I Come From My Village and Other Short Stories By Osowe Olugbenga

 I come from my village and other short stories – Osowe Oluwagbenga

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We all knew that it was going to be a disaster. Miss Adekoya had just called Chibuzor to narrate Chapter 3 of “Kole the Superstar” written by Olajire Olanlokun which was the literature text for JSS 1 class. Slim, dark, tall, turban- wearing Miss Adekoya, was a terror as far as junior secondary students of The Apostolic Church Grammar School, Ketu (popularly called Apollo) were concerned, the few strands of hair on her chin gave support to the popular assertion that she’s a man in a not-so-feminine body.

Now, Chibuzor wasn’t a dull student but he had just come to Lagos from Chokoneze Ezinhitte, a rustic town in Mbaise area of Imo state and he had a problem with communicating in English language.  Miss Adekoya’s voice boomed out “You there, narrate chapter 3! When I told all of you to read that chapter before coming to class, you thought I was joking. My friend, don’t delay us we’re waiting”. Now, the thing with Miss Adekoya’s rules was that it was difficult to escape being beaten or punished in her class. A summary of her rules goes thus:

1. If she asks a question and you get it right when she called you without having raised your hand earlier, you will be beaten for attempting to hoard your knowledge.

2. Answer the question without being called and your punishment is sure because you were too forward.
3. Answer the question wrongly when you raised your hand and you might get punished for trying to show off when you weren’t sure except when she is in a good mood which is very rare.

                I am sure all these rules must have flitted through Chibuzor’s mind as he stood there looking at Miss Adekoya before opening his mouth to start his narration.  The words that came out from his mouth could be termed as Igblish (Igbo-English) and the class just couldn’t control their laughter at the words before Miss Adekoya cut the mirth short when she faced Chibuzor and asked “Where are you from?” Chibuzor couldn’t find it in himself to answer having just been laughed at so he kept mute. The short sharp strokes descended in a flurry on the poor boy as she kept repeating the question, “where are you from?” whilst the beating didn’t stop.

I guess the beating must have gotten the boy flustered because the next thing we heard in a tearful voice was “I come from my village oh, I come from my village oh” and that was how Chibuzor was renamed “I come from my village oh” till he left the school in JSS3.

 

 

G as in Jam

It was our first ever oral English class and I was quite excited that I had learnt something new. Miss Adekoya (again?) had just taken us through the identification and pronunciation of the different consonant sounds and the class was quite interesting especially the way she was calling the sounds and with due emphasis on the sounds in the words where they occurred. The unusual sweetness of Miss Adekoya’s voice was alluring as we repeated after her:

/b/ as in bath;

/d/ as in door and many other examples till the end of the class.

Having done a seemingly satisfactory job of teaching us, Miss Adekoya ordered the class captain to clean the chalkboard and ordered us to close our notes before asking someone to give an example of a consonant sound. Yours truly (@gbengaosowe) was in an excited state that day and I quickly raised my hand to answer the question. “Yes, Osowe, give us an example”.  Confidently, I said “an example of a consonant sound is ‘g’.” Happy that someone made a good attempt, she said “Good! Now give us an example, ‘g’ as in what?”

Different words came to my mind but for whatever reason I can’t explain till now, I found myself saying “g as in Jam”. Miss Adekoya couldn’t believe her ears so she asked me to repeat my answer and although words like gun, good, give and others came to my mind, I found myself repeating the word “jam”. It’s been over 17 years now, the pains of the strokes of cane gone but I’d never forget that “g” is not the consonant sound in jam.

 

One blow, seven die

It was obvious that there was some sort of trouble in school. The noise coming from the classes downstairs was quite unprecedented for a Saturday. Teachers in my school had arranged that there should be Saturday classes for a little fee of Twenty naira (=N=20) so that we could cover as many topics as we could before sitting for the WAEC Examinations so we could have a good chance of success in the examinations knowing that Mrs Adebisi, our school Principal would give no room for teachers to assist students in the exam.  So, there we were on a Saturday morning in Mr Ibrahim’s Physics class treating Atomic Physics when Olumide from the commercial class ran past our classroom and he was called upon to tell us what was happening in the school. The news he brought were shocking to say the least. Ojo had gotten in a fight with one of the touts playing football in the school’s big field and he had removed four of the guy’s front teeth with a sucker punch.

Ojo was one of the school’s fighting champions and though I was on good terms with him, I had drawn his ire once.  There was this girl called Kemi who got tired of my constant teasing as Ojo’s wife and she reported me to Ojo for a warning. Silly, unsuspecting me had heeded Ojo’s call for a private discussion when he ordered me to kneel down as he brought out a short butcher’s knife (called UTC or Lebe) and threatened to cut me if I didn’t apologise and make a promise never to tease Kemi again. Poor me, I made the promise and kept to my words because I knew Ojo could carry out his threat without any thought to what would happen after.

Well we rushed downstairs to watch the fight between Ojo and the tout and got there in time just to see the tout hit Ojo squarely in the face with a straight punch. The sound of surprise and shock from all of us was profound. Ojo had just been knocked down in our presence and to make matters worse he kept on falling down repeatedly as he tried to get up. It was a classic case of “one blow, seven die”.

 

 

I am Osowe Oluwagbenga @gbengaosowe

*All stories are true stories based on my experience as a secondary school student and while I do not know Chibuzor’s whereabouts, Ojo is now a “big boy” thug in Obalende, Lagos”

 

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. vickeyspride
    Mar 20, 2013 @ 12:07:38

    I attended T.A.C.G.S too…so proud of my school

    Reply

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