One funny thing about Boarding house is that you learn life lessons very quickly. One of those lessons being that there is nothing that cannot be stolen. Believe me, once you learn that lesson you get wise real quick. Anything and everything disappears with this baptism. When I say everything I literally mean everything. These include:
My boss told me her all her son’s provision were stolen. I laughed and laughed ehn. Don’t call me wicked but it was funny. You see! That’s the thing with Boarding house. You get baptised by the stealing committee sooner or later. It’s just that stolen provisions can pain you ehn.
Especially when your parents live far like mine did. No provisions equal automatic hunger. Forget the dining hall food. That stuff was just meant to keep you alive.
Plates, Cups, bowls and cutlery.
These get stolen and missing regularly. If only I had a Naira for the number of times I borrowed spoons and forks in the dining hall because I couldn’t find mine. Nothing like Shakara “I don’t share cutlery ” who born you well? 😀
I have been known to wait hungrily in the dining for the owner of the cutlery to finish eating before I ate.
One time, I brought cutlery sent from London to school, it was distinctive, green with white stripes. After a while it got missing and I started seeing my spoons and fork with strange people in the dining hall. I couldn’t even claim it.
My boss told me that her son’s food bowl got missing soon after he resumed. He didn’t have the liver to tell his parents that he had received the baptism so he started using his bathing bowl to eat.
Buckets, Kegs and bottles!
Hian! In my school, your bucket must surely disappear. I repeat SURELY. Sometimes never to be seen again to you graduated. I can’t count how many buckets I had in those five years of boarding school.
When you first arrive, you cling desperately to your bucket because it has your Name. I remember my first bucket vividly.
An iron bucket with BISBAL written in red paint. We must have naively thought that writing names vividly will prevent it from being stolen. Whosai? The only thing writing that name did was for identification purposes and did not guarantee that you would get it back. I can’t count the number of times I saw my buckets with seniors. Sometimes I got them back, at times I was asked to bring another for exchange which simply means I carried any bucket I could find and submitted it to the senior so as to get mine. Don’t judge.
Lol. You see what I said about stealing. Lol. It was a vicious cycle. After a while I got used to using buckets with strange names on them, and the owners probably got used to it too.
I never knew water could be stolen until I got to Boarding house.
It is possible to put water under your bunk and wake up to see an empty bucket. Sometimes,the bucket and the water disappeared right at the borehole. The thing about Feggicolla was that the borehole where we fetched water was so so far and it was a struggle to fetch water. Imagine a borehole that was meant to provide water for more than a thousand students.
You manage to fetch the water and take your eyes for just a few seconds and both water and bucket have disappeared. We called it tapping. Peharps to convince ourselves that it wasn’t stealing.
Sometimes just a bowl of water was tapped. The thing about this is that by the time several people take a bowl out of your water, you hardly recognize the full bucket water you fetched from the borehole or kept under your bunk. 😀
Underwear, shoes and Clothes
This was my first baptism. Any squeamish feeling at the thought of wearing someone else’s cloth or shoe soon disappears at boarding house. This is because nothing is sacred. Your underwear, uniform, beret etc. Invariably it’s a vicious cycle because the person whose clothes are tapped also taps someone else’s except if they want to go naked to the classroom, go to assembly without a beret or if your village people are doing them, wear bathroom slippers to class or for assembly.
Did I say tapped? I meant Stolen. You see how it is.
Textbooks, notes and novels have been known to disappear mysteriously . I am an avid book lover and Boarding house is where I honed my reading fast skill. Let’s just say they took my novels and I took theirs.
Of course I don’t have to tell you that money was regularly stolen. I remember one time I kept money in my locker while a particular girl was watching. I never imagined that she would steal it. Of course I didn’t meet the money the next time I checked. I looked fruitlessly inside the locker for the money but it was gone with the wind. I wanted to cry. That was my last money. I knew the girl took it but I didn’t confront her.
And that is the end of the stealing tale.
For majority, it was just a boarding house survival thing. Of course we had the pilferers and serial thieves. Those with “ojukokoro” who steal your stuff out of greed. Like the girl who stole my money. Those ones probably continued even when they left boarding house. And it was more common as juniors. As you rise higher, you lose stuff less. Except cutlery and buckets. Those stuff were classics. Always getting stolen.