It was nightfall already with Fred alongside other students of the Cheras High-School in a luxurious van heading from the South-Western Lagos to Kwara State in the northern region of Nigeria where the school is situated. They were heading back to school for the start of a new session. Unlike other students, however, Fred was a first-timer on the road trip and a junior class freshman. Turned eleven years old about six months ago, having lived with his parents and siblings all his life, he found himself heading to a whole new life without the daily comfort and pampering of the usual faces.
“What lies ahead of me in this new territory?” he wonders within him. “Would I like or dislike it? Would the faces be friendly or mean? Would it feel like I’m home or not?” So many questions needing answers. But all would be realised soon enough as they were a few minutes away from the school’s entrance. All He could feel throughout the journey was curiosity and excitement with the thought of leaving home and seeing a different side of life. Little did he know what that side had in store for him.
The van finally came to a halt in the school yard and the students were ready to step out of it. It was 10 pm and extremely dark as the general power supply was out but with some battery-powered lights, everyone found their items and headed to their hostels as guided by the prefects already residing in the hostels. On entering the hostel, Fred took a few steps forward inside. Looked to his left and saw a bunch of bunk beds all queued up to the end of the hostel in a straight line. He looked to his right and saw the same. This was a whole new scene for him as he’d never seen so many bunks before.
“Welcome to Cheras High-School” said Tony, a senior student residing at the left side of the hostel to Fred. “Welcome to the Yellow-Housed section” Ayo, the House Prefect said with a gentle smile to Fred. “Common, pick your choice from the available bunk beds here. It’s a new session hence, the selection is on a first-come-first-serve basis.” Fred couldn’t feel more welcome than he already was. He selected a preferred bunk, opened the storage locker next to it, kept some of his items in it and locked it up with a mini-padlock he had with him.
The students in the hostel all chatted most of the night just before their lights-out time which was 11 pm due to the pre-resumption weeknight otherwise, would be 10 pm. Everyone including Fred had a nice experience that night, such that he was glad his parents gave him the opportunity of some exposure and independence. They went to sleep afterward in preparation for the resumption day. Fred had the deepest and the loudest sleep that night according to Tony’s remarks in the morning.
By Micheal Tadese