Sometimes late last year, I ran into one of my seniors in Secondary school for the second time. We were in the same house ( Blue House) in Boarding School and we weren’t particularly close but we still smiled and chatted briefly.
Luckily for both of us she wasn’t a bad senior, because she was also my bunk mate for a while and in the secondary school I attended, you were sort of sold into slavery to your bunk mate. You fetch her water everyday until you get another bunk mate or become a senior yourself.
Compare this to a few weeks back when my mum and I drove out. We stopped at a market close by and she saw a woman in her sixties standing by her car. But she didn’t stop neither did she acknowledge her. She just hissed and said something in the vein of “that’s senior Shade. Wicked Senior! She made me eat Eba with water”.
The last bit made my ears prick. Hian! Eba with water ke. Which kain combo be that? Apparently my mum hasn’t forgotten the combo. I mean, who could?
Both encounters got me thinking about how unpredictable life is.
Who would have guessed one day, She and I would cross paths on a tarred Ibadan road or that senior Shade would one day marry a doctor whom my mum knew and that one day they would one day run into each other.
(The incident above wasn’t the first time she and my mum met). Apparently I am not the only one who runs into people from Boarding school/Secondary Schools. I run into them in the most random of places. Hospital, Fast Food Joint, University etc. And apparently faces do not change. It is not uncommon for me to hear “Did you go to Feggicolla? “. Or for my mum to say “See Senior this or that. She’s now old oh”.Lol. This from my sixty year old mum.
For the non Nigerians, Pangolo means empty tin, senior Pangolo therefore means good for nothing or useless Senior. This one I met wasn’t a Senior Pangolo. Which is why we were able to smile at each other and chat.
But it got me thinking about the many Senior Pangolos I encountered in secondary school: The wicked ones who did not realise that life was fleeting and six years was very short; the ones who gave you hot slaps just because their bathing water wasn’t available ( as per you being a slave meant to cater to their every need lol); the ones who punished the whole class in as many demoralising ways as possible (almost always in the hot sun) ; the ones who made you go without lunch or dinner, the ones who made you turn the classrooms into your hostel all in a bid to avoid running into them ( I am not kidding, in my Jss3, I practically lived in the classroom, I had food, clothes, books, everything I needed with me, and only snuck back to the rooms late at night when the senior Pangolos must have slept) ;the ones who sent you on useless errands; the ones who hijacked you from the borehole and forced you to carry water for them to their hostel miles away and most times by the time you returned your own bucket of water had either been emptied or both the water and the bucket disappeared, the ones who reported you to their friends if you mistakenly sounded rude and they all descended on you ; the ones who thought out cruel and unusual ways to punish you (angle ninety, push the car on the wall, fetch water in a basket, pick pin, squat and fly your arms (trust me this kind of squat did not tone your butt) . Lol.
So Yeah! This one is for the senior Pangolos.
Dear Senior Pangolo!
Six years is really short Yeah? I am sure y’all never thought your reign of wickedness will come to an end one day. You never realized that one day we would date the same guys in the University ( this really happened) , that some of you would end up as our juniors in University ( pretty ironic yeah) , that we would come across some of you on Facebook and even real life years later and we wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about befriending you.
You and your ilk didn’t seem to realize that there was life after Boarding School. You succeeded in making Boarding Schools in Government institutions as unbearable as possible for your juniors. Some of us will never send our kids to boarding schools partly because of the treatment you meted out to us.
I wish y’all had been just a bit nicer to your juniors. I hope you can blame your wickedness in the pride and headiness that came with being called a “Senior”. I hope you can blame your wickedness on youthful exuberance and peer pressure. I hope you acted the way you did just because you were also treated the same way when you were juniors.
I hope you aren’t still that way in real life.I hope you are nicer people now and not bullies.
Dear Senior Pangolo, we hope you have changed. Surely you still can’t be that wicked in real life.
P.S . I am thinking of starting a series on my Boarding School experience. I attended a Federal Government Girls College and the experience can only be imagined.