Tag Archives: boarding house

Life Necessities

When I think of some of the things we did or experienced in the boarding house, I sometimes wonder how we survived without disease outbreaks.

I remember the periods we had no water; the rain just like yesterday’s heavy rain was welcomed with a grateful heart.

We opened the gutter slabs in the hostel and allowed the first stream of rain water to wash away any debris from the gutters. Once the stream of water was clear and we could see the bottom of the gutter clearly, we would begin to scoop the clear water with a bowl or cup into our buckets.

This water served for bath time and for garri 😀

During these water scarcity periods, we sometimes had to walk miles to fetch water from a village stream which was actually a pond because it never flowed. It was stagnant water in a large mass. The villagers washed their clothing on the brink of the pond and scooped water out of the large mass to rinse the clothes. So there was a possibility that soapy water from the brink splashed into the larger body of water.

We fetched our water from the large mass of water. Did we care whether there were soap splashes in it? The road to the stream/pond was so steep that coming back, we had to be careful not to trip with the buckets on our heads. We would cut banana leaves and place it on the water in our buckets. The idea was that the leaves stopped the water from pouring backwards as we came down the steep road. Thinking about it now, I don’t know who came up with that logic but it definitely worked for us.

The first bucket of water was for the kitchen where we would write our names down. This signified that we had earned our dinner. We would then go back and fetch another which would be for personal use. I remember there were a few seniors who were particularly wicked and sent juniors to get them a bucket of water from the stream/pond. Such juniors ended up going three or four times on a journey which was full of torture.

The water we fetched always had tadpoles swimming in them but that did not stop us from using it to drink garri. Once your bucket of water is settled in the hostel, we scoop out all the tadpoles and leave the water to settle. We would then blow the top of the water with “mouth breeze” and viola, it becomes purified 🤦‍♀️ ; what were we thinking. Students that had alum were considered kings. They broke the alum into their buckets to purify the water.

It is difficult to understand how we never had typhoid or cholera outbreaks. We however lost a student to typhoid in my final year. It shook us and it made us realize that we were all exposed to death.

Water is definitely an important necessity of  life.

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Photo credit: https://www.aces.edu

Fufu war

The closing prayer was said. The Amen was followed by students ducking under the table. Wrapped mounds of fufu began to fly in all directions. The culprits would raise their heads, fire a mound of fufu like an arrow and duck immediately. Anyone standing or not crouched under the table received a striking stab of fufu. The fufus were usually cold and hard and the strikes from one was indeed painful. Other students who refused to be part of the chaos ran out of the dining hall crouching.

The dining hall was built like a huge warehouse with awning windows and louvers situated at about 20 feet high. In the ensuing chaos, a junior student who had just joined the school some months before ran out of the dining hall with his plate in his hands. A mound of fufu struck the louvers above him and glass pieces came crashing down. The broken louver struck the boy on his calf and blood gushed out like an open tap.

The screams and cries of the hurt boy and other students who were escaping the dining chaos broke the fufu war immediately. Students rushed to carry the boy back into the dining while some went into first-aid mode immediately. A white T-shirt was torn and the boy’s leg was bound to stop the bleeding before he was rushed to the hospital by the principal.

 

The boy’s mother was contacted. She hurriedly went to see her injured son at the hospital and came to the school in anger. As she saw one of the housemaster’s, she rushed towards him and grabbed him by his shirt’s collar.

“Do you know how many months I carried this boy in my womb? Ë fé p’ömö fún mi?” (You want to kill my child). She screamed at the housemaster who was struggling to free himself from the woman’s hold.

“I carried him for thirty months. Do you know what I went through?” She continued in her rant.

The woman was held back by other housemasters who intervened and calmed her down. Two things however happened after; the fufu war came to an end and the junior student received a nickname “Omópénú”.

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Forest living

I attended a secondary school that was surrounded by thick forests on three sides with no fences. The fourth side which was the school gate had farmlands opposite the school . The school was a natural habitat for rats, snakes (mambas and pythons), scorpions, beetles, crickets, millipedes, centipedes, soldier ants and termites.

I remember the day I was almost bitten by a scorpion. I was walking towards the back of the hostel after dinner with my friends to go shot-put. It was dark and I was carrying a lantern with me. As we were gisting and heading towards our mission, for some strange reason, I decided to take a step back. I turned the lantern towards the ground and right in front of me, where I was just about to place my feet was a scorpion with its sting facing up. I was terrified.

A black snake also fell on my shoulder in another incident. I even remember a student doing his morning duty of sweeping the administrative block when he felt a huge stone fall on his head. He assumed a friend was playing pranks and looked up but saw no one. Another look at the ground revealed that a snake had been the culprit.

A room mate packed her clothes which she had dried on the grass outside the hostel and carried a snake with the clothes. If I ever had any intention of drying my clothes on the grass; which I never did because of beetles and crickets, the incident that evening in my room ended such thought.

A senior boy once killed a large python and carried it on his shoulders like it was an award. A green snake which I assumed was a mamba slithered out of the field right in front of my friends and I when we were going for an afternoon prep.

Rats had a party running around in my hostel and also eating students feet. This happened mostly to students who went to bed with dirty feet. Students took joy in killing them but they gave the rodents a slow and tortuous death. The rats were caught and their tails were burnt in a lantern. Next, students put their whiskers into the lantern. It was funny hearing the cries of a rat. Trust me, their cries warned all other rats to stay away and for the next few weeks, we saw no rats in the hostel.

At night, after lights out, we often heard the cries of foxes in the forest. Their barks and cries were so loud on some days that we almost felt like they were right behind our room.

Different students had encounters with soldier ants and termites as they walked into their long armies. I learnt early to always look on the ground while walking to avoid becoming a victim.

A classmate had a weird liking for millipedes and she picked them up every time she saw one and caressed them like a baby……ewwww.

I look back today and I still wonder; how did we survive living in the midst of all these?

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Photo Credit: http://www.canstock.com

Trees and their friends

The senior girl received the exeat from the school secretary. She had been given permission to take a sick junior girl home. She put the exeat in her uniform pocket as two of her classmates offered to see her off to the school gate. Two junior girls held the sick girl’s hands and walked ahead of the senior girl and her friends.

The senior girl stopped to have a chat with another set of friends and she informed them that she was taking a sick junior home. The junior girls and the sick girl had gotten to the gate but they had to wait for the senior girl who had the exeat so it could be presented to the gate man.

They decided to sit down under the palm tree that towered over the school gate while they chatted. The sick girl rested her head on the shoulders of one of the girls. A stalk from the palm tree fell on the shoulder of the second girl and she swiped it off with her hand. As the stalk fell to the floor, it circled round her feet. That is strange; she thought. She looked down at her feet to kick the stalk away and saw a thin long black snake at her feet. She screamed. The two girls and the sick girl jumped on their feet and ran.

The gate man ran towards them on hearing their screams. The girls pointed towards the location where they sat but the snake had slithered into a tiny hole in the ground. The experience remained indelible in the mind of the girl who had had the encounter with the snake and she made a mental note never to sit under palm trees.

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The Victim

Hey,

I’m sorry I could not start the new series on Monday. We had some technical glitches.

But not to worry; here’s bringing you a true story for this week.

Do enjoy!

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She was young and beautiful. She was the darling of everyone around. When she joined the boarding school with her elder sister, she was a boisterous soul.

But everything changed all of a sudden. She became a recluse. Depression set in and she became a shadow of herself.  Night time became a nightmare for her. She mentioned that some forces were oppressing her in the dead of the night but no one believed her. It wasn’t that they did not want to believe her. They were also scared and would rather she did not talk about it.

One night she was praying aloud. Most of the students in the dormitory could hear her because it was not yet lights out. She finished her prayer and expected others to join her in saying “Amen.” But most students were quiet. Her prayers were strange. She prayed not to experience another oppression that night. When she mentioned that if they did not say an “Amen”, they may be subjected to oppression, the whole dormitory immediately chorused an “Amen.”

The lights went out at 10.00pm and the whole hostel went to bed. A student in the same room as the oppressed girl stood up groggily in the dead of the night to use the restroom. She had no idea what time it was. She just wanted to use the restroom and go back to sleep. She sauntered back to her bed and was about dozing off when she heard the door to the dormitory open with force; almost like a wind had blown it open. She felt the hairs on her neck rise. She became scared and lay still in bed unable to look at the direction of the opened door.

Then it happened. She saw the oppressor hopping in on one leg with different little children also hopping behind her. She was an old woman. The student froze and could feel her heart in her mouth. She began to chant prayers in her mind; her lips unmoving so as not to attract attention to herself. The woman dispersed the children to different corners of the room with her hand.

The oppressed girl had not been lying. She was truly a victim of dark forces. The oppressed girl started crying but the student who had witnessed everything was too scared to say a word. The oppression was soon over but this time, there had been a witness.

The student related the experience to the oppressed girl’s elder sister the next morning and that ended their stay in the school.

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Greed, Exorcism and Boarding schools

The rain beat harder. It looked like it was never going to stop.

The girls moved around groggily carrying their buckets filled with water. The wake up bell had rung persistently some minutes ago. The hostel proprietress acknowledged that it took more than a single ring to get the girls up. As they lined up their buckets in front of the bathroom waiting their turns, some decided to brush their teeth while those who felt their turn was a distance from the bathroom; went back to bed.

In the midst of all these, a girl lay in bed, oblivious to the sound of banging buckets and shuffling feet. A roommate came in and tapped her. “Wake up”. The girl ignored her and continued sleeping. Her roommate tapped her again but the girl still refused to get up. Her roommate decided to leave her alone. It is her business if she gets to school late and is flogged.

 Boarding house

Weeks later, the truth about that fateful morning will be revealed. The sleeping girl had been playing with her friends under the banana tree just behind their room. The rain had prevented her from coming back into her body. So her soul stayed put.

She had previously offered her roommates homemade food prepared by her step mother during the visiting day. Her step mother had urged her to do so; she needed to initiate more people. The greedy among her friends had gladly eaten. Their parents had also brought food for them from home, as the norm was during visiting days. But greed was a cloak they wore.

A roommate who slept next to her bed had always noticed she placed her feet on the wall when she slept but had never attached any importance to it. She never imagined it was her way of connecting with the other world. She confessed that to the consternation of her roommate.

The whole issue would have remained unknown but for two girls who attended a congregation which believed in seeing visions and identifying supernatural forces. It was a weekend and they had strangely started a prayer session. They were so emphatic about the girl belonging to the other world and had started a process of exorcism practiced in their congregation.

The process had been scary and the evening left an indelible mark on the minds of the girls. The bright weekend ended in gloom. They were all aged between nine and twelve.

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In the land of the living

Her fork dropped to the floor. She continued chatting with her friends as she bent down to pick it up from under the table. She was smiling at what one of them had said and was about to respond. Suddenly, her smile turned into shock. There were hooves on the other side of the table. Her friends sat across from her. How come they had hooves instead of human legs?

She slowly raised her head from the table and everywhere turned dark. It was daylight just before her fork dropped to the floor. What happened to her friends who were having breakfast with her just now in the dining hall? She heard wicked laughter. She screamed and ran out of the hall as fast as her legs could carry her.

In the land of the living

She did not stop until she got back to her room in the girls hostel. Even the gates of the hostel had been open. It was usually locked at night by the house mistress. All the friends she saw some minutes ago in the dining hall lay on their beds sleeping quietly oblivious to her predicament. She burst into tears and awoke a few. One by one, they woke the others.

She had been sleeping on her bed. Her friends had woken her up informing her that the wake-up bell had rung. She had not heard it. She had hurriedly taken her bath, done her morning duty and gone with her friends to the dining hall for breakfast. Nothing had seemed different. Everything was a normal routine.

She was pulled out of the school by her parents after that term. She had become paranoid. She jumped at every sound and was always hysterical.

What actually happened? No one knows.

It could best be described as a horror movie.

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Old generation versus New generation parents

When I see a parent getting along very well with his/her child, I smile at the good relationship they share. This seems to be the trend with the “new generation” parents. The parents aged 20 something to 40 something.

For those of us born in the 70s and 80s, a number of us would need a rethink to answer the question, “Do you get along well or do you have a good relationship with your parents?” Our parents can be classified as the “old generation” parents.

Don’t get me wrong, we love them! But do we share a relationship with them, just as the generation Z have with their own parents? I doubt it.

You see, a number of us were whipped too many times for both genuine and false reasons. We were trained by maids because our parents were busy with work. We were shipped away to boarding houses because our parents had to make money. We had almost no relationship with our parents growing up. We all grew up independently and then our independence became a problem to our parents.

Old vs New generation parenting

They failed to realize that we were no longer children. We had become young adults. To them, we grew up too soon and they were shocked that we had learnt to live on our own. They wanted to decide which course we read in the university, which state we served our nation for our National Youth Service, which job we decided to take up and which man/woman we decided to get married to.

Fast forward to the “new generation” parents. They seem to be more liberal in their thinking. Yes, some still send their kids to boarding houses but they are more involved in their lives. They want to grow together with their kids so they are not caught unawares like our “old generation” parents. They allow their kids to be both dependent and independent in their choices. They have conversations with their kids because they want to feel their heartbeat.

Old vs New generation parenting 2

I love the “old generation parent” but I would rather be a “new generation” parent.
Which would you rather be?

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