dawns on me that am wearing a SHIRT that is almost four years old. I have had it since form one.

“What is this? How can a girl dress this way?”

The collar is almost non-existent. And it’s a shirt instead of a blouse. It means it’s got a hard collar and an extra button like it’s meant to be worn with a tie. Princess introduced this blouse rule soon after she joined the school. The line between blouses and shirts is thin, believe me.
“Why are you wearing a shirt?”

“All my blouses were dirty.”

“Am I supposed to wash for you your blouses?”


“Then why are you telling me your blouses are dirty? Do you want me to send you home to bring more blouses? Because it seems you have very few if they are all dirty.”

“No.” I answer very meekly.

“Then I want you to call your parents and tell them to bring you more blouses.”

“I will.”

“You know it’s against the rules to wear shirts?”


“And a very torn one at that. How can you behave this way, Savvy?”

I am silent.

“Or you want me to burn it?”


“Then charity is the best option. Go remove it.”

Do you have any idea what day it is? It’s a school day. Which means the dormitory is locked. And am wearing a half-sweater (sleeveless). I have to spend the rest of the hot day blouse-less, wearing a scarf, hoping to God no teacher notices or asks us to remove our sweaters.

Another time, am in the computer lab working on my project, due for marking any time soon. I have too much to do so I decide to skip supper. Gracie, being a good friend, decides to bring me super in the computer lab. Here I am sitting, my legs up, the plate of R n B (rice and beans) delicately balanced on my stomach.

Then the door opens, and….Princes pokes her head in.

I freeze.

“Can you sit properly.” Is the first thing she says. There is shock and wonder on both our faces.
I sit up straight.

“Why are you eating in the computer laboratory?” She asks in her characteristic calm voice. She likes asking why questions. I just never seem to have any answers. So am silent.

“Finish eating, wash your plate, then come see me in the convent.”

The food is suddenly tasteless. I go to the lower hot water tank and wash my plate. Filled with dread, I walk to the convent and timidly ring the bell. The cook answers. I tell him to call for me Princess. And she takes her sweet time.

What follows is the talk. Princess is assisted by her side kick Sr. Vero. They tell me I need to realize it’s my life, that I should stop playing around, that I need to get serious and stop breaking school rules, that KCSE is around the corner, that God knows what am going through, if I ever have a problem not to hesitate to ask them for help etc etc. Can you imagine I actually cry? Then they let me go, amidst much sniffing and blowing.

Maybe am too emotional (the tears!) and am just trying to be tough. I leave them with the plate and spoon, wipe my tears, put on a brave face and go back to the computer lab.

“What have you been told?” M.T asks when I get back.

So here I am telling them what happened, detail by detail. Of course I leave out the part about me shedding tears, and laugh at having gone through yet another incident with the Princess.


3 Responses

  1. Moral of the story?

    You just can’t read a story for the heck of it? There is no moral.

  2. LMAO at R n B

    but are you sure this princess chic does not have a thing for you, eh??

    This Princess was a middle aged nun…I can understand her having a thing for me, I mean, I was quite a looker back then.

  3. Wa! This brings memories. I think she had a thing for u

    Were you in a school with nuns too?

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