Parents borrowing more and more to send their children to school

Parents risk debt to fund school fees

Pascal Mwandambo

By Pascal Mwandambo

The other day I was loitering around Mavumbi town, with little to do, just waiting for something to unfold so that I could get something to write home about.

I crossed a corner popularly referred to as Kijiweni where all the forlorn souls in the town relax to wish away their sorrows and tribulations.

Adjacent to Kijiweni is the infamous Jaba Base. For those not familiar with local street lingo “jaba” is a type of miraa consumed by chewing the leaves like goats.

I am told after one takes a sizable quantity of jaba, their sorrows begin to melt away and they begin building castles in the air.

Just then I had a familiar voice calling out my name.

It was Marashi. Now don’t confuse my colleague with the same name who is a lady.

The Marashi I am talking about was my neighbour in the plot I used to live before shifting to Makaveli’s house.

He earned the name from his earlier business where he used to sell spices with the banner “Marashi ya chakula”.

He looked somewhat high on jaba, a feeling that those familiar with miraa refer to as “handas”.

He gesticulated to me to sit on a rickety bench planted in the ground.

He kept spitting and swallowing, his eyes staring at everything and nothing in particular.

“I need your advice” he exhorted me, drinking water from a bottle.

“I took a business loan from my Sacco and paid fees for my son. I am now between a rock and a hard place”.

He looked at me in the eyes like one who expected me to have an instant solution to his problem before I even knew it.

“Paying fees is an obligation for every parent so I don’t see why you are lamenting about it” I said.

I asked him if the student was performing well in their continuing exams.

“Gololi is doing well, in fact he may score top grades in his final examinations” he said as he stuffed more jaba into his mouth where a green sludge was gradually forming at the corners.

“Then I see no reason for you getting stressed. That’s good value for money”.

“You do not understand. It’s not that the young is performing poorly in school. The problem is that I have defaulted on three installments and if I don’t act fast, matters could become elephant”.

Sometimes people put you into an awkward position when they solicit for advice on matters and situations which are quite unfamiliar to you.

I asked him if he had any property that he could sell and pay part of the sacco loan before the same was forcefully attached.

He craned his eyes to the sky like one counting stars that did not exist, scratched his head and shook his head.

“I don’t have any property that can fetch me good returns. The only thing I have is a title deed”

I asked him if the sacco would accept the title in the place of the defaulted installments.

“My plan is to use the title as security for a bank loan which I will use to settle part of the defaulted sacco loan installments and also pay the remaining fees for Gololi who is in his final year in secondary school”

It can be a bit tricky arguing with a distressed person under the influence of jaba.

Deep inside I felt that he had made an unwise decision to use a business loan to pay fees.

However, sometimes you need to walk in someone’s shoes to know which part hurts most.

I advised him to take the bank loan and start a business that could give quick returns and leave the rest to God.

He spat the green cud, rinsed his mouth and gave out a semblance of a smile when I mentioned God.

Sharing is caring!

Not Allowed