Sam Worrall writes
My days at Kaptagat have left a deep impression, some moments of sheer terror and some of happiness. The fact that I endured some of the more testing times gives me some pride as I look back on those days.
My brother Ian and myself had previously gone to a very relaxed international school in Istanbul, which was run by liberal minded American teachers most of whom we were on first name terms with. We had long hair, no uniform and chewed gum endlessly. Needles to say, it was a bit of a shock to be interned at Kaptagat. The first thing That Rushy and Ma E did was mockingly cut off our long hair and confy our stocks of wriggly's juicy fruit! I felt like I had been wrongly convicted and was doing time for a crime I hadn't committed.
To me the place seemed to be in the middle of no where and had a strange gut wrenchingly lost feeling, sort of melancholy, quite nice in a surreal sort of way
Here are some of my memories:
Playing gilli gilli gander & nyabs, where spiders, black widows and dombies were highly prized. Does anyone remember the rules for GGG?
Curled up avocado sarnies and tepid watery squash at break time. Cheesy sick with onions for lunch where you had to play a deadly game of bluff and double bluff with Undies (Mr Andrews) by pretending to like the meals you hated so that he would not give you an extra large portion. The occasional feast of Guinea fowl when the Fosters had been out shooting.
Bath time in those old baths with the enamel worn off at both ends full of muddy water and the presumably the pee of those that had previously bathed. I remember one occasion when Ma E made Ian Mills sit in a bath that was clearly too hot, he was screaming, and after a bit he could stand it no more and stood up with a bright red tide mark from his nipples down! All good character building stuff!
Watery posho and watery porridge on alternate mornings, watery cocoa at bed time.
Anne, the assistant matron who could kick off her flip flop and smack you on the arse with it at ten paces. Swimming terror lessons in the icy pool, with Undies standing on your fingers when you tried to have a rest from swimming endless exhausting lengths without using your arms or legs ( no, not both at the same time). I used to snort tap water up my nose in an attempt to feign a cold in order to try and get out of this my most dreaded activity.
"Ta Tatey Ta" music lessons with Rushy, who used to shout "Ha! yu'Dopey!" at you on a regular basis.
The lovely old Mr Tax who sometimes lit the filters on his fags by mistake to which we would all joke "abam abas abat Taxy is a prat!".
The old shed of a library full of Enid Blyton books and bees, that had a distinctive smell of musty old books and honeycomb. Invasions of siafu ants in the boys locker rooms and swarms of bees interrupting sports.
Miss Woody and her dog Timmy (who was tragically poisoned by sheep dip). Mr Evans ? the eccentric English teacher. Extremely exciting but rare trips to Kaptagat Falls. Horse riding in the wattle woods and racing up the airstrip. I remember seeing Sammy Tax flying through the air still sat on his saddle as the girth strap snapped, I think he broke his arm? Hide and seek on horseback in the woods too, which was difficult as the horses would keep on neighing.
The house with the least points being excluded from the end of term party! How that hurt!
And sundry people I remember, Alif and Karim Lalji, Kinky Lane, Fiona Wood, Bereky Brooksbank, Celia Bedford-Pim, Karanja & Njoroge Kamau, Anthony Kegode, Ian & Stephen Mills, Sandy Lane and I'm sure there are loads more that my poor old grey matter can't quite grasp.
On balance despite the occasional horror, I wouldn't change a thing if I had my time again, well maybe a couple of things…..
Would love to hear from any old chums - email@example.com
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