Date Archives May 2016

Tales of a North Central Corper Part 2

Dear Readers, This is the concluding part of Tales of a North Central Corper Part 1 enjoy!!!! 
It was a windy Monday morning, the 1st of June 2015. I hadn’t gone to work for almost three weeks I was feeling guilty for neglecting my students, for not rendering my service to the nation but I wasn’t looking forward to going back to work. It felt monotonous, I didn’t feel like I was making any difference, my students seemed to remain at the same spot they were when I met them. When I looked at them, their head looked like hard coconuts with no water, those types that make the loudest noise.
But they are not all bad, they have this bright light in their eyes when you introduce something new, educate them about something they have never heard of, that light is gone once you are done speaking  and they go back to rapping Yoruba. I was no longer motivated to teach.
My fellow corps members were tired and had cut the number of days they came to work and the hours they spent on the days they showed up. So at 8:45am on the this ‘’wonderful’’ Monday morning I sat alone in front of the Vice Principal Special Duties – Mama Special’s office , to report for duty.
Because of the lack of teachers, Mama Special doubled as a Christian Religious Studies (CRS) teacher and she was in class when I arrived so I sat and waited for her on the rickety bench in front of her office. I watched students stroll in well into the first period and the only resident Math teacher laid down the law; he caned the late students. He was famous for making passes at every woman in sight. It made me wonder about how the human mind works and how complex it must be.      
I saw an old woman walking across the school field towards the Mama Special’s office, most of the field is sandy with patches of yellowing grass scattered around. The Math teacher stopped beating the late students and came to welcome the old woman.
She said her granddaughter went missing on Saturday and she came to ask for the school’s help in locating her. The math’s teacher immediately went into action, locating the girl’s class and her friends to question them on the whereabouts of the girl.
Mama Special joined the search party once her class was over. About an hour later, one of girls came forward with a story I had heard a number of times in the last few months and it still felt too good to be true.
‘’She dey her boyfriend house.’’ She whispered to the math’s teacher  
‘’Speak out.’’ The maths teacher shouted at her.
She went on to describe the house of the boyfriend, the regular advice followed;
‘’Mama it would pay you to involve the policemen’’ Mama Special said, she handed her a piece of paper with a phone number written on it.
The maths teacher followed the old woman, in the school bus which had busted windows with doors that didn’t close properly. In my short six months working at the school this was the 4th time something of this nature was happening and it broke my heart every time it happened.
It is compulsory for Corpers that belong to the HIV/AIDS Community development group to start a health club at their respective places of primary assignment so I got involved with the health club after the first incident. I was surprised that these students knew that the local pharmacy sold birth control pills and were well informed on other preventive measures.
The health club convener decided teaching abstinence was a waste of time, so we taught preventive measures, the advantages and disadvantages of the various measures.
After the first test I gave my students, I found out that many of my students couldn’t spell their names and couldn’t construct two sentences in English. I made a rule in all of my classes that English was the official language of communication.
I decided to pick students at random to read, a hand full of them could read smoothly, others fumbled on the big words and an alarming number couldn’t make meaning of the words written in their texts
The other corpers and I started a class to teach our students to read and write, we encouraged the students to attend, they were eager for the first two lessons and gradually none of them showed up for the meetings.
I found the zeal and energy I had on the first day gradually ebb away, I didn’t enjoy teaching anymore. I found myself counting down to the end of my NYSC year and dreaming of the things to come to get myself though the remaining days.

Looking back, I feel I let myself down, that I could have done much more if I encouraged myself, adjusted my expectations to fit my reality, kept going instead of mentally checking out but I find solace in the little that I did and keep looking for opportunities to change the world.

Ringing Words

This is not a poem, I gave up poetry a long time ago. This is a jungle of words playing in my head like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
So I find myself accidentally falling again, how I get myself in these situations is beyond me, my emotions seem to be a separate entity from my brain, existing and doing what they please when it suits them.  
So it is safe to say it suits them to fall again.

Every smile, I register
Every accidental brush of the hand doesn’t go unnoticed
Every time our eyes meet, I never want to look away

Before you start smiling uncontrollably as you read this, it is not a love whatever you choose to call it and I am not in love
Or maybe I am.
We would have to ask my emotions what they have decided.

Easter was a miserable time,
I should have been celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus
But I spent all my time looking at my phone hoping it would ring or I would get a text
And I died a little when I got a text from everyone but ‘’Deep Brown Eyes and Budding Mustache’’
By Easter Monday, I had shouted at my sister, wasn’t talking to my mum and watched football with my father.
I was ready to get back to work, who invented public holidays???
Some sick psycho determine to punish me with a lot of free time.

I was far too gone falling
I was in this place of uncertainty that I hate
A place where my happiness is wrapped in the well being of another
In pointless conversations
In holding hands
In stupid inside jokes and nicknames

I am going to override my emotions,
It isn’t even a body part.
My brain is much stronger I conclude.

To apologize, I drag my sister out for ice cream,
There is ‘’Deep Brown Eyes and Budding Mustache’’
Cozy with a girl, sharing a cup of ‘’coldstone’’
I drag my sister to another shop
Bribe her with another gift
She is trying on her dresses when I start to cry
We have agreed to blame stupid emotions

Letters 05 (Her Version of Events 2)

Dear Readers,
This is a follow up letter to Her Version of Events 1 .

Dear Friend,
I don’t think I have ever told you how much I don’t like weddings. Here is why; I don’t thrive well in a crowd but that is the selfish part. I believe weddings should be small and intimate with family and loved ones whose absence you would feel if they don’t attend. I don’t appreciate how we have turned it to a rice eating event and we have neglected the importance of the day, the milestone in a person’s life that launches them into forever.
All that said I was in a mood since my August vacation, I was rebuilding the walls around my heart and looking forward to going back to work, a familiar ground to help me gain balance and feel like me again.
But my mum had to ruin my perfect plan and drag me to a wedding, under the guise that I need to get out more. Get this, she didn’t know the bride or the groom personally. She is a friend to the aunty of the bride and she even went ahead and bought the aso ebi for both of us. She walked into my room that Friday night, with a dress already made for me and gele to match. I was perplexed.
My day dreams had carried me to beautiful place and I nodded to everything she said because I wanted her to leave.  On Saturday morning I realized what I signed up for when her personal make up person walked into my room. The conversation of the previous night played in my head, there was no getting out of this. I put on my best fighting spirit to help me through the day.
Everyone avoids the church service but it is my best part. I like reading the vows and hearing the couple recite it. Thinking about the vows took me back to one of the many conversations I had with he-would-must-not-be-named. We agreed on weddings and the special effect that reciting your own prepared vows at your wedding has, how it makes the day special. This was on day 15 of my holiday.

Now I am not sure what to believe any more.

I was lost in thoughts so I didn’t realise when we arrived at the venue. I sat at a table with my mum and her friends and my phone became my companion. I recently started a book titled the Rose Project by Simsion Graeme; the story is captivating following the journey of man with Asperger syndrome and his approach to finding love. It is funny at all the right places.
I was lost in my book when my mum taped me to tell me about a young man looking in my direction. How she notices these things is beyond me. She was urging me to go mingle. I resisted then she gave me the sad face and launched into how I don’t want her to see her grandchildren, how I push men away, she was almost in tears. I knew the routine but I caved because her friends were judging me with their eyes. I picked my purse and left the table, I stole one backwards glance at her and she was upbeat again, I really needed my own apartment; a space free from all her drama.
I moved towards the exit but the young man blocked my path, I recognized him immediately; he sang a beautiful love song for the couple during their first dance. His face stuck with me because of the texture of his voice and the fact he played the guitar. Everyone knows I am a sucker for men who play any musical instrument.

I decided to sit and talk with him; I liked his cologne and his music.

He sounded intelligent and didn’t go overboard with the compliments so I knew he was sincere, but I wasn’t attracted to him. I found myself comparing him to he-who-must-not-be-named. So I excused myself from the conversation but not before I exchanged phone numbers with him and made plans to go for a live show of an Afro Soul Musician the next weekend.

On my ride home with my mum, I looked out the window of the car and decided I needed to stop mopping around and resume living.