As long as I had waited for this day and as happy as I should have been, I was still very sad about what happened between me and uncle Sam. I couldn’t just smile at the tall building that was standing in front of me with ‘Girls hostel’ written on it. I wanted to be happy that I was finally going to experience the life as a boarder but I just couldn’t take my mind off everything. I put on a fake smile as my dad helped me with my suitcases. My mother who carried her bag and just my pillow in her hands was smiling warmly at me. I guess she still thought I was sad about leaving home. My sister on the other hand really looked sad that I was leaving. She took my buckets out of the trunk and went to stand beside my mum, not saying a single word. I felt really bad that I was leaving her but it had been the decision of our parents to make me boarder. I couldn’t even console her. I was just too weak to be in any other mood. We walked into the gates after greeting the security guards who stood there. They even helped with some of my items which made it easier for us while one of the security guards directed us to where we were supposed to get checked in. We walked about five minutes until we came to a point where five women were seated at a table under a canopy. They looked like the ‘house mothers’ like I usually hear the boarders call them. They looked a little old except two who looked like they were in their early thirties. They smiled at us as we approached them. My dad and mum who had been smiling all the way from home greeted them and exchanged words before I was asked to open my suitcases for search. They said it was a normal thing since provisions and some other things weren’t allowed, they needed to make sure there was no contraband brought to the hostel.
“Did you label your items with your name written on them?” one of the house mothers asked.
I nodded my head and muttered a “yes ma” while I and my dad were asked to sign some papers. After I was being checked in, they told me to say my goodbyes as my family weren’t allowed further at that point. After holding everything in, the tears that had built up since began to drop and I cried as I hugged them. I didn’t just cry because I was going to miss them. I cried because all of a sudden I became scared. While clinging to them, one of the house mothers called me a baby and asked to take my things to room seven on the second floor. I waved my family goodbye as I watch them leave the premises. I carried the lightest items and hoped that I would find someone to help me with the rest and just when I was thinking about it, one of the young house mothers decided to help with some of my belongings. She just kept smiling at me which made me feel a little better. On getting to room seven on the second floor, I heard one of my friends, Annabelle talking loudly. As I opened the door of room seven, I saw some of my mates seated at a corner in the room, just talking. By the time they looked up, they all shouted “Meso!!! Meso!!!” as they ran towards me. Smiling, I hugged them one after the other. They collected my belongings from the house mother who had helped me carry some of them and they all followed me to get the rest. I don’t know what happened but all of a sudden, my sadness dissolved and I was filled with joy.
After about two hours, I was done unpacking. My friends had helped me with most of the unpacking. They arranged my clothes into the closet, they arranged my bed and helped me with a few other things. Not long after, I heard the bell ring and asked Annabelle the reason for the bell.
“It’s time for dinner,” Anabelle said. She hadn’t stopped smiling ever since I arrived.
“I’m so happy you’re here” She had said earlier.
I said, “okay” and followed them as we all left the room to the dining hall which was a two minutes walk from the girls hostel. We all got into the hall and went to take our seats. The hall was a big one indeed, the hostel boys and girls shared it and so it was flooded with a lot of students. I looked around while seated on my chair amazed at the plenty students that came in. From the senior boys and girls to the junior boys and girls, all in our house wear. The junior girls had a long ugly looking gown while the senior girls had a different type of gown but much more good looking. Same as the boys with the juniors in shorts and seniors in trousers. You could tell the difference from the way they dressed and also the way they behaved. You could see the junior boys like the ones in my set, Ayo and co, running around and playing in their short bodies while the senior boys strolled in coolly with their hands in their pockets. I noticed senior Daniel among the midst of some of the other senior boys laughing and chatting but I looked away not wanting him to notice me yet.
“Everyone settle down and keep quiet,” I heard the senior prefect boy shout and immediately the hall was as quiet as a graveyard. “Shall we pray,” he said again and everyone stood up with their heads bowed and eyes closed.
The next thing I heard was “For the food we are about to eat, we thank you oh lord” echoing all over the hall before they took their seats again. They began to call row by row to line up for their food. While I and my friends were still waiting to be called on, we kept on chatting until I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked at who had tapped me and saw a junior boy holding a plate with a piece of meat in his hands.
“Senior Daniel said I should give you this,” looking at him confused, I told him I didn’t want it. I mean how did he even know I was around. I didn’t even tell him I was going to be a boarder. I guessed he had seen me too. The boy refused to return it and said senior Daniel had said not to go back without handing the plate of meat to me. I sighed and collected the plate from his hands before he dashed out of sight.
“If you don’t want it, give me oo. You people will just be forming for school father again,” Funke who had probably been eyeing the meat said.
I just laughed and handed her the plate of meat before our row was called to get our food. After dinner, the same junior boy who had brought the plate of meat earlier came walking towards me.
“Senior Daniel said he wants to see you now,” he said. “He is beside the palm tree just outside the dining hall”
I nodded at his message and went immediately to see him. I already waved my friends bye and told them I would see them in the hostel. On getting to the place the junior boy had described, I saw senior Daniel leaning coolly on the palm tree.
“Hey! my baby,” he said when he saw me.
I smiled and greeted him with a ‘good evening’.
“You know, you can just say ‘hey dad’ or ‘hello dad’ or ‘hey Daniel’ you don’t have to be so formal. I’m not the house master. Anyway, how are you?
“I’m fine,” I replied.
“You know I’m angry with you,” he said again.
Smiling I said, “Did I do something wrong?”
“Your number one offence is you were coming to the hostel as a boarder and you didn’t even tell me. Two, you rejected my meat, you think I didn’t see you ehn and three you can’t even hug your school father. Chai!! My life”
“No now, it’s not…” before I could complete my statement he completed it for me.
“like that. I know oo. It’s not always like that.” he said and opened his arms gesturing me to hug him in which I did.
“I’m just teasing you but I’m still angry oo” he said but before we could talk further, I heard and saw someone call his name while walking up to us.
“Daniel, the senior prefect boy is calling you” the other senior boy said.
I’m guessing it was his friend because I used to see them hanging around together. Senior Daniel who heard this told me to go back to my hostel, that he would see me later and immediately he followed the other boy as they walked towards the boys hostel. I guessed he couldn’t say no to the senior prefect since he was still a class below him so he had to leave.
To be continued