You briskly walk to Parklands Baptist Church on a Saturday morning, it’s chilly but you psych yourself up that it will be a great day after all, to have another riveting, insightful and enjoyable session with the ever enthusiastic PACE coordinators who you often find at the entrance, with a smile and delighted to usher you in and dutifully direct you to the room where the training would take place.
After a minute of tracing your name on that check in sheet of paper that sometimes lacks some people’s names, you now find a suitable spot where you will be for the rest of the day, I mean until you hear Doris announce the final remaks she has before calling out for the team leaders to pick the contents of the brown envelopes that hitherto lie on that table at the back of the room.
Because you are a geek, and you willingly left your glasses at home because it doesn’t seem to match with your awkward outfit, you sit at the front row. To absorb every information firsthand. To recognize what cologne Jacob is wearing so that you check it out in the stores. To be picked by Madam Peggy for the various activities that call for volunteers.
About half an hour later, you get a break and possibly an icebreaker is anticipating your return for the next session, which according to your schedule, it’ll be taken through by Mrs. Ochola.
After the exciting energizer, which always leaves people with radiant smiles on their faces, you now lend her your ears. She casually begins by asking us how our previous week had been, what level we’ve reached in regards to our various projects and to just turn to the people next to us and utter a word, phrase or sentence that will form the basis of the discussion for that day. She neatly writes the heading of what she’ll talk about, on the white sheets of paper that I’d hang on the blackboard earlier on.
Madam Peggy is articulate, it’s a fact though, she always seems to punctuate every sentence with the word ‘lovely ‘ after you’ve provided a response to any of the questions that she randomly asks in her speech. She displays slides and expects us to make short notes as she continues. Her choice of words always amazes me because as a propeller head, I always get to learn how a word, that I’d recently read in a book, is used in spoken language. She picks a variety of words that are frequently used in the SAT reading tests, which to many people sound like she has turned the training into a rocket science lecture.
After she has wrapped up her talk, she kindly asks Doris, Gathua, Fiona and Charity whether they have anything to add before she adjourns the meeting. Meanwhile, Fiona passes over feedback sheets which I dutifully fill, while I think of the way I’ll structure my sentences in order to make sense, I steal a glance and notice that Fiona Nyaanga has already finished hers and she hands it back while Noah Kyalo whose beside me, struggles to also finish his too. I quickly give a rating of five out of five and scribble the reason for that rating and walk out of that room to go and have my burger at the outdoor cafeteria within PBC.
As I walk towards the queue, on my left, are a bunch of girls taking selfies, I find no reason to bomb that photo because maybe that’s a snapchat story, an instagram post, who knows?
On the benches I notice Regina Gachomba, adjusting her glasses and possibly asking Noah about the latest SAT books in stock. She’s terribly nervous about getting those books so that she can prepare properly!
Laurence Bugasu’s nose is buried under his white smartphone and doesn’t seem to bother about anything, let alone anyone.
Clem borrows my phone and it is obvious that she sees these ‘awkward’ apps that I have. I have Ted Talks, Khan Academy, WordPress and even a dictionary. To her, it is absurd. I do not have Snapchat, the last time I logged in to Instagram, was a month ago, my Facebook has not been updated, the music on my phone is not worth playing in public, because honestly, who can dance to Kari Jobe’s song? I honestly can’t!
I scroll across the books that I have on my e-book reader app, oh I forgot to mention this app, I also have it! As I dig my jaws on that small burger (why didn’t Charity give me two pieces?) and once I’m done, I bid everyone, No, Tracy is the one who makes sure that she has said bye to everyone.
I leave PBC wondering if I’ll still be a dork for the rest of my life.
(All the characters are real people who I once worked with at PACE)