The Director of Missions for the Anglican Church Of Kenya, the Revd John Mark Oduor, offers an interesting tale of new beginnings.
Billy was the school cleaner. He had seen it all. His age made him wise but that may be only in the eyes of the children who would ask him how not to be caught by the teachers and he would always tell them to be honest and straight forward and tell the truth. That earned him the name Honest Billy. He has been in the school for 20 years.
The teachers and students sometimes call him “WA” for Walking Archives. But the names depended on who was looking for him. The current principal was just a student just when Billy arrived and he went to university and taught in a few schools before he was sent back to raise the standards of his former school.
Billy remembers him as a small quiet but inquisitive boy. That curiosity hasn’t gone away; but now he asks questions with confidence and authority. Billy has cleaned the corridors and classrooms of this school with pride and joy. He smiles every time students pass by when he tells them to be careful because the floor is wet.
His joy is always when he goes to the staff room and finally the principal’s office.
When he arranges the trophies and shields that this school has won over the years, he gets very emotional when he picks the national trophy for best performing dance. Today he got too emotional and started crying. He could not move much so he sat down on the principal’s chair. He knew that nobody would see him.
Everybody comes from 7.00 am but he was here at 5.30 am to clean and prepare the school for everyone. It was just 6.35. He needed to finish. As he tried to stand the door opened and the principal walked in. He was scared that he was going to lose his job again. But the principal said to him: “just sit, you look tired”. He said he wasn’t tired but then he saw the tears in Billy’s eyes and inquired why he was crying.
Then he saw the trophy on the table. Billy told him his story which has been a 40 year secret. He had been the principal of this very school the year they won that trophy. On their way back from national competitions the driver fell sick so he took over the driving. But he had never driven a bus full of students. A young girl walked over and asked if she could go for a short call in the next stop. As he turned to see who it was talking to him, he didn’t see the cyclist overtaking him and the bright lights from the oncoming vehicle. The best he remembers was being in hospital and receiving a letter dismissing him for gross misconduct.
He was told later that one girl died in the accident. He knew that he could never get a job as a teacher again. Today he feared that the corridors and students who have been his family for a long time would end. The principal looked at him and smiled with tears in his ears as he said: “that little girl was my dad’s sister and my dad saw you and wondered why you changed your name. He still asks if Harry who saved his life and 30 other students is still alive and working in the School. I must keep the answer ‘Yes’”.
Moses like Billy or Harry came back to do what he was created to do: to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He saw the palace with memories but it’s in the streets where the calling is real. Maybe God is giving us a second chance.