The dew had fallen bountifully early that morning. The morning of mornings to people who were anticipating some new things to their life. A life was about to begin for them, such life which would determine their future. The time they would choose their career path.
The morning was adorable and had come very fast succeeding the previous day rapidly as though it were scolding it for wanting to be too slow – dragging its time sluggishly as if it were dozing off on sleeping pills.
Time truly sometimes, slows itself down when good things or achievement were about to take place but the next event could not genuinely be assumed to be some sort of achievement, as it was only the beginning of a new beginning in the life of some people.
On the path of this journey, steps could be mis-taken; people could be led astray by friends. A step on a banana pill, on clay, could make one slip and fall. Getting back on ones feet could be hard. Decision making in this stage of ones life could only be guided by a good counselor and people of positive minds, thoughts and plans.
I need not tell you how detrimental a bad step could be here, – for disaster wouldn’t be enough to qualify this explanation.
Trilemma of the highest fall, – the fall of the devil would even be mere fall of a pen on the floor compared to this. Not trying to instil fear in your minds but you would see for yourself how it would manifest itself in the life of youths, with changing taste and yawning for what is beyond their age.
The bridge beside the school was occupied by the traffic of buses and cars of various workers or public going about their businesses. Some to their work places while some, mostly the commercial drivers – taking their passengers to their various destination/bus-stops.
Buses stopped at the bridge close to the school gate (school-gate as often called by Conductors) as large crowds of student got down from buses. School bags, some big while some, not as much, were carried to the back of students in various uniforms.
Happiness hung on the faces of some student while some, there was a mixture of both, `oh, school again, bullsh1t’ and `wow! Nice to be back.’
Excessive vaseline clung to some faces and made them really shiny, such faces seemed to have changed over the holidays. Some were powdered and pancaked so much that, it felt the harmattan were out and people find it difficult to purchase creams.
The students in different uniforms, walked and trudge to their various school gates, some in twos, some fives while others, in solitude.
As students in pink shirt and brown skirt or trousers approached their school building, there were already standing, some prefects shouting instructions to the Juniors.
“Hey, start picking from there”
“Pick that rake, rake all this grasses”
“Both of you should pick up a cutlass each. There are growing wild, some grasses at the back of the school that needs to be cut” a female prefect said and led both student to the portion she wanted them to cut.
Some teachers also stood, making sure every instructions were carried out and the prefects were really performing their duties.
It was still 7:15am and the assembly would start only at 7:45am and being the first day of another school session, environmental sanitation was the most vital task for that day. If you had come in your newly sown uniform, I’m sorry to inform you – you would be making the gravest of all mistakes.
Apart from the sweat that would dab it, – it would be stained so much by grass-cutting, muds flying in the air, dusting of desk and chairs and so lot more.
You were permitted to remove your shirt but the trousers or shirt couldn’t be allowed, not even one’s thinking faculty would want to do that.
Going to shoes worn, `pity’ is the only word for those that have put on new shoes expecting to come to school singing like Mr. Freeman in Boondocks “New shoes, New shoes, New shoeoooooeeeeesss!.” Ha ha ha, don’t laugh that much, It’s what students do.
Some would have polished their shoes to the extent it would sparkle at the rays of sun, a star. Many would boast of using Kiwi or the other type of polish (butterfly or whatever).
“Hey you! Come over” a prefect call out to Izu and some of his group who had walked into the school gate together.
They grumbled as they approach but their facial expression didn’t change.
“Try to make this dustbin a bit accommodating. It could still contain more refuse than it is right now!”
“How we go take do that one now?” Izu asked without fear.
“Hope you know, you have to learn to speak good english coming to the senior school?” the prefect who appeared to be the head-girl lashed out. The badge on her chest and the way her uniform was neat and ironed, – showed the position she held.
“It is either you use a stick to push the refuse down or you use your legs” she added and walked off to catch another set of students she needed to perform other task.
“How person go use leg push this thing now? Mehn! We don come meet them this people again o” Izu complained and they all went to work at once, marching and jumping on the refuse till it went half-way into the bin. After they had finished, took their leave.
A male prefect, somewhat dark but handsome called out at the three friends that approached racing as though, they were late.
“Fatimah and her company.” He called out in Guinea language, evident he knew Fatimah and Mariam very well – not only through the Junior school but also at home.
They went to him smiling, their bags flinging at their asses – the sort of way female students carried them.
“You are to go to the teacher’s toilet and clean them. Make sure enough water are put in the drums and in empty buckets found inside.”
“Okay senior!” They responded and hurried away to perform their assigned duties. Liveliness, in the way they walked as if they derived pleasure in washing toilets.
It didn’t take long before Lazarus, Lamah, Kelvin and Kazeem came through the gate.
“God, them this bully again. This Umar never still travel go Guinea,” Laz complained.
“All them this Guinea fowls go come dominate us again as them do for Junior school” Kelvin snarled and hissed.
“Welcome” Senior Umar said “the four of you should go to the students toilet and fetch 5 pockets each, full of water.” He added looking at the group he knew very well as defiant.
They always claimed to be too big. Thank God they’ve come to the senior school again and for the next months we would spend before leaving them, we would teach them some good lesson/s, he thought.
“Where can we find the students’ toilet, since we have no clue as new students?” Laz questioned.
“Go towards that direction and the last room on that end is the student’s toilet” he pointed and stood hands in is side pockets as he watched them leave.
ON THE UNDERBRIDGE AFTER DOLPHIN ESTATE.
The traffic was getting really much now and the time was 7:30am. Adefemi continuously asked a big brother who sat beside him what time it was. He knew before he gets to the school gate, if no improvement happened with the way the traffic was moving – he was going to be late.
He covered his nose as many did on the bus, because looking beside the bridge was a swampy environment, – marsh lands which smelt very offensive. There were tyres built and sunk into the earth in form of a ring.
Pigs were reared in large numbers there, but ask yourself how people got to rear them in such swamp, and you would be causing yourself some headache. `how would people have built such rings in a swamp without drowning?’ only God could give the answer and the people who did it, themselves.
Pigs are generally dirty animals and it really didn’t need much table work to see with the environment they were housed.
Muddy and mushy and marshy were the loamy/clay soil they marched. Waters were logged at some places inside the tyre rings. The swines were so dirty, their skins had changed form. The sound of `Suwiiiu’ came from them as they rejoiced in their silly and dirty environment.
Adefemi looked out of the window and saw many students trekking to school. He saw some, getting down from buses and instantly he knew they were trying to prevent being late to school.
On a day like this, late comers were extensively punished. Lot of grass-cutting, washing and scrubbing the toilets, fetching plenty buckets of water, sweeping the whole school premises, classes and staff-rooms. Many people don’t bother coming to school on the first day of the term or session because of all these but he wasn’t a student like that. Not even his guardians would allow him miss school. He, himself also didn’t like such.
It meant you might miss some announcement or start copying notes the next day. Considering fully well he didn’t want to be in such category of late comers, he asked for the last time.
“Please what says the time?”
“7:33am” the uncle replied.
“Thank you sir. Conductor, my 30naira balance (change) abeg, I dey come down”
Other students on the bus also made to come down.
“Take, make una find change give una self” the Conductor said handling Adefemi 60naira, a 50naira note and a 10naira note to be shared 30naira each between him and the other student who came down requesting for his balance.
“Arh God” he said as they climbed on the pavement made for pedestrian. He hated Conductors joining him together with someone, moreso on this day – someone who wasn’t a student of his school.
“Guy, you get 20naira?” He asked the fellow.
“I no get, na only 50naira dey with me?”
“How we go come take do am now?. Wooooo! Take the money, I no fit wait, I don late already,” he said handing the 50naira note to the guy and racing off, – getting down from where some student walked sluggishly on the pedestrian walkway and climbing back at some further distance.
He had sacrificed 20naira out of the 100naira given to him as transport and food money. He had already entered 20naira bus out of it and the rest calculation shall be left to you. He hoped an increase occur to the money soon, since he was in a new class.
The moment he got to the gate, he was lucky to be asked to pick round the school premises which had been littered with dry leaves. That was when the assembly bell rang.
Rang (gbagaun)!!! Rang (gbagaun)!!! Rang (gbagaun)!!!
To Be Continued…