I attended a boarding school in Ibadan (High School). The first couple of years were somewhat stressful cause I had to skip lunch on many occasions. I started skipping lunch frequently after witnessing a junior classmate punished by a senior student.
How can you eat while watching your classmates getting “Scalas”. For those who have no idea what the slang means, it is heavy slaps to the back while bent over. I choked on my eba and okra soup watching that scene.
We ate with speed and in fear of your name called from the list of infractions, not doing your housework, late for roll call, etc. During school hours you have the teachers to contend with and after school the seniors. The experience changed my eating habits as I can only enjoy my meals eating alone.
Sometimes the matrons/cooks would come out of the kitchen to the dinning hall begging the seniors to easy up on us. Their pleas resonate in my mind today “e ma pa won” “don’t kill them”. This is what I got to put up with leaving home for the very first time. I wasn’t even 11 years old. Damn the colonial system.
I couldn’t guarantee keeping out of trouble during or after school hours and damn sure wasn’t going to let those bully seniors beat me, so I developed a sweet tongue.
I soon developed a friendship with the “Iya oni moi moi” in “Sector” (a place off campus where we jumped the school fence to buy snacks and food). She started giving me moi moi, fresh baked bread and a bottle of 7up.
I would offer to pay the 25kobo (yes moi moi, freshly baked bread and a bottle of 7up for 25kobo) when I had it but she wouldn’t hear of it. You see by the second week of school chances are you are out of provisions and money.
I solved the senior/punishment issue by taking advantage of my oratorical skills. I would get dates for them. | Ogbeni Ayotunde
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