Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The sadistic Father Hannan

 Nightmares at St Teresa’s Boys High School


Some of my former classmates (61) have been reminiscing after Bill de Silva shared a few photos of the St Teresa’s Boys’ School and the St Teresa’s Church in Eastleigh. Bill went back there after 61 years spent in many parts of the world.


For some of the boys, St Teresa’s was hell, for others it was some kind of heaven, and for others yet it was OK, sort of. However, most people considered it second class to the “Goan school” aka Dr Ribeiro’s Goan School.


Personally, I always thought that the headmaster and parish priest Father Patrick Hannan was a bit of an enigma: most parents loved the guy, quite a few of my friends thought he was a sadist (I learnt that word many years after I left school at the age 12) and yet others treated him as a saint.


Worst of all there are boys who were sexually abused by Hannon. Many have taken this awful secret to their grave. Others have had to face it every day of their lives and continue to do so. The Catholic Church has remained silent.


I did not have any problems with the teachers.


For more than one of my classmates, Hannon and school were hell on earth: Here is one of the stories:  Once again we are reminded of our past. We all went through some good times as well as bad. I felt more sadness looking at the state of our former classroom than any of the bad experiences I had in that school.


Over the years as I reflected on my time in St Teresa’s Boys High School, I realised that our school was run more like a Nazi prisoner of war camp, than a school; and to some of us by an evil Commandant.


As I think back, I realise that every day we experienced intimidation and fear. I know I couldn’t accept that and I resisted constantly paying the price almost daily. I remember being called to the office one day and being caned. When I asked what that was for, I got a lecture about Protestantism. I was then asked to denounce someone I chose to call a friend. When I refused, I got another six canes.


Many years later I thought I was also friendly with a Muslim (Khoja) guy (though I didn’t know at the time). Why wasn’t I asked to denounce him. But I guess he hated Protestants much more than Muslims.


Another method used was to separate the students into different groups. Some were favoured (different degrees) and used them to tell (we called it sneaking) on others. A lot were spared the rod. Some were never caned. I know I was reported many times and was punished for either a real or perceived wrongdoing. I want all who may have told on me, to know I never blamed anyone for anything they were forced or intimidated into doing, I know what the alternative would have been.


I have to admit, I was no saint (rubbish Skip’s words). I did everything that was wrong. I rebelled, resisted, questioned the teachers, and even fought with the “Commandant” in his office. I ran away from school constantly. I smoked from an early age, and smoked in school, sometimes even in the classroom, but mostly in the restroom and John’s (d’Souza’s) shop across the road from the school, where we could buy one cigarette at a time (I’m sorry I never got to meet him to thank him for what he did for us, smokers).

I have to say that we survived everything that we endured and used whatever talents we were born with, or like some of us by our wits. Yes, we can say we survived and got to where we are today in spite of it and not because of it.


I want to say that I am sorry to know that so many of us lost our faith, and I don’t blame them, but I am also glad to know a lot of guys that kept their faith in spite of the men and women of the church that failed them. I always believed that the church and the people that represented it were there to tell us about the teachings of Christ, and in turn, make us better people. As I told Bill once, I was always able to separate the man from the priesthood and the church. I could put the blame where it belonged, squarely on his head. I have also accepted that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs, so I accept and respect everyone and I expect the same from them.


In closing, I just want to say that I’m sorry we didn’t have our first reunion in Nairobi like a lot of us wanted, but we went with the majority vote. Now I can’t see it ever happening.


Vince G.


Saturday, April 23, 2022

President Mwai Kibaki dead age 90


The late Wilfred Maciel (brother Bwana Karani Mervyn) with the then Finance Minister Mwai Kibaki

By John Ikani (Heritage Times)


Former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, who served as the country’s third President has died at the age of 90.

His death was announced Friday by his successor, incumbent Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who described him as inspirational.

“It is a sad day for us as a country. We have lost a great leader,” Kenyatta said in an address on state television.

“President Kibaki will forever be remembered as a gentleman in Kenya’s politics. A brilliant debater whose eloquence, wit and charm won the day time and time again.”

He ordered a period of national mourning until sunset on the day Kibaki is to be buried, with all flags to be flown at half-mast.

Kibaki served as President from 2002 to 2013, winning elections against Kenyatta and ending four decades of one-party rule.

As a leader, Kibaki, one of the country’s richest men, ushered in economic reforms and a new constitution but failed to deliver on promises to combat corruption. His tenure was marred by the disputed 2007 polls that led to deadly violence.

His disputed re-election in 2007 against Raila Odinga, who accused him of rigging the outcome, led to street clashes and the deaths of more than 1,100 people.

But Kibaki was also hailed in 2010 for shaping a new constitution for Kenya and improving social services.

Kenyatta also praised the late President for transforming the country.

“The late former president’s administration conceptualized and spearheaded a transformation in crucial sectors such as education through the globally lauded free primary education program, infrastructure developments in transport and energy and the increasing the availability and the access to health care for his fellow Kenyans,” Kenyatta said.

At the end of two terms, Kibaki handed power to Kenyatta, who was elected in 2013 and retired from politics.

Cyprian Fernandes: I knew Mwai Kibaki as a Parliamentary Secretary in the first Kenya Cabinet and a little later as the country’s Finance Minister. He was one of my favourite mentors and we spent a lot of time debating various aspects of the annual budgets he had fashioned for the country. In a way, he schooled me in his economic methodology. I was fortunate enough to meet so many very special Kenyans from 1960 but Mwai Kibaki will always remain a very special memory. Rest in Peace, Lala salama.

BBC: Many Kenyans are expressing a real sense of loss and regard Mr Kibaki as the best president Kenya has had since independence.

He was a sharp economist who set the country on a path of economic growth. He held a number of senior positions in treasury and government in his political career that spanned decades.

Politically, however, he was regarded as a non-confrontational fence-sitter and opportunist. He opposed the introduction of multiparty democracy but jumped ship after the constitution was amended. He then embraced it, formed his own political party and, 10 years later, went on to win the election as head of an opposition coalition.

Both traits would be seen during his tenure as president. Kenya recorded one of its highest rates of GDP growth during his first term, before the violence of the 2007 election severely dented his legacy.

As well as his economic record, one of his biggest achievements was introducing free primary education to Kenya.

Under his watch, Kenya also gained a new constitution, after it was overwhelmingly approved in a national referendum in 2010. It was billed by some at the time as the most important political event in Kenya's history since it gained independence from Britain in 1963.

It introduced a more decentralised political system and limited presidential powers.

His biggest failure was the fight against corruption. He'd promised to fight it, but his government was rocked by major corruption scandals.

But the 2007-2008 election violence after a disputed vote was the worst in the country's history and the lowest point of his presidency. Not only were more than 1,200 lives lost, but more than half a million people were forced from their homes.

During the violence there were hundreds of rapes and more than 100,000 properties were destroyed, according to the International Criminal Court (ICC). It charged leading politicians with orchestrating the violence but neither Mr Kibaki nor opposition leader Raila Odinga was among them.

The electoral commission, under tight police security, declared Mr Kibaki the winner of the vote, although Mr Odinga alleged widespread fraud. President Kibaki was sworn in hurriedly for the second term as the country descended into violence.

An investigation led by former South African judge Johann Krieglar determined that both sides had participated in electoral malpractices in different regions which made it impossible to determine who had won that election.

The violence was eventually ended in a power-sharing deal brokered by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, which saw Mr Odinga become prime minister.



Monday, April 11, 2022

The Majesty of the Vatican


Perhaps one of the most famous sculptures in the world, the Pieta by Michelangelo in a chapel in St Peter's Rome. Mary with the body of her son after his crucifixion.



Click above for a guided tour of the Vatican


  This invaluable collection of photos was sent to me by David Mungai. He says it is “for the acknowledgement of Kenyan History, the celebra...