Tales Of A Boarder (Part 1)

“Last junior there! ” a senior would call and all her junior girls would race from far and near to heed her call.  God bless that junior who refused to answer. She would become dead meat as all the ‘almighty’ seniors would gather to devour her.

Now, most juniors would run,  some falling in the process just to be at the front of the queue. They did this because many seniors usually picked the girl who was to serve as messenger from the last five girls on the line. Surprisingly one day, Senior Damilola chose the first two juniors on the line as her messenger.  The two girls burst into tears while the rest of the girls thanked their stars that they had managed to escape.

That was life as a boarder!

Boarding school was fun. One never knew what to expect, either from teachers or seniors. You could have an almost perfect day on rare occasions and on some days wish death upon yourself.

My school was in Epe, a coastal town in Lagos. Surrounded by thick bushes, it stood in all its glory in seclusion from other buildings. Any child who was a product of that school never left foolish or sluggish. The school made men and women out of mere children.

We lived a regimented life; our daily activities were planned to the last second. Our day started at 5:00am everyday when we would be awoken by loud clangs of metals hitting against each other. By 6:00am, we were expected to be  seated in the large hall which also served as the assembly hall and dinning hall.  Morning Prep was from 6:00am to 7:00am. What people managed to read during this hour I never understood. The only times I appreciated this one hour of reading was whenever I had an assignment to complete.

That was the life of a boarder!

My deepest weakness then was my fear of the ‘rod’. I tried my best to be punctual, diligent and respectful but I guess, it was not possible to completely escape the rod.

Some were blessed with this gift however. They could take astonishing number of strokes and would never shed a tear. Many at times, I prayed to God to give me such a gift.  My closest friend in SS1 had such gift. Wura would be late for prep, assembly and what have you.  She knew the punishment would be some strokes of cane,  and she was an expert at that.  I wasn’t and it brought me great unhappiness.

I changed though. For by the time I was in SS 2, I had toughened up considerably well. I was able to take numerous strokes of cane without blinking an eye or shedding a tear. I didn’t go out of my way to invite trouble though but whenever it came, I didn’t scream and roll on the floor as I used to.

That was the life of a boarder!

Cutting grass was another thing I abhored as a student. No boarder could escape this part of boarding life, however. It didn’t matter if you erred or didn’t, you were made to cut grass.  A prefect supervised by a teacher would lead other students to a bushy section of the school and measure out portions to each person. Portions were measured by feet. If you were lucky, you could get two feet or three. If you looked capable, you could get as much as six.

I couldn’t for the life of me cut grass decently. I envied those who in less than thirty minutes could level a tall Bush.

That was the life of a boarder!

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