GUEST POST BY: Faith Gbadamosi.
It was in January 2002, all relatives and friends were so happy that I got admission into a Federal Secondary School (Federal Schools were most sought after by parents back then). The night before my resumption I couldn’t sleep, I was just so excited about my new school (having done my first term in a state school in Ibadan), I had a lot of dreams about the new school, had a lot of imaginations, strategies and plans. One would have thought I was going to school outside the country.
My mum and I arrived at the prestigious Federal Government girls’ College, Owinni hills and behold it was a very big school, a school built on the hills in a serene environment, a sight to behold, very green and it was just one place I couldn’t wait to tell my brothers about back home.
We went to the Administrative block of my new school to find our way through to my new hostel. There at the Administrative block, I got a Guardian and my mum said “Faith, this is your new mummy” then I gave her this very annoying look like ‘hey mum, ain’t having a new mum here’. I got the black house, sarcastically my mum responded.
We got to Olori House (being the newest hostel as at that year), during the siesta period, and the matron put me in Dorm 6 where I got the neatest senior as my bunk-mate and the journey began. Well before my mum left, she made sure I wore my black checked house wear and she made this very sarcastic statement ‘omo dudu ni nu hostel alasho dudu’ (meaning black girl in the hostel with the black colour of cloth). I climbed the bunk in her presence just to ensure that I could find my way to bed in her absence (then I think so she could go back and tell my brothers how her short girl climbed the bunk). It was time for her to leave and I wept bitterly, it felt like I was not going to see her again.
Prep time came and I journeyed to class in my big black checked house wear with my name written boldly with yellow emulsion paint on both sides, I got to ‘D’ class with my new bunk-mate and she helped me get notes from the students that had resumed before me and I started copying notes. The following day, I was introduced to the class teacher as the ‘new girl’. It was time for break and I was expecting that we will be called to the dining room for break-time food (my imagination about the school), but no, each student had to find her way to the tuck-shop to get snacks. My first time at the tuck-shop was so funny and hilarious. After I bought everything to eat, I missed my way, I kept going back and forth looking like a JJC (well, I was one that time) and I landed at the staff quarters.
Days and weeks passed by and I adapted to the early ‘momo’ joggings, the rush for bath space, the rush to dining, the rush to class, the hustle at the tuck-shop (my tiny stature helped me survive the ‘fanyogo’ hustle), the rush for lunch, the rush to do little laundry before siesta starts, the rush to class for afternoon prep, the rush for dinner and the rush to get back to the hostel at night to be able to do meaningful things before lights out.
It was the next visiting day and my brothers and parents were around to see me, ohhhh, I put on the newest of my big house-wear, I couldn’t wait to tell them what hostel life has been like, I just kept telling them about the whole school activities, how seniors used to shout “a junior girl”, and how we all responded and a whole lot of things. My brother made a statement that day ‘but they said a junior girl, how will all the junior girls go, is it that you don’t understand English?’. It was time for them to leave and I wept again (don’t mind me I cry a lot and I hate to part with people). I decided to try what my brother said about the ‘a’ in the seniors’ call for junior students and when next (the following day) a junior girl was called, I didn’t respond and I got a punishment in return.
Fast forward, I got into the second year and this time, my parents felt I was getting used to the life and the weekly visits stopped, I only saw them on visiting days. Second year in FEGGO was so awesome, thanks to my new found school mothers (just a year above me), they did everything for me, washed the clothes, and did the fetching and a whole lot more. Something happened in my year two that had to do with our imaginations, some of my classmates and I thought we saw ghosts one night like that, and it was a very fearful experience and we prayed like our lives depended on that night’s prayers.
Year 3 came and my school mothers didn’t resume with us, then it dawned on me what it was to be a junior student. It was smooth to an extent at least now I had juniors calling me ‘Senior Faith’. Now, I was able to go home and come back to school on my own. The extension part of my third year was the most interesting, where we used iron to make vegetable in the hostel (*looking around*, did I just say we cooked? *covers mouth*)……. Hmmmmh, we broke the rules.
*JJC (Johnny Just Come): Newbie, recent arrival, naive newcomer.
*Early momo: FEGGO slang for early morning.
TO BE CONTINUED>>>
Thank you for reading!
PS: The writer Faith, my good friend back in Junior days, also graduated with the Class of 2007. I remember some of the escapades we had as junior students (back of dining-hall things…lol) together with a 3rd Friend, Toyin. These two were like God-sent angels to me, when I was chronically starving in my SS1 3rd term. Merci, mes amis! I’ll feature the rest of her story soon.