Abdul and Parveen visit Chania High.
Abdul and Parveen Yusuf were courteously welcomed by Mr Kariuki, the headteacher, who was very thankful for the textbooks and dining room furniture the ex-students living in the UK had already provided.
They were shown around the school by one of the teachers.
They were a bit disappointed and saddened by the general state of the school, some classrooms with broken windows, damaged ceilings needing attention.
However, the headteacher was optimistic and showed them what they were planning to do in the future.
On their return they reported their observations and we agreed that we should try and do something – help where help was needed. A need for a Trust with a governing body to manage affairs was deemed necessary.
Chetana Bhatt-Shah (on her Kenyan trip) together with Vasanti Mehta and Kanti Shah (both also alumni from Class of 66 who live in Kenya) paid a visit to the school in November 2013.
They met the headteacher Mr Peter Kariuki who they found very welcoming. Chetana had fruitful discussions with Mr Kariuki about the school’s needs and he said they would be grateful for any help the ex-students could offer.
Mr Kariuki explained that the year after we left, in 1967, the school which was until then known as M P Shah Central High School, was renamed Chania High School. It continued to have both girls and boys who could board at the school or commute to school every day. It was the only school in Thika to serve a wide range of students from a diverse cultural, racial, ethnic and religious background. In 1996, the school split into two: Chania Boys’ High School (on Workshop Road) and Chania Girls’ High School (on Haile Selassi Road) to serve boys and girls respectively.
Chandrakant arranged this lovely get together. There were lots of handshakes and hugs, old faces in new clothing.
Some of us had not seen each other since we since we said goodbye to our school in Thika. In amongst the joy and laughter, we had lovely food.
For this occasion, Rasik had been asked to write a poem to commemorate our time together at the high school from 1963 to 1966. And the appreciation was regal as he read out the poem. People were appreciative of long-lost memories it brought back.
This reunion had attracted almost 50 ex-students and their partners. Talk was that we should meet more often and perhaps start a charity to raise funds to support our old school.
A group of ex-students who had kept in touch with each other over the years decided to meet. Bachittar extended an invitation to all he knew and a meeting was arranged at his house. Here ideas were exchanged. Future reunions planned. Chandrakant volunteered to arrange a reunion in 2013 and also to start a fund. He also began the process of gathering names and Email addresses from the people who were there and the ball started to roll.