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   Roger Bentote


Roger Bentote

Year: 1969-1974

Taught maths and took over the department from Nancy Roach.

Also Assistant Housemaster in Clive and Fletcher and acted as Housemaster when others were on leave.

I have many happy memories of Nairobi School, starting with our arrival at the airport where we were met by Bill McCormick. Having been given lunch in his house near the gates we then drove up the drive through the magnificent jacarandas to our new home, the flat under Clive House.

We arrived a few days before term started so the school was very quiet and many staff were still on holiday. However we were soon made to feel very welcome and invited out to eat at many houses in the compound.

During the first few weeks we acquired a Toyota Corolla and a puppy which we called Sammy. Pauline, my wife, also got a job teaching at the school. Our first holiday was the October half term so we hired a tent, stocked the car and set off for the coast. Unfortunately we never got there.

Really we were very lucky because in avoiding a large oil tanker and a milestone Pauline rolled the car over at about 70 mph. She escaped through the broken windscreen but I was trapped by my hand in the door. Sammy also ran off. I was left covered in broken eggs! With only two towns of any size betwen Nairobi and Mombasa we were lucky to be just outside of Voi and a local farmer and his workers were travelling just behind us.

I was released from the car and taken to the local hospital. Sammy was found by someone and we were all reunited at the hotel in Voi. I suffered a broken finger and excruciating pain from a badly given pain killing injection!

We could not afford to stay at the hotel for more than the first night but they very kindly allowed us to camp in the grounds and use the swimming pool. Further luck was the fact that the doctor and his wife were being visited for the week by John and Anne Angood, teachers from Nairobi School! Our car was a write off but we were able to get a lift all the way home.

Sammy became infamous around the school. He was a cross between a Staffordshire Terrier and an Alsatian. His favourite tricks were to leap at a branch on a tree and hang there and carry a football post, crossbar or any tree around on his walks. He often got out of our house and garden and came to visit my classroom. Most pupils were very scared of him.

For our second tour of duty we moved to a lovely house opposite Nicholson.

I ran several sports teams but will be remembered mainly for football. The first team were very successful whilst I was there and we always beat Lenana.

It was a very social minded staff and many were the parties. When teachers went on leave they returned with the current music from UK and I well remember that Bill Priestley introduced all to Gary Glitter!

Lots of sports matches too and cross country runs. I see that John Velzian is still active in Kenya athletics. He was instrumental in establishing a quality running track with water jump and getting many top name athletes to visit the school.

From Kenya we went to Derby where our two children were born and then it was off to Malaysia for another teaching job. In 1979 we settled in Hampshire and now I have virtually retired from teaching. Pauline and I separated in 2004.

In 2003 I returned to East Africa with a group of friends and my son to climb Kilimanjaro. It felt really good to be back in Africa, it felt like home. After a successful climb we also safaried in Ngorogoro where for the first time I saw a leopard in the wild. I also fitted in a quick walk around Nairobi School. Whilst substantially looking the same I was saddened to see broken windows and rather barren looking classrooms and labs. Also the swimming pool not in a usable state. Yes the huts are still there.

I live in Hampshire, England.

(Registered - 29th October 2006)

If anyone wishes to contact Roger, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details