A few days after writing the French and Religious Studies exams and the mock papers, it was time to go home.
Boy was I ready for the break from my school books. Bright and early on a Saturday morning, my parents and brother arrived to pick us.
My small travel bag was packed; I don’t even think I carried any school books. The sight of the books made me sick. It was good to see my folks. On the way back, we listened to Nigerian Christian music. We had Panam Percy Paul’s music on rotation. It felt good to be with kin.
As we approached Ndola, my Dad, as usual, turned to us and said welcome to civilisation. You see our boarding school was in what some might describe as the bush. At the time we were not connected to the electricity grid. So Our source of power was generators and solar panels. Yet we had a satellite TV. We also ate desserts at noon after eating lunch.
We were not suffering at school. Compared to my previous boarding school, Chengelo was Paradise. So whenever my Dad said welcome to civilisation, I would end up laughing. However, there were things I could only get at home, like egusi soup with Eba. Although we often ate with Nshima. I was hungry from some home-cooked meals and spending time with family.
The midterm week went by so quickly. Before we knew it was time to go back to school. We loaded up with more snacks and provisions, with a reminder that I needed more to study better.
Once I got to school, I was so focused on my studies. My mock results were horrible. They were so bad I almost burst out in tears. I tripled my efforts for the remaining half of the term. Outside of class, if I wasn’t watching the primary students, I was in the library or the common room pouring over my books, especially the sciences. Physics was the one subject I struggled to comprehend.
At this point, I wasn’t afraid to ask for help from teachers and other students who were better than me. I had this extra zeal to study that July.
However, life at my school was never just about academics. There were sports and outdoor activities. At the end of the second term every year there was inter-house competition. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a sports person, I still chose to participate and compete in a few activities for my house, Mukwa. So in my last sports day, I ran in two races, the 200 and the 400 metres race. No, I did not come, first or second or third, but I still did a great job and got points for my house.
That evening after the sports day was over, we all packed our bags. The second term was over. That evening we watched the new school video that had been shot earlier in the year. It was interesting to see ourselves on the TV screen, as we sat there in the common room laughing. Suddenly the house parent came out singing happy birthday, in her hands was a chocolate cake for me. In a few days, I would be turning 17. As I cut and shared the cake with my friends, I was thankful.