Shame as teacher almost chokes to death in bread-eating contest

News that a teacher had almost lost his life trying to win a phone spread all over and he has since been the talk of town.

With the economy in the loo, Kenyans now engage in all manner of financial acrobatics in a desperate attempt to earn an extra coin.

The just-ended long month of January, which is always characterised by cash flow issues, does not make matters any better.

Teachers, who are always on strike over pay, have not been left behind in engaging in side hustles to earn extra cash.

One such a tutor in Kipkelion District, Kericho County, survived death by a whisker after he choked on dry bread during an eating completion a fortnight ago.

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Tired of using his lowly, out-of-vogue Nokia 3310 and desperate to upgrade to a more serious phone, the teacher threw his hat in the ring to battle it out with other contestants for a smartphone during a marketing promotion in Kericho town.

The youthful tutor is said to have defied pleas from his seniors who begged him not to participate in the challenge, fearing it would taint the image of the noble teaching profession.

"Mwalimu, this thing (eating competition) is beneath you bwana. Leave such things to villagers. We'd rather do a small fundraiser for you if it's a smartphone you desperately need," one of his colleagues is quoted to have said.

Unfortunately, all this counsel was in vain. The defiant teacher, determined to own a smartphone, insisted on joining the contest, which was sponsored by an upcoming supermarket in the town.

"Guys, I need your support to win this thing. Not rebukes," the teachers is quoted as having told two of his colleagues, with whom he was with.

When the starting whistle was blown, dignity took a back seat as the distinguished civil servant slugged it out with villagers, amid wild cheers.

Hell, however, broke loose minutes after the teacher literally bit more than he could chew.

It didn't take long before he ran short of saliva and began to weirdly contort his face as he struggled to swallow a huge chunk of bread.

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It took the intervention of his embarrassed colleagues to save him. With his dignity gone to the dogs, they spread him out on the ground, forced copious amounts of water down his throat as tickled curious observers helped to fan him to boost his fresh air intake.

The competition took a small break but went on later after the organisers changed the rules of the game and included soda to help contestants wash down the bread.

News that a teacher had almost lost his life trying to win a phone spread all over and he has since been the talk of town, with some locals calling upon the Teachers Service Commission to improve the welfare of tutors.

"This should be a big embarrassment to his employers. Why should a teacher resort to such strange competitions in a bid to win a phone?" a local is reported to have asked, as he called on the Kenya National Union of Teachers to take on the matter and treat it with the seriousness it deserves.