Monthly Archives: August 2015

Tales From FEGO : That Valedictory Service

I walked into the empty dining hall and i could hardly see a grain of rice on the table. Baba Alfa had already done his duties of cleaning the tables and clearing the hall of the regular mess.

No. I had my doubts and beliefs that there was still to be lunch that Sunday afternoon. Noone misses Sunday lunch unless on visiting days or act of God. Jollof rice with beef, the regular menu. Alas, i saw a grain of jollof rice. My shoulders sloped as reality slapped me.

It was my first major assembly hall gathering other than the regular Friday/Monday morning assemblies and in all naivety I went for the Valedictory service. Chased like cattles, room heads, officials and captains – or were they acting then – I made my way to the hall with so much expectation putting on my white and green cotton shorts. I didn’t even know the meaning of Valedictory.

The hall was filled with various classes of people – Students, Staffs, Parents and another set with a unique dress style, later to be identified as the recently graduated set. This was the 1st term of the 1998/99 academic session. I knew no member of the set being celebrated. I was just a new boy.

As usual, the junior boys and girls occupied the terrace of the assembly hall using their pinafores and shorts to attain sanitary status for the dusty floors. The two entrances were manned by two officials who later sneaked away as the program wore on. The few senior students occupied two rows downstairs but had the luxury of roaming about exchanging pleasantries with the celebrated set.

I really didn’t understand what the service was about but one thing was sure I was hungry. Time was ticking away and no food yet in the assembly hall. I can’t remember how the service ended but I remember heading to the dining hall.

I was disappointed. I was hurt. I could imagine how Baba Alfa swooped his multi – purpose broom, clearing the table and sweeping the floor, cursing along and chewing his legendary syick with a no-smile face. He may have thrown his broom like a javelin to a boy who refused to leave the hall after the massacre.

Yes, there was a massacre as reported. Those that missed the Valedictory service were hungry and became impatient. Their impatience grew in leaps and bounds. No official was available. One thing led to the other and pots were opened and the infamous massacre began.

Pot covers landed on the floor creating a massacre rythm – jaga-jaga, buckets surfaced from beneath tables, boys were doing effective mass transfer and taking off in various direction out of the hall. Those that had no buckets took off their shirts and used them as bags for carrying the jollof rice away to a comfortable place. Others used polythene bags while a few carried the pots along.

It was sad. Playing the scene in my head was enough for me to proclaim that “I will never go for any Valedictory service in FEGO again”. I kept to those words till i left.

Thank God i had a good supply of zape. I zaped away my grievances and sorrow, cursing the officials that enforced our attendance. I smiled and congratulated those that enjoyed the Massacre.

That was the beginning of many massacres and as for Valedictory service – Never.

Do you remember that day? Share your experience.

Enjoy.

By Chibuzor Amos (@AmosCP)
Posted from WordPress for Android

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Hope Amidst Changes

Sitting down beside the Red fence waiting for my plate of roasted Plantain – Boole – spiced with roasted fish and garnished with vegetables to make a meal out of it, quite different from how it is eaten in the western part of the country. I was in Port Harcourt after a long time away. The town looked different.

The traffic that is associated with the red fence was not there. People were scanty and the shops had more blue men than the traditional red army that keeps them alive. Activity was low and lacking spice. I looked around, I couldn’t see my regular friends that enjoy same meals with me every lunch time. Where are they?

I pondered and wondered, ransacking my big head for a response. I had entered the Red base for the first time in about 9 months. Things had changed. The lab was wearing a weird look – properly scattered and posing a good amount of danger to unsuspecting passerby. The base was empty and you could count people like the amount of oasis in the Sahara desert. Billboards and posters have been erected.

It was brought to my notice that a lot of these changes have been done during and after the internal self audit. The places looked cleaner and more focused but the people were lacking. A lot of my friends have been booted – no thanks to the industrial crises. Others were away in various location fishing for money. A couple were on vacation, enjoying with their family.

In all I felt alone. This was not the Port i used to know. This is the shadow. I had come to get my luggage ready for dePORTation after spending over 12 months in a foreign land – in the economic capital. I have been on the edge of change for quite a long time due to management’s indecision and high level confusion spiced up with wayo-ism.

Change is constant, even change keeps change. Delta T is never the the same. But God is unchangeable. I had to give thanks to him for still making me a member of the Red Army especially seeing that over 100 persons have been de-red-ed in the last 4 months with more to join when the forces that be decide to bear one name.

I am at peace as to whatsoever that happens in the future, not because of my abilities or my responsibilities but because my hope is on the Lord of Host, the Creator of the Universe and my Urstuff.

Where does your hope lie in trying times? where do you run to when everywhere is in chaos? Who is your refuge? Who will save you?

I smiled as my plate of Boole was served.