Tag Archives: Secondary school

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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Photo Credit: https://www.cdkitchen.com

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

The Wait – Chapter 2

Ajoke and Kokumo remained friends all through their senior secondary class. They studied in class and walked the long journey home together. Even though, Kokumo could afford to take a public bus home, Ajoke couldn’t. Her parents were struggling to survive and told her that transportation fare to and from school in the next village was a luxury. Therefore, she had to make do with long walks every day. Ajoke was however, not deterred. She loved to go to school and education was a priority for her.

Kokumo’s parents could afford to transport their son to and from school but he preferred to walk the long trek home with Ajoke. Kokumo used his transport fare back home to buy snacks and water which he shared with Ajoke as they chatted, sang and sometimes danced on the road. He knew most times, she was hungry but she never once complained about her parents not being able to give her money to buy lunch at school.

By the time they were in their final year in the senior class, they had become inseparable in school. They were teased by some of their classmates that they should get married immediately after school but Kokumo wanted more than that. He mentioned to Ajoke that his dream was to become an accountant. Ajoke had smiled and wished him well. She knew her education terminated after the secondary school level and there was no point having dreams that were not going to come to fruition.

“So you won’t even bother to make any attempt at the university by writing Jamb exams?” Kokumo once asked her. They had gotten to the forked junction before their villages but decided to sit down under a palm tree off the road.

Ajoke shrugged. “What is the point of writing an exam when the result of the exams would be useless?”

“At least, make an attempt.”

“Kokumo, both of us know my parents cannot afford a secondary education much less a University. We eat from hand to mouth at the moment and my father is waiting for my brothers to start fending for the family so the burden on him can be reduced.”

Kokumo sighed. “I wish there was something we could do.”

“There is nothing that can be done. Don’t bother about me.”

Kokumo looked at her as he cradled her face in his hands. “Don’t say that. I love you and I want us to get married someday. But I want to go to the university, so that both of us can leave our villages and have a better life in the city.”

“I know.” Ajoke said smiling. “I love you too and I look forward to the day you will make me your wife.”

 

They sat for their school certificate exams three weeks later and their results had been impressive. Kokumo had straight As in all the nine subjects he had written while Ajoke had As in six subjects and credits in the other three. Kokumo sat for his Jamb examinations and also passed with very good grades. He was offered admission into the University of Lagos to read accountancy just as he had dreamed of. Kokumo was overjoyed when he received his admission letter from the University. He couldn’t wait to get home to tell Ajoke and his parents the good news.

He took a public bus from the University gate as he danced and sang. A few passengers in the bus looked at him strangely but he cared not. On getting to his village, he ran towards his house but noticed a strange calm in the environment. He looked left and right and noticed that the traders who lined the road to his house all avoided his eyes or refused to acknowledge his greeting. This was unusual; he thought. They all seemed to be in a hurry to pack up their wares. He looked at his wrist watch. The time read 5.30pm. The traders usually sold their wares till 7.00pm. He wondered why they were all packing up at this time. He scanned through the market looking out for his mother’s stall but noticed that she wasn’t there. Her stall looked untouched; the same way she left it every evening. He stopped in his tracks. Why did my mother not come to the market today? He had left home as early as 5.00am to make the journey to the University. His mother was already up as she had insisted that he ate a small meal before leaving. She had prepared a bowl of eba and egusi soup for him and his father. He hadn’t been able to eat much as he had been anxious to leave.

The airs on his neck rose as he inched closer towards his house. There was an eerie feeling in the environment which he couldn’t shake off or place his finger on. He got to his house and saw his mother seated on a low stool on the front pavement. She had her arms across her chest as tears streamed down her eyes. She was lost in thought and did not see her son walking towards her. Kokumo noticed that she did not acknowledge his presence.

“Màámi.” (My mother). Kokumo said shaking his mother by the shoulders.

She shook all of a sudden as she saw her son. She burst into tears as she stood up and hugged him.

“Màámi, kílódé?” (My mother, what is wrong?) Kokumo said tearing himself away from his mother.

“Bàba Kòkúmó ti kú.” (Kokumo’s father is dead). She said as she put her hands on her head in lamentation.

Kokumo stood still unable to grasp what his mother had just told him. His father? Dead? He looked around him for an explanation. How could his father who was hale and hearty when he went to bed yesterday night be dead? The traders who had ignored him at the market started trooping into their compound to commiserate with his mother. Some walked in crying and lamenting while others shook their heads in pity. Was this a dream? He had been happy a few hours ago about his admission into the University. His admission letter still sat untouched in the knapsack slung across his shoulders. He had brought good news home to his parents; only to be welcomed with the opposite. No, his father could not be dead. He started walking away from his mother and everyone around him.

“Kokumo! Kokumo!” His mother called. He looked back at her strangely before turning back to walk away.

“Ë má jè kó lö o.” (Don’t let him go). Someone shouted amongst the now teeming crowd.

Kokumo continued to walk away without looking back. A man ran after him and grabbed him by the hand. Kokumo flung the man’s hand away as he continued walking.

Iya Kokumo stood up and started shouting. “Ë gbà mí. Ë má jè kí ömö mi lö.” (Please help me. Don’t let my son go.)

Two men ran after Kokumo and held him firmly. Kokumo tried to struggle with them but was overpowered. They dragged him towards his mother and made him sit at her feet.

Kokumo was not allowed to step out of his house that evening. His mission at the University was also not discussed. For three days, Kokumo looked at his mother as she wept. He was unable to console her as he was also yet to come to terms with his father’s death. His mother told him that after he left for school, she had gone to wake up his father. It was unusual for him to sleep for so long and she had been worried. He had woken up and complained about a headache. She gave him the meal of eba and egusi to eat and asked that he stay home and not go to the farm. He had nodded as he ate. She also decided to stay home and take care of her husband. He took some herbs to ease the headache after his meal and he went back to sleep. He never woke up.

The burial rites began in earnest as Kokumo’s paternal uncles took over the responsibility. A week later, Kokumo’s father was buried in his house. Two days after his father’s burial, Kokumo took out his admission letter and looked at it. Was this the end of his dream? He still had the letter in his hands when Iya Kokumo walked into his room.

“Kínì yën?” (What is that?) She asked him.

“Ìwé tí mo lo gbà ní school ní öjó tí bàámi lö?” (The letter I went to collect in school the day my father died).

Iya Kokumo sat down gently on the low mattress in his room. “Kí ló wà nínú è.” (What is written inside?)

Kokumo sighed. “Wón ti fún mi ní admission sí University.” (I have been offered admission into the University).

“Hmm….Yunifásítì t’èwo? (Which University?)

“University ti Èkó.” (The University of Lagos).

Iya Kokumo took a deep breath and bowed her head.

“Màámi, èmi náà mò pé University ò sé lö mó. Màá ló wá isé ki n lè rí owó rán ara mi lö sí ilé ìwé.” (My mother, I know going to the University is no longer possible. I will go look for a job so that I can sponsor myself to school).

Iya Kokumo looked up at her son as tears spilled down her cheeks.

“Màámi, ë jò ó,  ë má sunkun mó.” (My mother, please stop crying). Kokumo consoled his mother.

“Ah, Bàba Kòkúmó, n kan ta jö sö kó nì yíi. Àdéhùn ta jö ní kó le léyìi o.” (Baba Kokumo, this is not what we talked about. This was not our agreement). Iya Kokumo lamented as she bit her forefinger in tears.

Kokumo pulled his mother into a hug and rocked her like a baby. “Ó ti tó Màámi.” (It is okay, my mother). He said repeatedly.

When Iya Kokumo was spent from her tears, she removed the end of her wrapper and untied the knot. She took out all the cash she had in the knot and gave it to Kokumo.

Kokumo shook his head as he looked at his mother. He held her hand and said; “A ma jëun, Màámi.” (We will eat, my mother).

Iya Kokumo looked at her son as her body shook with sobs. Kokumo wrapped his arms around his mother again as he looked heavenwards. Baba Kokumo had left but he was going to make sure his mother did not suffer.

 

The story continues…….

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

 

The Wait – Chapter 1

Hi,

I hope you enjoyed the last series served here titled “Omoshalewa”.

Another series starts today. Please stay tuned and follow me on this journey.

And don’t forget to use the share buttons at the end. I would also love to hear from my readers. Please come out of ghost mode 😁

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“Do you Ajoke Omolewa, take this man, Enitan Boluwatife to be your lawful wedded husband; to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, keeping yourself solely unto him, to honour him, submit to him, forsaking all others till death do you part? If so, answer “Yes, I do.” The minister asked again.

Ajoke opened her mouth but was unable to form the words the minister, her family members and Enitan waited to hear. Her eyes were trained on the man who had just walked into the registry and sat quietly at the end of the hall. He had walked in unnoticed but Ajoke’s attention towards him was beginning to attract stares in his direction.

One by one, Ajoke’s family members comprising her father, her mother, her six elder brothers and her two teenage kids looked back to find out what had caught her attention. Enitan also confused at the sudden change in Ajoke’s mien looked in the same direction. He could not recognize the stranger and he wondered why the man’s presence had suddenly affected Ajoke. He turned to look at his bride and saw tears streaming down her made-up face. What on earth is going on?

All of a sudden, there was commotion in the hall. Ajoke’s aged father struggled to get up, his face taut and his jaw set but Ajoke’s brothers were faster. The youngest of her brothers tapped her father on his shoulders and slid his right hand up and down his chest. Their father took the cue and relaxed in his seat. His sons were capable of handling the situation. The six brothers stood up one by one and marched towards the end of the hall.

Ajoke, knowing what her brothers were capable of doing, left Enitan and the minister at the podium and started running towards the end of the hall.

“Ajoke!!!” Enitan called as he watched her break into a run.

She stopped to look back at Enitan, her tears now coming down her face in streams, staining and drawing black lines on her wet cheeks as a result of her smeared mascara. She looked at him, her eyes pleading but it only made Enitan more confused. Who was this guy whose sudden presence had stalled his wedding? He looked at Ajoke’s parents and searched their faces for an answer. Ajoke’s mother slumped her shoulders as she watched an imaginary being in her open hands while her father’s neck was stretched to the back as he trained his attention on the on-goings down the hall.

Ajoke reached the end of the hall just as her eldest brother held the stranger by his tie, rough-handling him. The stranger coughed as Adisa held him by the neck. He refused to hold Adisa’s hand or make an attempt to stop Adisa from strangling him.

“What are you doing here, you bastard?” Adisa asked.

The stranger only looked at Adisa without a word or a plea. All Ajoke’s brothers had gathered round the stranger but none stopped Adisa from his bid to strangle him. Ajoke pushed through the circle and knelt before her eldest brother. “Bròdá mi, ë jò ó, ë má pà á. (My brother, please don’t kill him).”

“Will you go back to the front and continue with your wedding?” Adisa said to Ajoke, his eyes blazing.

“I will but please don’t kill him.” Ajoke said, her face totally in a mess now.

Adisa refused to let go of the stranger.

“Àdìsá, fi sílè. (Adisa, leave him alone).” Their father said. He had trudged down the hall after Ajoke had broken into a run. He reached the end of the hall panting and sweating in the air-conditioned room. His wife had not accompanied him as she now stood, talking to the minister, the groom, his elder brother, his uncle and aunt. Her hands were clasped as she pleaded with them. They all looked at her confusion clearly written on their faces.

“Ehn, Bàámi kí lë sö?” (My father, what did you say?) Adisa asked, as he looked at his father with anger.

“Mo ní ko fi sílè.” (I said you should leave him alone).

Adisa squeezed his hands once more on the stranger’s neck making the man to gasp for air before releasing his grip. The man coughed once more as he loosened his tie and massaged his neck. His face was sober as he looked at Ajoke’s father. As the old man’s tired eyes met his, the stranger dropped his gaze. Ajoke’s father sighed deeply as he shook his head.

 

“Bàámi, ë jò ó, mo fé ba s’òrò. (My father, please I want to talk to him.)” Ajoke said to her father.

Ajoke’s father nodded and turned back.

“Alone.” She reiterated when her brothers refused to leave.

“You better know what you are doing.” Adisa said to Ajoke. “And as for you” – He said pointing towards the stranger – “I will still deal with you.”

Ajoke watched her brothers as they all filed back to the front of the hall; leaving her and the stranger alone. Her brothers however kept their eyes on them as they monitored their discussion from afar. As she turned to look at him, he knelt before her and tried to hold her hand. “Don’t touch me, Adejoro.” She said.

“I know I have hurt you greatly but please hear me out.”

“Hear you out? What could you possibly have to say? Hmm….Adejoro. What?”

“Ajoke, please…..”

“Adejoro, what did I do to you to deserve this? What was my offence? Tell me.” She sobbed.

“Ajoke, it is not what you think?”

“I gave up everything and gave you my all. But you trampled it under your feet and threw it back in my face. Just look down the hall” – She said nodding towards the front. “Did your children come here? Did they acknowledge your presence?” She asked.

Adejoro looked towards the front pews and sighed. So those are my children? He placed his hands on his head and bowed his head in shame. His children did not recognize him. They did not know who their father was. Fifteen years was a long time for any man to abandon his family. He knew he had messed up but he wanted to make it right if Ajoke could give him an opportunity to.

 

As Ajoke looked at his bowed head, she remembered how she had fallen in love with Kokumo nineteen years ago. Both of them had attended the same secondary school in the Ayobo village. Her parents had struggled to send her to school as they barely had enough to eat with seven children. Her mother had given birth to Adisa, two sets of twin boys and another boy before having her. Her father tapped palm-wine for a living while her mother processed garri locally. The little they made from the sales of palm wine and garri was used to feed the large family.

As much as her father valued education, he had told all his children that the best he could do for them was to ensure they got educated up to the secondary level. After that, he encouraged each one of them to go learn a trade. Her elder brothers had all learnt one trade or the other but Ajoke being the last child and only girl, had been confined to helping her mother’s business.

 

Kokumo was named an Abiku child. His parents said he always died at childbirth and returned to torment his mother again. To stop the scourge of death, the sixth child was marked before burying. Even though, Kokumo did not return with the mark (as it was believed would happen), he was still named Kokumo – meaning; will not die again. After his birth, his mother decided to give child bearing a wide berth. Kokumo’s father was a peasant farmer while his mother sold seasonal fruits which were planted and harvested by her husband.

Even though Kokumo and Ajoke attended the same secondary school, they only became acquainted with each other in the senior secondary class. They were both in the Art class and having to do the same subjects brought them close. Ajoke’s parents had been unable to afford to buy her textbooks, so Kokumo was always on hand to assist her with his. They became reading partners and within a short period of time, love found them.

Each day, they both trekked a distance which took them about an hour to get home from school. Kokumo lived in the next village to Ajoke’s and the forked junction before their villages served as their end point before each faced the journey home alone.

Ajoke looked at the man before her, her husband of three years and father of her children. What a wasted life she had lived married to him? She and Kokumo had been denied of their young love and she had been married off to Adejoro. Her father, her mother and her elder brother had thought him man enough to take care of her.

As the tears began to make their way down her cheeks again, her mind is forced to go back in time to when Kokumo meant the whole world to her.

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The story continues…..

Photo Credit: http://www.wikihow.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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Photo Credit: http://www.alamy.com

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

Blind Pact – Chapter 1

Bola is seated in the back seat of her father’s Peugeot 504 dressed in her red checked hostel uniform. Her father who is dressed in a navy blue buba and sokoto is standing outside the car while her mum sits quietly in the front passenger seat. A female porter walks towards the car to inform her father that Bola’s portmanteau has been placed at her corner. “Thank you”. Femi says as he dips his right hand into his sokoto. He hands over a five hundred naira note to the porter who dramatizes her thanks kneeling and bowing at the same time. “It is okay. It is okay”. Femi says in an attempt to dismiss her.

The porter walks away still looking back and bowing her head in thanks. Femi looks at his daughter and smiles. “Okay dear. It is time to go to your hostel”.

“Dad, I still have more time”. She pouts.

Her mother who had been quiet throughout the exchange looks back at Bola. “You know we have to get going. It’s a long drive back to Akure”.

“Yes mum”. Bola says unhappy as she steps out of the car.

Femi smiles as he touches her on the cheek. “Take care of yourself. No fighting…..”

“No troubles, no bickering and no gossips”. Bola finishes her father’s sentence.

Femi laughs. “Naughty girl. Anyway, have I settled you?” He asks.

“C’mon Femi, I thought you gave her some money at home”. Banke states.

“Mummy?”

“Yes?” Banke looks at her daughter with a stern face. “You keep spoiling her, Femi”. She says looking at her husband.

Femi smiles at his wife as he hands over some notes to Bola. “Be careful with it and spend wisely”.

“Thank you daddy”.

“What you have should be enough till your holidays?”

“Yes daddy. I love you”. Bola says hugging her father.

Femi nudges her and nods towards his wife. Bola walks towards her mum. She stands before her and smiles. “Mum, you know I love you, right?”

Banke stretches out her arms and Bola hugs her.

“Dad, don’t forget our holidays are in three weeks’ time. I’ll be expecting you”.

“Of course”. He says smiling. “Now off to your hostel, Senior Bola”.

They all laugh as Femi gets into the car. He starts the engine and Bola waves as they drive off. When they go out of sight, she walks towards her hostel.

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It is 3.00p.m on a Sunday. The students have just had lunch and are meant to be observing their siesta. While some lie on their beds reading, some sit in a corner gossiping while some are sleeping. The room has five double bunk beds making a total of ten girls in the room. Bola’s bunk is at the far end of the room. She lies on her bed reading a tract. She had earlier in the day attended the student fellowship organized by one of the Pentecostal churches which had a mission to youths, especially secondary school students. It was her first time attending and she had been blessed. She had been given the tract on her way out and she had shoved it in her uniform pocket. After reading it, she gets into a kneeling position on her bed and prays the sinner’s prayer written behind the tract. She smiles as she opens her eyes. Joy fills her heart and she can’t wait to inform her parents about the good news during her next holiday.

 

Bola’s parents are overwhelmed with joy when she shares the good news with them. They had been invited to an interdenominational programme a week before and they had also accepted Jesus and surrendered their lives to Him. It was a joyous day as Bola and her parents lock in each other’s embrace, praying and sharing from their bibles.

The one week holiday comes to an end and Bola is about to leave for school. She drags her portmanteau into the living room. She is dressed in her hostel uniform. “Mummy, Daddy, I am ready”. She calls out to her parents.

“A minute, please”. Banke replies from inside.

Bola rolls her eyes and shakes her head. She knows a minute for her mum is equal to thirty.

Femi steps into the living room trying to wear his wrist watch.

“Let me help you with that”. Bola says as she walks towards her father. When she is done, she looks up at her dad. “You know mum will take forever to get dressed, right?”

Femi laughs. “Better don’t let her hear that”. He says whispering.

Bola smiles.

“Your mum and I will be travelling next week. We should be back in a week. We would check on you on our way back from the airport”.

Bola looks at her dad sheepishly.

Femi sees her expression and laughs. “I know. I will get your chocolates”.

“Did I hear you talking about getting chocolates there?” Banke asks as she walks into the living room.

Bola looks at her mum with a wide grin.

“We are running late. We should go now”. Femi pulls his wife by the hand as he turns her towards the door. He picks up Bola’s portmanteau and winks at her. They both share a smile of victory.

 

Two weeks later, Bola is summoned to the Principal’s office. As she is ushered in by his secretary, she notices that the secretary avoids looking at her face. She wonders why the lady is quiet today. She is usually very chatty. The principal looks up from a stack of newspapers on his table as she walks in. The glasses on his face looks like it will fall off any minute but he pushes it back with his forefinger. He forces a smile which end on his lips. It does not reach his eyes.

“Good afternoon sir”.

“Afternoon Bola, please sit down”.

Bola begins to fidget. She has never been summoned to the principal’s office. She wonders if she has committed an offence. Her eyes are trained on the principal’s face.

blind-pact-1

The principal looks at her. “Your parents asked that we grant you permission to go home”.

Bola has a worried look on her face. “Go home? I don’t understand, sir. They promised to check on me on their way back from the airport”.

“Yes, I was told. They could not make it and decided that you came home instead”.

“I…sir….”

“I would personally drop you at home. You can go back to your hostel now to pick up your bag”.

“Okay sir”. Bola stands up. She is confused as she walks out of the principal’s office. It was strange that her parents would ask her to come home.

 

As she eases into the front passenger seat of the principal’s Mercedez Benz 230, the driver kicks the engine. The principal is seated in the owner’s corner behind.

“Excuse me sir, I hope there is nothing wrong. My parents have never sent for me like this”. Bola asks turning back to look at the principal’s face.

“Bola, you would be fine”.

She knows the principal knows more than he is saying but he is refusing to give her more information. She has a bad feeling about this but she cannot place her finger on it. She has no choice but to wait till she gets home. In the meantime, she can only do one thing. She clasps her palms together and says a silent prayer to God.

——–

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Blind Pact – Prologue

“Lord, what have I done wrong? Why is this happening to me? Where did I miss it? I need your help, Lord. Please strengthen me”.

Prologue

Banke looks at her daughter helplessly. Tears pool in her eyes as she sees her hurting. “Bola, I understand how you feel. But you cannot continue to beat yourself over this”. Banke says holding her daughter’s hands as she struggles to put her own emotions in check. She wishes she could erase the pain her daughter is going through. How did the course of their lives suddenly go downhill?

Bola looks at her mum but sees no one. Her mind is faraway. Tears stream down her cheeks and her mother looks away trying to hide her own tears which were beginning to make its way down her face. I have to be strong for her. I cannot breakdown. Oh Lord, please help her ease her pain. She closes her eyes as she does a little prayer within the confines of her heart.

Bola kneels down in a bid to pray but breaks down into uncontrollable tears. “Oh God, why-why do I have-have to suffer this-this way?” She struggles to say in between body wracking sobs.

If only the last few days of her life could be erased. If only destiny would allow her remake the turn of events in her life. If only her life could go back to being perfect the way it was about three years ago.

********

Three years ago, Bola attended an upscale secondary school in Lagos state. She was in Grade 12 and was preparing to write her certificate exams in a few months. Being the only child of her parents, they doted on her and gave her all she desired. She lacked nothing and in return, she ensured that her parents were never disappointed. She gave her best in her academics and stood out among her peers. She was the typical well-behaved, obedient and good child.

———
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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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To Love and to Hold – Episode 6

Modupe Peters had prepared her daughter’s favourite meal of ikokore (water-yam pottage) with smoked fish stewed in tomato sauce. She knew her daughter would have missed having the delicacy and she looked forward to welcoming her back home with it. She had also ensured that the housekeeper had cleaned up her room, dressed her bed and made it just like she loved it.

At thirty-five, Modupe Peters was still a beauty. She had gotten married at the age of eighteen as was the fad then in the western part of Nigeria. Her parents had only been able to send her to secondary school as they could not afford the university fees. Not one to be discouraged, she started scouting for jobs with her school leaving certificate and had gotten the job of a receptionist in a branch of a multi-national construction organization. She worked diligently and this coupled with her beauty attracted men to her like bees to a honey pot. She got so many offers for lunch and dinner dates from her colleagues that at a point she wondered if they had made a bet on who would win her heart. Unfortunately for them, she had only one thing in mind. To make enough money so she could go to the university. As much as they all tried to win her, she had her mind made up and never gave anyone an opportunity.

To Love & to Hold 13

One day, a site visit to her branch by the executives of the head office was scheduled and she was assigned the job of welcoming the officials. The Deputy General Manager had been so taken by her beauty and wondered why a girl her age was working in an office instead of being in school. After the visit, he gave her his complimentary card and promised to keep in touch. Modupe wondered how and why a top executive of the company would want to keep in touch with her.

The next day, her desk phone rang and she picked it up professionally as always. She was however stunned when she found out that the Deputy General Manager was on the other end.

“How are you, Dupe?”

She stammered. “I’m…I’m…fine…fine, thank you sir”.

“Are you surprised I called you so soon?”

“Yes, no, no sir”. She said trying to find the right words.

“Would you mind getting a transfer to the head office?”

“Really? I would like that, sir”. She said excitedly.

“Okay, I would ask the HR manager to make your position available and effect your transfer immediately”.

“But, sir, how would I handover if I’m transferred immediately?”

“Don’t worry about that, my dear.

Her transfer was effected immediately and by the next week, she resumed in the head office as the secretary to the Deputy General Manager. Within six months, she got acquainted with the job and was at ease when she received the bombshell.

To Love & to Hold 13b

The Deputy General Manager had called her into his office for an important meeting. As she sat opposite him on the other side of the table with her pen and jotter ready to take notes, he asked, “Will you marry me, Dupe?”

“What?” She asked, shocked at the question.

“I asked if you would marry me”. He repeated the question looking at her straight in the face.

“I’m sorry, sir. I….em….” She stammered and wondered what she was supposed to say.

“I’ll give you time to think about it. I don’t intend to rush you. What do you think?”

She fidgeted with her hands unable to look at him. “Okay, okay sir”.

“Please don’t let this scare or bother you. I love the way you work and I am impressed”. He stood up and walked to the window overlooking the car park. As he pulled the venetian blinds open, he continued, “I fell in love with you the very first day I saw you”.

Dupe gasped and put her hand on her mouth. He turned swiftly and smiled. “Don’t be surprised. You are a very beautiful and cultured lady. I effected your transfer because I wanted you close to me. I have watched you the last six months and I have seen everything I desire in a wife in you”.

Dupe was too stunned to utter a word. Then she remembered the reason why she had taken the job in the first place and decided it was better she made it known. “Can I say something, sir?”

“Yes, you can. I’m all ears”. He said sitting down on the couch in his office.

“I took this job in order to make enough money to go to the university. So, I really can’t say where marriage fits into my plan, sir”.

There was a smile in his eyes as he spoke. “I know why you took the job, my dear. I did not come to you as a novice. I have done my research as well. I am aware of your intention to go back to school and I am in total support. I intend to sponsor your university education”.

“Is that meant to be a precondition to my acceptance, sir?” She asked surprise and uncertainty written on her face.

“No, why would I do that? I am only informing you that I intend to sponsor your education whenever you are ready to go back to school. That has got nothing to do with my request for marriage. I believe it is your right to be educated”.

***********************************************************************************

Dupe had gone home that day very confused. How was she supposed to tell her parents who were barely educated that her boss had asked for her hand in marriage and that he intended to sponsor her university education? It looked too good to be true. She thought about most of her friends with whom she had graduated from school who were now married. Most of them had thought she was silly to think of furthering her education beyond the secondary level. She had gotten the basic education which had gotten her a job, so why slave away for another four or six years? They had told her.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime; to get a university education and get married to a reputable man at the same time. But there was one snag; she knew nothing about her boss. Most of her friends’ marriages were arranged by their parents. They had all gotten married to men who were well known in their village. If she had to discuss it with her parents, she had to be sure she knew the village and the particular family he came from. But she could not bring herself to ask her boss. If she wasn’t going to lose this opportunity, she had to talk to her ally; her mother.

Dupe’s mother had looked at her as if she were speaking in another language. She had sighed all through as her daughter spoke. Dupe looked at her mother expectant.

“Màámi, ë ò sòrò sí n kan tí mo sö fún yín”. (My mother, you haven’t responded to all I have told you).

“Kí lo fé kin sö, ömö mi”. (What do you want me to say, my child?).

“Só wùn yín kín n ka ìwé si”. (Is it your desire that I further my education?)

“Ó wùn mí, sùgbón ökùnrin ò kín dédé ní pé ó ma sanwó ilé èkó gíga f’óbìnrin l’áìní rò pé, ó ma fé obínrin náà”. (It is my desire, but a man does not decide to sponsor a woman’s education without having it at the back of his mind that the woman would one day become his wife).

Her mother looked at her straight in the face and asked, “So féràn ògá ë yìí?” (Do you love your boss?)

“Màááámi…..(My mother) Dupe stressed. “Okùnrin tó da ni wón”. (He’s a good man).

“Só wùn é ko mu l’ókö?” (Do you desire to have him as a husband?).

Dupe shrugged. “Mi ò ní ìyönu pèlú è, ó wùn mí”. (I don’t have a problem with that; it is my desire).

“Hmm…tó bá jé bè, a gbódò mö ìdílé tó ti wá. Gbogbo ìwáàdí la gbódò se kín tó bá bàbá ë sòrò”. (If that is the case, we must find out the family he comes from. All the necessary details must be sought before I speak to your father).

***********************************************************************************

In three months, a flurry of activities took place. Dupe invited her boss to meet with her mother secretly and his family history was traced to the village next to theirs. He also met with Dupe’s father and in the presence of the two families, he made him promise that his daughter would further her education even after marriage; as that was his daughter’s desire. Preparations for a low key wedding began and Dupe was advised by her boss to resign so she could have enough time to run around. He put her on a salary from his pocket so she would not run out of cash at any point in time. In another three months, she was married to her boss; Adebiyi Peters.

She gained admission into the university a year later to study public administration and by the time she was graduating, she had a husband, a Bachelor’s degree and two kids as her achievement. Her husband had also proved over the years to be very loving and after seventeen years of marriage, one decision she had never regretted was to marry her boss.

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