Friday, 17 August 2007

On......boarding school days


“Atutu” said my mother “it is time”

I languished in the bathtub for a little while longer, knowing that my love affair with clean, running water was about to be brought to a halt. It was time to go back to boarding house.

I contemplated the three hour journey that lay ahead of me and contrasted it to the same ruminations I had twelve months ago before my first year in secondary school. Where there had once been hope and a sense of adventure, there now lay dread in their wake. The only strand of salvation that availed itself to me was the fact that I was no longer the most junior of junior students. Anyone who has gone to a federal school will tell you that your JS1 year is the single most painful, humiliating and downright depressing twelve months that you will experience during the course of your natural life. In fact, a year that consists of a job loss, house eviction and divorce would pale in comparison next to it. I thanked God that at least in JS2 I can now begin inflicting the same sort of misery that I suffered in my first year.

The three hour drive was scarcely long enough. I made a last ditch attempt to feign an ailment of some sort. I spent the majority of the drive racking my brain for any kind of disease that would force the immediate curtailment of the journey. Trypanosomiasis? White malaria? Yellow Fever nko? There had to be something I could convincingly pull off I thought. By the time I settled on kwashiorkor of the brain, we had already reached the gates of hell. The most depressing thing about those gates is that once they were closed, you knew that for the next three months your ass belonged to Federal.

I had arrived just in time for dining hall and, this being the first day, supper was going to be a particular treat. For starters we had entrée of nada with cream of zilch. The main course was a particular favourite; weevils and stones with a small side order of beans. This was garnished with three small black organic substances which, at some stage of their gestation, were known as ‘plantains’

I found the evening’s dinner far too rich for my palate so it meant a trip to Blockys (Bloh-KEES) Island had to be arranged. Blockys Island was an area about 100 metres or so from Dodan Barracks (the dormitory) and was a playground for amoeba, maggots, bacteria and just about any other microscopic organism you can think of. It also had a part time job as a toilet. In my first term, I refused to shit for one week in protest of the sanitary conditions. By third term, I was not just shitting there but I was on a first name basis with all the maggots living in Blockys. The flies did not move when you swatted them, they just perched there and stared back at you. I still grieve to this day over Okoro, my favourite pet maggot, who died in the second term after consuming Senior Okechuckwus shit.

The seniors – CHAI!! - the seniors. They owned the school. Once upon a time, Federal had been run by the principal and head teachers. When incidents of teacher beating started becoming rife, the shift in power became very apparent. Now the teachers just taught, packed their bags and ran to hide in their homes. There was one senior in particular, Senior Nwokedi, who was like Abacha before even Abacha himself. The guy was evil personified. There is no doubt in my mind that had he lived in the Western world, he would have been withdrawn from all educational establishments and evaluated for psychological purposes. He was the kind of guy that would rip off a pigeons head just to watch how it died. As you can imagine we juniors were often the target of his sadism. I will never forget the three boys that he locked inside Blockys island for four hours forcing them to clean the place with just a bucket of water between them. By the time the boys came out, one had practically passed out from the stench of the place. Despite all of them bathing twice a day thereafter, the smell of faeces lingered on their skin and hair for weeks after.

Then there were the girls – or rather the lack of them since I was at an ‘All boys’. There was, fortunately, an all girl’s catholic school not far from us. Every day the girls would pass by the main gate on their way to Mass. If you timed it well you could catch the girls for a chat on their daily sojourn. The older you got, the more confident you became in arranging dates with some of the babes. There was no local shopping mall or cinema nearby so your date consisted of eating groundnut and mango under the evening sky. Sometimes you would rain insults at some of the girls as they were passing by; “Your small breast like five kobo groundnut” “Your scatter-scatter teet like machine gun bullet” – and so forth. It was just good banter and usually the girls gave as good as they got -“Your small prick like James Bond rifle” but one particular day we picked on the wrong girl to fuck with. I don’t know if she was on her period or just having a bad day but before we knew what was happening the girl had scaled our fence and was in hot pursuit of me and three others. She caught two of us and delivered the kind of beating that even an angry mother would struggle to replicate. She later became known as ‘Flo-Jo the husband beater’. Don’t let anyone tell you different, FGC girls were the hardest of a hard bunch.

Garri – almighty garri. It was classified as contraband but people still found a way to smuggle it in. If you had garri to trade then you were the Bill Gates of Dodan Barracks. Even a half cup of garri could fetch as much as two of those Kellogs variety packs that ajebota children used to bring. If it was famine period then the going exchange rate was three Kellogs variety packs. People used garri for everything; they smoked it, sipped it, drank it, ate it – anything you can think of. They made garri burgers, garri sandwiches, garri cakes and even garri stew.

Every night was fight night. We invented pay-per-view. If you could afford the gate fee of NIDO milk or Cabin biscuit then that was as good as a Visa or Mastercard. The gladiators were randomly picked juniors who had no option but to fight against each other or risk the wrath of the seniors. It was pugilism at its worst and I regret to say that witnessing a fellow junior’s head been pummelled in form part of my best memories of boarding house. Then one day it was my turn and they put me against one boy whose nickname was kpako. He was a junior like me but I suspect even some of the seniors feared him. The events of the brushing are a haze but all I know is that I woke up in sick bay the next morning. My mother arrived in the afternoon and swore to the principal that her son would never come back to this school of vagabonds. Despite my pain I managed a smile because that word always conjured up memories of Josco, the vagabond of Eko bridge, from Basi and company.

I was transferred to one Ajebota school in Lagos and it made me laugh that there I was one of the hardest boys in school. I often wonder what became of some of those boys from back in the day. I don’t imagine that they will be on Hi-5 or Facebook anytime soon. Looking back it wasn’t really that bad and if anything instilled some character in me. Unfortunately I still cringe when somebody mentions kpako. It just brings back too many memories.

56 comments:

LonelierThanAkon said...

Put your lighters up, lets have a moment of silence for Okoro.

Nice post.

uknaija said...

Really funny

Ekoakete said...

Hehehe I can fully relate. I couldn't wait to become a senior and when i eventually did I just didn't have the heart to be mean. To this day "90 degrees" still brings forth first, the thought of trembling knees rather than right angles or temperature measurements.

classybabe said...

LMAO!I didn't even think of going to boarding house,the tales i heard about the life there scared me oh,i no like suffer-head at all
lol @2weevils and stones with a small side order of beans".

UndaCovaSista said...

I'm still clutching my sides from all the laughter. I can fully relate on all points,especially the fight nights, except my school was a girls school and they used to make us dance. They would drum on plastic buckets chanting 'dig it, dig it' i.e. komole (twist down to the ground and back up again) and if you didn't 'dig it' to their satisfaction, you got belted. Oh the humiliation!

catwalq said...

oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, Oh my God...*struggling to catch here breath*.
Oh boy, if u no write book wey i fit buy keep for house, I go vex.
And me I was thinking that QC boarding house was terrible.
Men, me too I had my own fagging. Enfded up with a leg brace and as an out patient at Igbobi...long story. Will tell you someday over lunch

femme said...

boarding school was the best. or may be i meant the worst. did any body notice how much the powers reduced as u climbed up the food chain. by the time i became i senior we werent allowed to slap them juniors around after all the s**t i went thru as a junior. i mean, whats a few slaps between students?
not fair!

vindication through innocence said...

“Your small breast like five kobo groundnut” “Your scatter-scatter teet like machine gun bullet”

Sheeet men!!lol!!thats jokes!!
oh, and a gari lover too!!we musta been friends in a past life!!this story sounds like my bro men!!-went to one FGC in Lag and then pops shipped him into school in Jand!!

TO be honest, I didnt go to school in Nige-and i dont regret it!!I hear peeps chat about their school and get all patriotic(for what, i dont know) and after thoroughly analysing the situation, i realise its more nostalgia than anything else!!-well thats just my analysis!!

Anyho, this blog entry is in my top 20, deffo man!!
oh and thanks for the heads up on the first second and third nameless bridge!!

UndaCovaSista said...

Ha! Even funnier the second time around (nee nor, nee nor, stalker alert..).
PS - you know the gauntlet you threw down on my blog? Consider it picked up.......:0)

Jaja said...

You want to kill me with lauff, this boy! eh?
I am not done readng yet. but i have to let this out.

I hearby declare Atutupoyoyo clinically unwell.

yes, u r qute mad.
And I shall return now and finish

Jaja said...

I relate with ths post!
FGC and all..
the creative insults...
“Your small breast like five kobo groundnut” “Your scatter-scatter teeth like machine gun bullet”

the rackng...

You ve lightened my anger at the situation n PH. lets leave it for another day
I am quite fne, but i cant go out to renew my expired nternet subscription... that one na life???

Great post man.

30+ said...

You are such a silly guy, your head like .... you want to kill me with laughter it is a lie, e ni pa mi ni Blogville yi, I never even finish make i go back read some more.

30+ said...

Atutu for inflicting this spasm of laughter in me come hear let me whisper something to you....KPAKOO
(lol)

Kai, me I escaped boarding school but my bruv get plenty stories.

catwalq said...

jaja leave atutupoyoyo alone o.
as im craze, na im I take like am.
AtutuP abeg, floor the gas jare, carry go. I gbadun u tew tew much

UnNaked Soul said...

LMAO!!!
ROTFLMAO!!!
I don die finish... make una come save me. atuts wan kpai me ooo...

m-e-n i relate to wetin u yan. my SS1 - SS3 was spent in a concentration camp called secondary school. and to say the least, I was simply there to see another side of life... i take that as my consolation :-(

@lonelierthanakon: am with u. a moment of peace for okoro... *my most serious facial expression*

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

This post was extremely funny! As a fellow boarder, I understand the toilet situation. I don't know how I did it. Frankly, I can't remember...

Pele oh, so kpako beat you eh?

Vera Ikeji said...

I didn't go to a boarding school, but i have heard tales! The post was hilarious. It must have bn an experience for u boarders ehn! Lol.
I laughed a lot while reading ur post.
This is blogvilles merix (not remix) of crack ya ribs! Lol. Weldone.

bighead said...

Thanks for stopping by. I wish every junior boy could read this... I sure hope they wonld find it as funny as we do. The interesting thing is that we now meet these same "souls" from our boarding house days in uni and many have become "born-again" and regret their actions in skl.

I must say tho' that your FGC beats mine hands down!

Bitchy said...

I'd love to meet this Flo Jo! The babe sounds like a serious were. Lol Xx

lovita said...

Na Narrative essay be this one
very nice
www.lovita.bravejournal.com

Afolabi said...

WOW..just stayed about half a year in ajebuta boarding school, but left. It was fun at the same time harsh. But I wish i still remained a boarder. Good post man.

Nyemoni said...

Atutu, you are so funny!! Those "wordings"- I believe they were called that- reminded me so much of PH as well as your reference to garri...Vey intersting post...filled me with nostalgia...Nice one! have a good week!

'moni...

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ lonelierthanakon: Thanks my broda. I am wearing a black armband right now in commemoration.

@ uknaija: Cheers dude

@ ekoakete: LMAO at "90 degrees". I'm telling you o the whole senior thing was down to personality. Some people were just mean bastards.

@ classybabe: Men your parents did well by you o. Boarding house was rough. Some fond memories though.

@ undacova: You know the drill babe. LMAO @ komole.

@ catwalq: QC boarding house? That one na Four Seasons now. Although I did transfer to A-Hall and become an institutionalised aje-burra. My experiences there are for another post. I must take u up on that lunch offer if ever you are in Jand.

@ femme: Definitely unfair. The only straw to clutch on as a junior student was the hope that one day you would lord it over those snivelling juniors.

@ vindication through innocence: Thanks girl for elevating this reverie to top 20 status. Yes we must sit down and talk about the beauty of garri someday.

@ undacova again: Stalk away baby. No one stalks half as much as me. They can't hold us down. The gauntlet is down. The lyrics are ready. The proposal is coming.

@ jaja: My main man good to see say u full ground. I am definitely clinically unwell. My man kpako saw to it all those years ago.

@ jaja again: We go yarn about this PH business when ground don level small. I feel your pain man.

@ 30+: Why now? Now see what you have done. You have made me piss in my pant for no reason. How will I explain this to my oga now? Tchhhhw. Alakoba

@ catwalq: The feeling is mutual jare. You have even become my defender like Voltron. I will start to call you Princess Alora

@ UnNaked: The elusive man. Good that you have come out of your shell. Secondary school na something else ol boy. Seriously though, would you trade those memories for anything? I wouldn't.

@ Solomonsydelle: You know smell is a funny thing. The images have grown hazy over the years but the toilet SMELL? I can still remember it well. I still remember the shiny conturs of kpako's head very well. The boy had an anvil for a head.

@ Vera: Thanks o. The experiences are manifold and to be honest I even had to stop for the sake of brevity. One day I will tell you of the time I met a bush baby.

@ bighead: So true about meeting these guys again o! One of the most brutal seniors I heard became a pastor. Can you imagine? In his soul he must have known the wickedness of his ways.

@ bitchy: Yes I rather think you and Flo Jo would have got on very well. Like you she does stand for any jagbajantis.

@ lovita: LOL @ narrative essay. Na wetin be my mark now? P7?

@ Afolabi: Don't let anyone tell you different, boarding house is definitely a character builder. Provided of course that you don't stay too long and turn into a psychopath like some of those seniors.

@ Nyemoni: Those wordings could be very painful with some skilled delivery. Flo-Jo was testament to that. Have a good week dear.

eccentric nana said...

ha ha ha! ha ha ha! ha ha ha!
let me try again...
ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha......i still neva finish oooh...
ha ha ha.......

now you see the funny side of it. then, it was hell!

eccentric nana said...

know i came late but loved your name on bighead's blog. are you really 'atutu'?

Atutupoyoyo said...

@ nana: Thanks for the shout. I am Atutu by name but not by nature. Should we just call it a nom de plume?

Aijay said...

Lmao...
This has to be the funniest thing I've read today.
Did u say QC boarding house na Four seasons?
I don't think so.
Although I moved into boarding house as a senior(in SS1), it was horrible all the same. I wonder how one made it through.

Aijay said...

Ooops!! How did that happen? lol...
Sorry about that Atutu. (x4)

Aijay said...

Ooops!! How did that happen? lol...
Sorry about that Atutu. (x4)

classybabe said...

How far?you know the tottenham match is a must-win oh,or else i go land at carrington the next day.
Have a great week ahead!

kulutempa said...

this small job that i have managed to get, you want make them drive me commot this afternoon...see laughter!

i never went to boarding school, but i visited several cousins and friends, and boy did i pity them! i envied them too, but after hearing all the varied stories about 'blockys' and gabza, i have since reverted that feeling! i know too many people who now have an obsessive toilet-cleaning disorder cuz of boarding schoool...too funny!

Kpakpando said...

5 kobo groundnut? haba!!!! see isho mehn.

I didn't have war stories from boarding house sha, not comparable to most people's sha, but a shame I never got to be a senior girl... i for don show dem

Labelle said...

LOL!! Love the write-up...ur on my list..henceforth!

Toochi said...

Hilarious man! Nice write up.

Hopeful B! said...

lol...men! boarding houses na something else! spent my first 3 years so i fully understand, had to run before i become kpakoed by one senior!

Nilla said...

LOL....

This brings back memories. I went to boarding house too, and i didn't find it funny at all. I think I hated SS1 more than JS1. cos then we relieved being the juniors in the senior hostels.

Luckily garri wasn't a contraband in my school.

Very interesting post.

Thanx for stopping by my blog.

Kafo said...

mercy
this was hilarious
from Kwashiakor of the brain to Jo the husband beater you had mii bowed over with laughter

seriously

pele
my boarding school days were heaven compared to yours, mercy!

catwalq said...

oya update.
i don dey crase here. my left eye dey twitch.
i need my fix...

Anonymous said...

ok. u NEED to write a book. period. this post definitely brought back some memories...

UnNaked Soul said...

bekiafu o atuts... leave Catwalq for me or i shall else....

Porter deHarqourt said...

this is totally hilarious Atutu but totally true..well at least relatable.

i went through the whole gamut: junior boy, senior boy, garri seller, fence scaler, fighter, fight promoter, toilet boycotter (a record 12 days, and then sickbay), serial offender.

it's great that we can look back now and laugh. but sometimes sha, the tin no been easy.

and i almost got beaten by this huge half-german girl once. oh the terror!

you've done it again man, you really have

Mrs Somebody said...

Oh Yeah! this post is really really really funny!

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Atutu! Atutu! Atutu! How many times did I call your name, oh!

If Catwalq's left eye is twitching, then my right eye don dey scratch me. Update jo, ojare!

Stop by the blog tomorrow (Friday 08/24) for Nigeria Discussion series, oh.

Manda said...

too funny! thank God i neva smelled the four walls of a hostel o! How u just sidon Kpakp beat u! well im try, at least he made dem free u from bondage. Lovin ur page.

Nyemoni said...

UPDATE!

bllk wolf said...

u DISAPPOINT me
CHICALA beat u up.
and u get the nerve to call me MAD man..
AJEBUTtter
u don join my crew abi
welcome on board
I NEVER START WITH U YET oo
i dey come back

catwalq said...

o o de update now, ehn joo
Dahleeeen, Sweerie,
ki lo fe?
ehn, ma fun e
o de joo, ni tori temi

UndaCovaSista said...

The honeymoon on that secluded island in the Seychelles (at the expense of the ‘Agency’, of course) was out of this world *sighs*, but Sweetheart, don’t you think it’s time you updated….

Nyemoni said...

ATUTU!! ATUTU! How many times did I call your name?

exschoolnerd said...

This is the funniest post i have read in a long ass time...u need to have seen me reading this..i swear this was just too funny for words.

Kafo said...

se u no go update ni???

Baroque said...

atutu meen, was it an FGC thing?i thought i was scared in JS1 until i entered SS1 & had to move to senior block
...& what a shame, i had some beauties in my class, some real ones
...i wld've died if i went to an all boys school

PRO UNITATE!!!

Mona said...

that is such a good image for boarding school LOL

princesa said...

I know am late but this was just toooooo funny i had to comment.
Atutu you have won my heart with this post!

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