If you had attended a boarding a school in Nigeria like mine, FGGCL, you would understand that at some point especially as a junior student for you to survive, all you have was yourself and your skillful lies, confident lies at that. My maths teacher then once said, even when you lie, lie with confidence.
I was initially and formally introduced or rather inducted into the LYINGwood walk of fame in my JSS1 by a lady, Ifeoma Ogugua, we were all small girls then. On that fateful day, we were in our class for evening prep when a senior student walked in and asked that everyone in my house (MODESTY HOUSE) in the class should come out, we were obvious because we had our day wears on, it’s past school hours, while we grudgingly made our way outside, this other girl, Ifeoma didn’t move, she was my housemate too, the only difference is that she had a track suit jacket over over her day wear blouse, so you couldn’t tell what house she is in and given that we were still in JSS1, our faces weren’t so familiar as to know your house by merely looking at you! Choi, as we stood, I was staring at Ifeoma. In my mind, I was like is this girl not in modesty house, what is she doing still seated, alot went through my head but I decided to stop staring at her lest the senior finds out and I would be the greatest snitch ever liveth and such stigma isn’t that easy to loose in secondary school.
It might interest you know that this senior student bundled me and my fellow obedient cryafishes’ (that ‘s what we called very honest and obedient students then) to the tap area and made us form long chains like slaves held together by shackles and carry her gallons of water, these gallons were from 20-50 litres (my school as at then lacked water, so any size of container was allowed for necessary water storage, because no one knows tomorrow)and we carried them in long chains from the tap area to our dormitory, which is the last building in school, what a distance! To worsen the case, other senior students made sure we were used as beast of burden to carry their gallons of water, as a new set of senior students claimed us asap, after each of our trips, and just so you know, you can’t out rightly say ‘No’ to a senior student, big woe betides you!
The first and last time a junior student (SS2) said No to a senior student (SS3) there was massive commotion in school, in fact almost all prefects except for the head girl and maybe her deputy, were demoted and suspended alongside other senior students, any senior girl that didn’t go home then was by the Grace of God and sheer luck! It was that serious!
So, right after that water saga I joined the gang, I started off by always wearing my cardigan over my day wear blouse, that way, any senior who doesn’t know my house would be deceived when she calls upon Modesty house ‘Juu’ girls (ie Junior girls), then if that didn’t work, I would tell you that Senior Nancy Igbonekwu, a very respectable senior student in my room, ‘room 8’ back then sent me, no one dares send someone running her ‘errand’, if the senior is somehow mightier or equal to senior Nancy, na to form sickness be the case, because you can’t even lie with a staff’s name, except for the principal or her deputies which is not possible after school hours, they didn’t live within the school premises, other staff’s name makes no sense except for Lilly liver seniors. who would just hiss, and ask you to gerrout from their sights! Then if the sickness claim didn’t work, forget it..you are on your way to several rounds of errands, because as you are returning, another is sending you, except if your lucky and the initial senior covers for you to escape.
Another smart tactics then was to form ‘ogbanje’, this I didn’t do because I was scared of the whole idea plus the stigma that comes with it, but there was this girl in my set, she was the chief ogbanje then, lol. Seniors feared her, except for the for the deep rooted wicked ones that didn’t send nobody, and just like that, bae was living the life, no ones sends her on errands, she carries nobody’s water or does anything for any senior student for the fear of being possessed by her, trust Naija secondary school ogbanje stories na, so bae lived life with no fear and swag until we got to senior class.
So my dears, Lying then wasn’t necessarily seen as a sin but as a means of survival like those smaller creatures with deceptive colours and attitudes to hide from preys, that was if for me and the rest of other juu girls. You can only get away if you have a powerful elder sister in senior class, even family friend sef go help or/and a powerful school mother also if you are very neat and pretty with a lot of senior toasters, your errands would be minimal except for the jealous bad belle seniors, haters didn’t start today, lol.
Back then, just at the mention of your name or house name (junior students were mostly called by their house names e.g Hey modesty house girl, come here), a thousand and one excuses that are all lies plus names of diseases have flashed through your mind, waiting for the most appropriate to be chosen at the moment. Then you can see someone suffering chest pain, hernia and appendicitis at the same time, as a matter of fact, chest pain was a common ill health especially during manual labour days, there were a lot of fainting (I woder who told us that fainting and screaming for milk were symptoms of chest pain, lol. This I didn’t do but the good actresses who did this were very good, and when this starts, bras, camisoles and singlets would start would flying up and down, we the emergency response team, would be scampering for milk, water , even Aboniki balm, all these as a means to get away from the work site), most us were allergic to rain, allergic to grasses, even dust, don’t bother asking if we are still allergic to them now, we must have outgrown them.
The Lies ended when we got to senior class, and some how came rearing it’s head when I was in NYSC camp. Believe you me, if you’ve been to NYSC camp, you would know that you can give your right arm for a good sleep of 1 hour or so. In order to achieve this, bae got put up some few stories here and there. Then I was every thing on call, depending on the day it would save and suit me best, from dentist on call, to doctor on call (when most of the soldiers kept asking which one be dentist again, SMH. I quickly switched, my marker and plain sheet were ever ready), Red Cross Member, etc if it were possible to be camp commandant on call, I would still be so. Apart from being on call, because at times, the call sef no go save you, so I would come up with a fairy tale of being sick, being in my period and dying of badass cramps (this is something most of the soldiers hate to hear except for the females that are so aggressive like they knew us all and had beef with us before camp).
This helped me sleep through most of the morning parades that I didn’t feel like joining, though my platoon, Platoon 4 was lit AF. But body no be firewood, jare!
I once told our RSM, that I was having Hyper Pancreatic Colonitis, before I could finish up my medical jargons, he said “abeg waka, na you know, make sure u go treat yourself”, I always have camp clinic doctor’s note written myself as back up. In all,camp was fun except for SAEED lectures!
So do you think all these would be recorded as sins for me and co, and not as use of cerebrum to escape dangerous situation as smart homo sapiens?? We did what we got to do. What do you think??
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Note; All names used are real names, if the people in question feel uncomfortable, kindly inform me to change it. Thank you