Monthly Archives: December 2017

Tales From FEGO: Rub and Shine

There comes a time in every academic session when the weather is so cold in the morning that your skin loathes the idea of having any contact with water – especially cold ones. This is usually in November, with peaks in December, the Harmattan season. It runs parallel with the Owu Period.

Your fingertips were the thermometer and the conductor that sends messages to the brain about the condition of the water. The brain uses the information to make a judgement as to whether to shower or Rub and Shine. It could be as a result of laziness or scarcity.

While Rub and Shine was optional, the urge was heightened by the strategic unavailability of water. The water table becomes low, the Twelve “borehole” Taps becomes dry and water becomes gold. The reservoirs that used to be filled up at least once in a day could only be serviced once in a week – Saturday mornings. Red Tank was the option like an oasis in the Sahara – but it was far and risky.

Walking down from classes on that dusty uneven red road parallel to the girl’s hostel, my eyes were looking afar towards the borehole, hoping to have an indication of water availability. At this hour, the borehole used to be filled with students especially girls with a lot of buckets like they were never going to fetch water again in their remaining stay in FEGO. But on this day, it was void of any living thing, except the dragon flies trying to do much with the nothingness at the Twelve Taps and Baba Tanker no where to be found.

This period was burdened with scarcity of everything – including Garrium Sulphate. But the scarcity of water was the height. You could do little with no water. Water was gold, only second to freedom from being sent by a senior to do anything. This water scarcity gave a lot of students – especially the junior boys – the opportunity to Rub and Shine. It was the makeshift way to have a bath in order to look alright for the day.

The Rub and Shine “kit” included:

  • Water – quantity varying from two hand scoops to “one bailer“. Anything more than that could be considered a bath. It was essential to clean off dust that comes with the season.
  • Vaseline – very important for the shine. It was the anti-whitening agent required for the Harmattan season. It was worth everything. Legend had it that some students just rubbed Vaseline on their body for the shine without the need to rub or have a proper bath. Woe betide you (in Mr. Balo’s voice) if you fail to rub Vaseline after your bath, you shall look like a ghost passing by, painted in white with skin dry as stale bread.

A quick rub on the visible part of the body – the arm, leg and face – and you are good to go. Your armpit is deprived of the baptism, just like the back and chest. While your odour cannot be vouched for, you can fool a good number of persons that you’ve had a proper bath.

Those exempted from the Rub and Shine were those who were not bothered by water temperature, had alliance with the kitchen women to fetch warm/hot water, had Element or boiling rings to heat up water if there is power, or were excellent in hoarding and storing water fetched from the Red Tank. You remember Red Tank in Abuja?

With Rub and Shine, you know you are incomplete and a trip to the Red Tank was needed to wash your sins away and refresh your soul. Although not encouraged, Rub and Shine  were the only options for some and they survived.

Share your Rub and Shine  story in the comment section.



The Return

*dusting cobwebs*

I walked into the hall and nothing much had changed. The congregation was somewhat the same but they were a good number of spoken and unspoken hellos and his. It was like a mini-reunion. I had not seen a lot of the folks for over 2 months. I have been touring the world in agreement to a contract I signed over 4 years ago.

The reunion was short. I had hoped for a longer one but my return was to be for a little while. Home calls were like bells signing the beginning of the orthodox service. Home I went and she was there – my first.

Two months lost and surely she was excited. Excited and the reunion, stamped by the traditional hug and kisses. How much it feels to be back to the origin and inhale the air of rejuvenation. Little to discuss, plenty smiles to share, the reunion was spent. The return had hope. It beamed from her face.

While input has been reduced to the barest minimum, the love remains unshaken. Family storms continue to be weathered as we sail across the waves of life, irrespective of minor challenges that hit the boat.

The weight is much but the burden has been replaced by His yoke, which is easy. While we toil, he toils, she toils and we win. He takes the glory.

Miss that activity, mum. Thank you, dad. Thank you fam.