Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Growing Up In The 90s

When I think of my childhood, I think of myself as that Mwinyi/Mkapa generation. That generation that we grew up singing rhymes like “Bye Mwalimu ,Bye Mwalimu” whenever we noticed a plane in the sky. It was the generation that saw the fun in everything. We did not have Facebook, but we always had a way of connecting with our friends.

We were skilled in playing the hoop-rolling game and driving those wire cars. We did not have to go to a supermarket to buy balls, all we needed were empty milk pints and rubber ropes. We were simply creative.
The 90s had less first grades, less first class degrees but there were more people getting jobs. Unemployment was unheard of. School was not about coming first, we all ran our own race; all we strived for was to get the knowledge. I learned to read and write Swahili in my nursery school somewhere in Kijenge. It was because of the dedication that my Baby class Teacher, a one teacher Harriet, gave her job.

Back at home, we had only one TV station but we got more knowledge from it. There are sweet memories of my late aunt tasking us to brief her on what Rainfred Masako had said in the news segment. The cane was never far away from the house. Anyone older than you could apply some strokes of it on you. We respected everyone. We knew our neighbours by name; there was that bond in the area. I can’t forget the Local council meetings every once in a fortnight, Mum would always take me along. We did not have I-pads but we took note of the issues concerning the communities.

We did not have so many fast food restaurants, but we always had the best food. Though we had fewer doctors, fewer people died from lifestyle diseases. Diabetes and cancers were rarities in the 90s. As a child, my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. It is not like today when Children order their parents around.

Talking of the police emergency response, the 90s had the best Police service. I remember back then as a Primary One student when I played a prank on the Police. I went to the phone booths (token-operated) at The Main Post Office and rang police pretending there was a robbery at the Post Office. In just minutes, the Police had arrived.

The 90s surpass the current days in all sorts of ways. Talk of the value that came with the shilling. A distant relative once visited and offered me Shs1,000, and for a whole week I struggled to “finish” this money. It was a happy childhood. Not even the video games, the escalators in supermarkets can all compare to this great era.

If I had one wish, where I could wave a magic wand and make the wish reality, I would wish to relive the nineties.

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