Chris Austin

Name ID 2552

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Extract Author: Chris Austin
Page Number: 2009 03 19
Extract Date: 1956 to 1958

Chris Austin ~ Arusha School ~ 1956 to 1958

I went to Arusha (North House) from 1956 to 1958 and after that I went to St Michaels and St Georges in Iringa (Junior then Oram Houses) for the full length of the school's existence (Jan 59 to Dec 63), just like Eric Six whom I remember well.

I loved Arusha and hated Iringa. Arusha let us run wild, ride horses and, despite all the reviews, gave me a good primary education.

The horse riding was spectacular. There were a number of horses, one was a palomino carthorse who was incredibly uncomfortable to trot, but when she got into a gallop was just too beautiful, silky smooth and so powerful. Another was an ex race horse who went like the wind but was a bit flighty. And so much raw wild African bush to go haring about in! Who knows what today's health-and-safety culture would have made of it, but we made fun.

Down by the river was the training ring, but more importantly were loads of exotic fruit trees that were so strange to this little English boy, such as guavas and custard apples. And, of course, the huge avocados up by the playing fields.

My goodness, is that tortoise STILL there? We used to make it move by rubbing the back of its shell, and it had a big shiny patch then, and I always expected that it would wear through.

I remember two things vividly. One was a very small boy who couldn't have been much more that six who was completely unable to speak English, having been raised by his ayah to speak Swahili. The other was standing near the covered pathway that runs from the main building to the new girls dormitory ('thank you', Google Earth), promising myself that I would never speak the filthy language that the other boys spoke. It didn't last long, and soon I was master of two versions of the English language, one for school and the other for home!

I don't recall getting the tackie, but I was no angel, so probably was on the receiving end several times. Perhaps it paled into insignificance compared to Iringa where six cuts with the cane was literally that, on a bare bottom!

Nobody has yet mentioned BL's daughter Lynn, who was the prettiest girl I had ever seen (aged 10 at the time). I remember one boy (name remembered well) punching her on the nose and making it bleed!

BL was a great guy. I guess he has probably passed on, because I remember him telling us in one RI lesson that his ambition was to live to see the 2000th anniversary of Jesus' birth. I hope he made it. Anyone remember the History teachers name (it might even have been HA)? Taught us all about East African history, and that has been far more useful than all that stuff about the Stuarts and the Tudors!

If anyone wants to contact me they can do it via the link alternatively, David Marsh has my permission to pass on my true email to anyone who requests it. It would be great to hear from anyone of the period.

Extract ID: 5983
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