Monday, May 18, 2009
Boarding School in Nigeria???
"I need a junior girl!"
"Last man in the house!"
"Who wants to fetch my water?"
"Who has extra soap?"
"Who wants to make a deal with their food?"
Lol!!! Nigerian boarding schools--those were the days!!!
Do you totally remember your first day in a Nigerian boarding school? How unfamiliar, strange, and intimidating everything seemed? Do you remember staring at the other new students that arrived at the same time as you? How you checked each other out and wondered, "Hmm, what primary school did he/she come from?" "What score did he/she get in the Common Entrance and Interview examinations?" Lol! Yeah, I know, no one writes Common Entrance examinations anymore to gain admission into Nigerian Secondary Schools. But fifteen years ago, things were totally different, or so I'm told.
What about the prefects and senior students? Do you remember how huge they looked? One could totally call them 'mothers'. Boy, were they big and scary!
The prefects and their pompous appearance, always strutting about with looks of importance on their faces. Calling out to everyone within reach,
"You, there! Where are you going? Start running to the assembly hall!"
Lol! How easy it was for the prefects to take-down one's name for punishment. How important they felt meting out grass-cutting portions for manual labor. How totally godlike they seemed rationing out hot tea, bread, and boiled eggs for breakfast. For them, the life in boarding house began and ended within their reach. No one remains in the dormitory during classes or prep unless they say so. No one takes a bath during siesta without due permission. No one takes their plate of food outta the dinning hall without a prefect sanctioning it. And woe betide you to hang around in the dorms after the dorm prefect bellows: "Leave the dormitory!"
When you hear, "It's lights out!" You know to fly up your bunk immediately and go straight to sleep! No arguments!
As for the senior students, their sense of self-importance, especially where junior students are concerned, can not be paralleled. It was through them the new students learned there was something like, "Kneel down and fly your hands!" Or, "Decrease your height and hide your eyeballs!" What about, "Go and take your position"? Lol! Those senior students were definitely the height of boarding life--every junior student's nightmare!
If you've ever boycotted manual labor by hiding in the bush, or dove into an over-grown shrub to escape the calls of tardy senior students just returning from home, or pretended to be sick so as not to have to go fetch something for a senior girl during prep hours; then you totally get where I'm coming from.
You remember pretending to be deaf when a senior student is yelling for you from ten feet away? You remember zapping from the dinning hall when it's time to re-arrange the tables and benches for a school function? You remember washing tureens as punishment for failing to take your wet towel with you when leaving the dorm in the morning? You remember being konked on the head for turning in your table tureens late? You remember being locked out of dinning and made to miss a meal for arriving two seconds late to the dinning hall? If you remember all these, then you totally attended a Nigerian boarding school as a JS1 student.
So given all the above, some may wonder why we ever bother to go back for second term and many more terms.
Seriously, "Why do we go back for more?" What is it about boarding school that keeps us enduring and hoping that one day, things would be different and we would be the ones totally sleeping on the bottom bed of a two-bed bunk?
Is it the tuck-shop goodies, the school club activities, the interesting and funny class periods, the pranks played on teachers, the cursing of wicked senior girls, the running-off to fetch water when no one else is by the tank, the zapping from Principal's assembly, the audacity to disappear and escape mass punishments, the hiding in the bush and boycotting manual labor, or what? What did it for you?
What made you look forward to returning to school each new term?
Yeah, we all had tons of fun and made lots of memories while in boarding school. But, if you could do it all over again, would you???
Watch-out for FEDDIE GIRL the international adventure/thriller set in a Nigerian Federal School. Read excerpts at Bernard Books Publishing. Reserve a copy HERE