It was Friday evening; I had just completed my portion of weeding the grass behind our hostel for the weekly manual labor. I decided to maximize the 40 minutes or so before dinner, so I took out my school uniform and socks and began to wash. I’d barely finished rinsing the items when the “Clarion Call” came.
“A Junior Girl! A Junior Girl!!” Senior Damilola shouted from her corner.
I dropped my wet socks on my locker and ran inside the dorm along with 5 other junior students trying to beat each other to it. We unceremoniously formed a queue of six in front of Senior Damilola’s bunk; I was the 4th on the queue. The idea was that the last person got the toughest task while the first got the easiest.
Starting from the rear, she said “Chioma, take my shirt and socks, wash and bring them back when they are dry.”
The next person got her house-wear and skirt to wash. Then it was my turn. “Eunice, quickly go to Emotan house dorm 6, ask for Sade Oke, tell her to give you my Geography note.” Of course my face dropped, I was hoping for a milder task, one that didn’t involve leaving the hostel because I had unfinished laundry to attend to.
“Are you mad? Are you stupid? Who do you think you’re “boning” (frowning) for? In short, kneel down and fly your arms.” She said with a hiss. Then she called to the next girl, “Kemi, you go to Emotan house for me jaare.”
(Photo credit: Web)
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Well, that was how life was for junior girls in FEGGO. It felt like we were always at the mercy of our seniors, and their wish was our command. Most senior students lived as nobles, while we juniors served as peasants. We had to perform all sorts of tasks ranging from sweeping to ironing, washing, scrubbing, making their beds, getting water, going to the tuck-shop etc
Although significant measures were taken by the school authorities to combat bullying, some form of it still existed. Thankfully, I wasn’t much of a victim.
I particularly detested being asked to get water, especially when there was water scarcity. Fortunately, Tinubu house where I was, had running water most of the time. I still recall those nights when we’d be asked to “donate” one or two or three bathing bowls of water for one senior or the other. I don’t know how other junior students felt, but to me it was outrageous. On some of such occasions, I would disappear from the dorm indefinitely and return whenever the coast was clear.
How can I forget occasions when students had to “suck” water from the tap-heads in front of the dining-hall? Although gross, it was all part of our need for survival. The other option was to use our fingers to bring out the water but that wasn’t always as productive, plus having one or more sore fingers wasn’t fun.
Then “tapping” of water was common too. “Who tapped my water?” was a cry heard in the hostel everyday. Put a full bucket of water in front of your bunk and step out of the dorm for a few minutes, you’d be lucky to find half of its content on your return. Some Feggosians would say “Tapping is a game, but when caught…it’s stealing.” And so some students habitually tapped biros, pencils, cutlery etc We sha now know that stealing is stealing!
(Photo credit: Web)
Morning duties were also part of our daily activities in Feggo. Each student had a specific chore to carry-out every morning. Only SS3 students were exempted. At the beginning of each new term, the House-Captain and her Assistant would draw a Morning Duties Roster. It was usually something like this:
Here are some of the duties I was assigned during my time: dusting the louvers, sweeping the court-yard, cleaning the box-room, washing the gutter, sweeping the dorm and the most horrible of all chores, washing the toilet. Being a toilet-worker wasn’t only gross; it also came with frequent punishments and flogging. Thankfully, I survived.
That’s all for now.
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Thanks for reading!
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(Tapping: FEGGO slang for petty theft).
**Not real names.