Saturday, December 14, 2013

Life lessons from the trenches: Boarding School 103

Read 101 and 102

If all else fails and you couldn't  get water to bath, then you had to do "rub and shine". My school was kind of close of the North, so during the harmattan months, it got pretty cold. We had to learn to bath with ice cold water, mind you, our bathrooms were out in the open. I wish I could draw a picture, but I can't so use your imagination while I do my best to describe this. It was an open structure made with blocks with no roof, divided into bathroom stalls. There was no main door which you could shut. Each bathroom stall had a rod across where you could hang ur towel. If people were running late, they bathed out in the open at the very end of the dorm (that was discouraged).

So during harmattan season, even if you had water because it was so cold some people resorted to "rub and shine" which is not to be confused with a sponge bath. For the uninformed, rub and shine consists of washing your face, armpits and privates, then applying Vaseline or whatever lotion you used. Back then most of us used Vaseline or Johnson's baby oil. I wasn't a big fan of rub and shine but I did it maybe 2-3 times during my 3 years in that school and this brings me to what  happened on Wednesday. So I'm at the point in my life where I am hopping from place to place trying to find a job aka applying for residency. I got to this hotel which the program provided at a discount. First of all, they should remove the Best and the Plus from their name. They can keep western if they chose. The radiator (heater) in the room kept blowing cold air. I called the front desk and they sent their maintenance guy. By the time he came in the room, it was blowing hot air. Within an hour after he left, cold air again. I figured it would alternate between cold and hot air but that never happened.

Thankfully, I always travel with a hoodie because I have to sleep with my ears covered. I woke up at least 4 times during the night freezing my ass off. My hoodie was actually cold to touch. We had to have checked out of the hotel and be ready to take the shuttle to the program by 645am. I woke up by 545am and it was a struggle because I barely slept. Brushed my teeth, started heating up water for my tea using the coffee maker, turned on the shower which was spitting out ice cold water. The temperature outside was about 22degrees F. I let the shower run for 5 mins and checked again, still ice cold, 10 minutes later, it was still bringing out ice cold water and I was like there's no way in hell I am stepping in this shower. I just remembered being in boarding school. By this time, it was past 6, this was not the time to be calling the front desk and I was like, this people are not going to worry me. I went to boarding school and survived, I can adapt to anything. Luckily, the bathroom sink had hot water, so I put a towel on the floor and grabbed my wash cloth. My initial thought was to do rub and shine but I was like, there's hot running water from the sink why not do rub and shine deluxe, aka sponge bath. So I calmly proceeded to take a sponge bath, which worked out very well. Like I said, those people were not about to worry me.

In this instance, I think going to boarding school and having to learn to adapt to difficult situations very early on helped me not to panic and come up with a simple solution without wasting time. I got out of a lot of sticky situations in boarding school by quick thinking. I never worked on the black field (long story) and by JSS 3 I was getting out of road work which involved waking someone up at 6am on Saturday morning to go jogging on the streets of the village all in the name of exercise. I refused to be about that life back then and I had a convenient side pain which never went away. That was such a psychosomatic symptom now that i think about it.  There was the day our matron (dorm mother) fondly called Matey, caught us in dorm during class time and I wasn't quick enough to run. I just lay down, covered myself and became sick. Being that I was one of the "good girls" thanks to my innocent looking face, she believed me easily and said I should come get food from her office later that evening and go to the infirmary instead of lying alone in the dorm.The other girls she caught were not so lucky.

There was the time we had gone to steal corn from the farm and brought it back to the dorm to cook. At this time, there were only JSS3 girls in school because we had to stay back to prepare for our JSS 3 exam (Junior WAEC). The caterer, plumber and kitchen women decided to do an impromptu raid of the dorms. See chaos. I was in the first dorm, so no time to hide anything. Pots, stoves, and corn husks were stuffed into lockers. We were only allowed to have stoves to use during our Home Economics exam, but of course we started using it to cook in the dorms. Me and my friend were the first ones to go to the farm to harvest our corn. To be honest, I didn't think I was stealing because we planted the corn for our Agricultural Science project and I felt it was ours. I only harvested my row. Other girls saw us and decided to do the same. That's how that madness started. Anyway, when the Caterer who was leading the search for culprits got to me, she told them not to bother searching me because I was one of the good girls. Ha! Talk about a miracle. If only they had just opened my locker. This innocent face has saved me time and time again. I can't even lie.

Another interesting memory from my boarding school was the concept of "Tapping- exchange is no robbery". I am so amused just thinking about it. To Tap means to take someone else's property and exchange it with your own which was usually less desirable. So let's say I don't like my check anymore and I see someone else's check I prefer, I could tap it, or if I like their check belt or mattress I could tap that. To prevent my stuff being tapped, I had my name written boldly on my school uniform shirt. My skirt couldn't be tapped because I had it sewn at home so it was slightly different. But if you had a generic thing, then it was tappable and you kept hearing "exchange is no robbery". That shit is funny now that I think about it but it was just undercover stealing. LOL.

Boarding school was fun. I had so much fun in JSS2 more than any other time. I think I enjoy the memories more than actually living it because it was tough to be honest, but the friends I made there are my life long friends. We literally grew up together. Literally. They are like my sisters from another mother. I think i learnt very valuable life lessons from being a boarder. I shed a lot of my boti side, learnt the value of respect, how to adapt easily to different situations, how to deal or not deal with plenty women (lol, by the time i was done with secondary school, i was sick of girls because both schools were girls only schools. I had only male close friends for a while, but nothing can replace a good female friend. Guys don't always get it). It was a good experience but  i would think twice before i sent my kids to a boarding school in Nigeria and if i did, it definitely wouldn't be a boti school. I've heard of some boarding schools in Naija that sound like luxury hotels. What's that? If i'm sending my child to a boarding school it would be for the purpose of them learning how to adapt away from the comfort of home, not to continue to be spoiled. I'm just saying.

Hope you enjoyed my impromptu boarding school series. You can thank that hotel that should remove Best and Plus from its name located in one of the richest counties in the United States. *rolls eyes*

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this your "boarding school series" it brought so much memories. Boarding school is something I would never relive. It wasn't even half bad at all but I didn't really fancy it. I made really great friends that I'm currently really close to and I do have so many nice memories but I would not send my children to boarding schools except that's what they want.


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