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Poem-That place I want to be

I’m torn between that place and the other one where I want to be.
Prevented by social niceties and norms, I cannot yet say what I truly feel.
I cannot remain mute, lest my intentions not be clear, but I cannot come out lest they be misinterpreted as insincere.
I’m torn, yes I truly am, between that place and where I want to be, yes that place where many lie, but truly never want to be.
I try to be subtle, but she’s a lady she won’t budge; it’s in her nature to be discrete without so much as a gentle nudge. A nudge in the right direction, that’s all I plead, or maybe it is too early for that pointer I so desperately need.
Oh yes I’m torn, so torn between that place and where I want to be…
If thoughts could speak, you would hear me, for they scream out loud but are veiled like a shroud.
Oh that place I so long to be, I see it in my mind as clear as the blue sea; so calm yet treacherous.
I’m torn between that place and the other one where I want to be…
How long will it take? I would wait for ever if need be,
but I don’t want to, this place I am is so uncomfortable; the uncertainty seeps in and  drains you, leaving a feeling of…vulnerable?
Oh that place, I don’t want to be, won’t you come take a hold and release me?

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From between the cracks in the planks making up the walls of the ship, I could see the rising waves washing against the polished boards. My lips were dry and cracked from the salty breeze which showered down its droplets with each roaring rise of the tides. I was surrounded by darkness, and could barely stretch my legs forward further than the length of my body. Mosquitoes swarmed around me, and the stench of my own sweat nauseated me.

The ship rocked continuously as the waves crashed unforgivingly against the hull. The hollow screams of my mate still sounded in my ears as I wondered what it would be like to die.

One of us had been caught; there was a scuffle, a loud blood curling scream, a huge splash of water, then calm silence…that was the beginning of the end.

Many people before us had survived the dangerous journey across these waters to the riches beyond. As children we lived on tales of brave boys and men who had crossed the sea and now drove big cars and lived in huge mansions. Like most of the other boys my age, I had two choices; stay home and work the fields or dare the sea and live on honey.  I chose honey.

The first part of the trip had been easy. I had saved up enough money from selling vegetables and yams in the market, and had just enough to pay for the bus trip through the Malian desert. On the Malian border with Algeria we were met by Bashir, a Bedouin traveler whose caravan we joined for the rocky desert trip. After a journey of many adventures, which included being robbed by bandits and then abandoned by Bashir, we finally made it to the shore from which we were to make our journey across the sea.

The original plan had been to cross with a merchant to whom we had already paid a huge sum of money. He never showed up though, neither did his ship. Here we were, miles from home, in a strange country, with no money to go back, the only way was forward.

We decided to hang around at the harbour as the ships docked and try to sneak onto one of the ships. Each ship flew some sort of flag or the other. We didn’t really take notice of the flags though, I had enquired from one of the ship hands as to where the ships were destined for, and he told me they were all headed for Europe. That was enough for me, Europe, never matter the country, I just needed to get to Europe.

There were four of us, who made the trip from home, but on the day we made our way on to the ship, there were three of us; Budum had opted to stay behind and try to make a living in the harbour city.

On the first day of each week the docked ships were disembarked of all crew for fumigation to be carried out. We hid under the tarpaulin covering a pile of yams which was to be loaded onto one of the ships. As soon as the workmen were done with the first ship, we crept out from beneath the canvas and slid in the shadows towards the bow of the ship over which some rope ladders swung.

Aided by the darkness, we were able to board the ship and headed straight through the latch towards the lower decks. Once below, we realized the ship had two floors beneath the upper deck, we headed further down to the lower deck onto a corridor leading to the engine room. Adjacent to the engine room was another room, into which we entered. The room was about a meter and a half high and three meters across. From the table and chairs scattered in the room, it was clear this was a meeting room of some kind. Some bottles of whisky scattered on the floor looked like they had been emptied recently, and in the corner some cutlasses stood up against the wall. Up on the ceiling, I noticed an uneven piece of the wooden slates boarding it up creep out of position. It was just big enough for a  man to slide through. I went through first, held up by my two comrades Kow and Adum. It was a dark stuffy enclosure which separated the lower and middle decks, a damp, moist feeling met the nose and cobwebs wound across my face as I tried to feel my way through the darkness. The wooden boarding was strong enough beneath my knees and didn’t feel like giving way. Satisfied it would make a perfect dwelling, I came back to the mouth beckoning my comrades up.

For two days, by which time the ship had boarded and set sail, we survived on biscuits and some water which we had “picked up” from our time scavenging the harbour. In the room beneath us there was a lavatory so we ventured out cautiously when we needed to use the toilet. Luckily for us so far, most of the crew hardly came to this floor except for a few of the engineers from the engine room, so we had so far managed to avoid being spotted. When our food run out however, we had to start venturing beyond.

The kitchens were located on the floor just above, and on the third night we drew lots to choose who was to risk it. I drew the shortest match; at midnight I would venture into the kitchens.

It was a good thing no one had yet come through those doors at night, for Kow snored louder than a wolf, and had anyone come close, we would definitely have been found out.

From our little hide out we could hear most of what went on above. The room directly above us was a cabin; loud roaring snores shook the deck below at night, and that’s where I got my cue to move. The cabin was right beside the kitchen, and each night when the snores started, it wasn’t long before the clanging of pans in the next room ceased, and all went still.

I eased the slate over the opening to the side and after squinting through to make sure nothing moved below, I gently lowered myself down. Something twitched in the far corner where I remembered the cutlasses stood. My heart stopped a moment as I twirled where I stood…it was just a mouse breathed again and tip toed towards the open door. To the right, at the end of the corridor was the hatch which led to the upper deck. I felt my way cautiously through the darkness along the corridor, eventually making my way up onto the floor above and along the corridor which headed towards a door at the far end.

This floor was not quite dissimilar from the one below; the kitchen was at the end of the corridor. The snores bellowing out of the open cabin door threatened to swallow anyone who came near. The kitchen door was shut, but gave way easily as I pressed against it. The lights were on. Several barrels stood against a wall in the corner. The barrels were stuffed with cereals and bread, and from hooks hanging from the rafters, pieces of dried meat dangled down. I stuffed my pockets with as much meat as they could contain, took my shirt off and tied up about two armfuls of bread in it. I looked around but couldn’t find any water. I would have stayed longer and eaten my full, but the cabin door creaked and then I heard footsteps.

I hid behind the open door as a very scruffy looking man, with a cutlass strapped to his waist slumped through and went straight for one of the barrels.  He rummaged through for a while and then pulled out a bottle of spirit, and headed back towards the opened door, grabbing an empty jug from one of the tables on his way out.

I peeked through the crack between the hinges and watched him head along the corridor past the cabin. I waited a few minutes till I heard footsteps come along the corridor once more and then disappear into the open cabin door.

I couldn’t get the sight of that man out of my head. He had the look of Jack Sparrow about him; the spirits, the cutlass, the scruffy look. Come to think of it, the cutlasses down in the lower deck had got me quite worried when I first saw them, but the appearance of this man brought this worry to a much dreaded head. I tried to put my mind to ease a little and headed back along the corridor.

The cool sea breeze felt like gold in the pocket as I cleared the final rung through the hatch onto the platform above. I had left the loaves of bread tied up in my shirt below so I could climb up more freely. The waves below roared as they made their uniform dives around the ship. In the middle around the main mast, stood several plastic barrels. I opened one up, dipped a finger in and tasted…Water!

Within five minutes I had filled up some jars I had found lying on the deck and made my way back below. Soon I was back up in the attic beside Kow and Adum.

We survived on what we had for another week, still managing to stay undetected in our little hole. Finally we run out and had to draw lots again. The duty fell to Adum. He would be next to risk life and limb for our survival. I gave him a pep talk on where and how to find the food and water, and after a brief prayer we helped him down into the room below and he scurried off.

The darkness around us seemed darker than usual and the suspense was deafening as we anxiously awaited his return. Thirty minutes passed, and then forty five, and now I was really worried. We sat impatiently both of us wondering what had become of our comrade.

We found out soon enough; a brief commotion, followed by several muffled protests, then a loud piercing scream, before the huge splash. There was dead silence for a while before the alarm was raised. There were heavy thuds above as the men were roused from their bunks. It wasn’t for nothing that I thought that man had an air of Jack Sparrow about him; of all the ships we could have boarded, we had the worst luck of picking a pirate ship!

It wasn’t long till we were smoked out of our hole by the pirates and paraded up to the deck. The surroundings were all too familiar; the barrels around the mast…tears streaked down my eyes as I contemplated the fate that befell us.

I thought the plank only existed in pirate movies, but then also had I previously thought pirates only existed in movies. Their guffaws of laughter drummed in my ears and I dared not look back at Kow as I was forced near the end of the long board of wood hanging over the edge of the ship. A cutlass was held to my neck as I made the long, slow walk. The echoes of Adum’s screams sounding in my head, along with the glistening edge of the blade gave me an idea of what would happen if I so much as resisted. I tried hard to drown out their eerie bawls of laughter as I trembled towards the drop.

The waves below roared loudly as if they were calling out to me, and then my mind blanked out as I took my last breath and then jumped into the deep blue depths beneath me.

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HIGH SCHOOL…agbala!

Juju, black magic, agbala, call it what you want, they all mean the same. Back in High school tales abounded of it. There were boys who were supposed to have powers to teleport to town and back, girls who could bewitch the boy of their dreams, and those dreaded few who had the power of supernatural punishment for those who dared cross them.

There was Gazonga who would chew on broken glass bottles and swallow it just for the fun of it. There were some who swore he could levitate and had seen him do it. He never denied it, neither did he ever confirm it, but such were the rumours around him that many believed he might even be able to raise the dead!

Then there was Kay Gee. No one knows where and how he got his powers, or if indeed he even had any; his claims were mostly self-originating. He could summon dwarfs, and make them do his bidding, were some of the more ridiculous rumours making the rounds.  

But no matter how much uninclined to the supernatural you were, there were some occurrences which would have made the most die-hard unbeliever question his beliefs.

During our first year in Triple H, we woke up to the news one morning that a dozen or so boys and girls had been caught breaking bounds; they had been to a fun fair in a different school miles away and had been spotted by an informant. Following the trend of such incidents in Triple H, we all knew what was to happen next; suspension, most likely indefinite or at the very best internal. Soon enough the culprits had gone through the largely procedural process of the disciplinary committee, and their impending dismissal seemed inevitable.

On the weekend before the expected announcement, there was a thunder storm, the likes of which I had never seen before; absolutely no rain, just thunder and lightning. People were thrown to the ground by the sheer force of the thunder alone. It was the kind of thing for which you would have had to be there to appreciate the magnitude of. It was definitely beyond the natural, for those of you who believe, it was supernatural.

An air of excitement hung in the sky the morning of the expected announcement at Assembly. Prayers were said, then the unfortunate few were called forward, and after stating their offence, the headmaster took a step back…we all waited with baited breath for the gauntlet to fall…

What followed next was nigh on unbelievable and next to impossible in Triple H, the Headmaster gave an amnesty. It was his birthday supposedly, so he had forgiven them all…         

There was a hushed silence, and then we all broke out into loud murmurings. We knew there was something definitely eerie about that thunder storm, but this announcement had confirmed the rumours which were going around…apparently a couple of the students had taken the case to the feared deity , nogokpo, and that the thunder  and lightning  had been sent to warn the headmaster off .

I witnessed that that thunder storm, the memories of which still live within me, I never had and till now, haven’t still seen anything like it.

There is nothing High school boys liked to hear better than tales of mystic fights fuelled by the devil’s messengers themselves, and one such tale is what I’m about to tell…

Bakus and Kay-gee were students of Triple H and in Trost house. It all started one dry harmattan night in dorm B. A little squabble over gari and shito spiralled into a full blown brawl on lawn four. Standing less than a metre apart from one another, upper cuts and head butts were exchanged. Some swore fireballs were thrown. A coconut cracked in two when Bakus missed a blow aimed at Kay-gee’s head, and then the ground beneath them shook, almost splitting the earth in two. Bakus in a rage raised his hand, drawing lightning from the sky, which Kay Gee repelled with a defensive shield he summoned from a nearby tree…

I believed this story with all my heart (yes, I never actually witnessed it)  up to yesterday when I met Kay-Gee after almost five years, and his own version of events compared to the legend was a huge upset and really disappointing.

To begin with, the fight stayed in the dorm and never made it to the lawn. Secondly Kay- Gee on his own account never actually managed to land a blow; Bakus intercepted his only aimed blow and lifted him up and slammed him against the bed. That was as far as the action got, for the other boys soon intervened.

So no fire balls were thrown it turns out, neither did the ground shake, Kay-Gee bowed out of that fight with a whimper.  

To be honest, that fight had sounded quite incredulous all along, but I had been inclined to believe it along with the others. Perhaps, the solemnity with which the tale was handed down, along with the mystic personas the likes of Bakus and Kay-Gee walked around with helped fuel those beliefs.

That lightning and thunder storm was no myth though, I saw it with my own eyes and felt my body tremble at the sound of the thunder. No matter what you say, I tell you the supernatural well and truly exists, and so would all who witnessed that storm on that fateful day at Triple H.

 

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Sorrows Beyond The Hills

The tallest and eldest of the siblings tripped up on a half-buried stump as he tried to avoid a group of children who suddenly ran across them. His mind went back a few years as he saw those children playing; he might have had a child of his own.  A feeling of guilt welled up inside him as he recollected how he denied ever sleeping with her, let alone impregnating her. A small tear streaked down his face as the look of anguish in her eyes suddenly rushed back to him.

His name was Obiri, he was young and immature back then, and had escaped his responsibilities as a father. That was the last time he’d seen her. She had probably moved to one of the neighbouring villages.

The other two trudged along behind him, machetes slung over their drooping shoulders and with those sturdy rubber sandals carved from old rotten car tyres covering their dust cracked feet. Beyond the horizon lay the mountains where they were headed.

Back home, in the confines of their old mud hut lay their sick, weak and poverty- stricken parents. Times were hard; even these once fertile lands could no longer bear fruit, not even if their battered old frames could bring themselves to cultivate them once again. They had borne three strong sons in their youth and now it was time for them to pay back the debt.   

The three made the same journey most days of a week; through forests, over hills, and across dry perilous lands, towards the valleys of the south.  Unsure if they would even make it back for the night, but desperate that they at least brought home another meal, each time they wandered back into the unknown.

Their mission was simple, to dig; to mine for gold, but alas! They were not real miners, they had neither safety gears, nor any proper tools; just pickaxes and mallets.

They had no assets, no annuities, not even allowances; self-employed they were, and each day they worked on the brink of life and death.

They were “galamseyers”. 

They consorted with deadly surroundings, hitting mercilessly at those hard unforgiving rocks, which bit back just as hard, eating huge bits into their unprotected hands.

Deep trenches marked the boundaries around the steep inclines, which were their almost daily confines.

Digging around them, were other groups of young men. Around the edges of the clearing, where the bushes lay, young children and their mothers cracked endlessly at huge boulders blown away by the dynamites. They came from the many villages around and were paid about a cedi each for a bucketful , which could be considered quite a good return but only if, you ignored the fact that a single bucket could sometimes take a whole day to fill up.  

They had been digging for quite some time now and yet to no avail; that was the life of a galamseyer; some days you got some, other days you got nothing. For them it was already beginning to look like one of those days you did not, and it had begun to drizzle too.

Just a few paces behind them from within one of the pits, a muscular young man suddenly emerged screaming with delight. He had struck a monstrous patch of rock which seemed to glisten with the yellow powder. That was that for the day then, together with two others, they proceeded to break the rock up into smaller bits. That was their survival ensured for another month at least.

It was growing dark, and with nothing to show for all the hard work, and with the rain now pouring, they ran for shelter under an old abandoned shed together with about four or five unlucky others. It was too late to start the treacherous journey home now.  If they weren’t attacked by those marauding bandits who prowled the night bushes looking to ambush one of the nearby mine company’s trucks, they might just find themselves as supper for some lucky wild species of animal.

And with nothing to show for all their endeavour today, they might as well stay and dig in the early hours and hope to quite literally, strike gold. The next day was a market day and they could hope to trade the raw ore with some merchant and get supplies to take back home.  

It was an old shelter, used by the miners who ran shifts in the nearby shafts of the Ashanti gold mine, so there were a few old blankets lying around. The men dragged some benches together and lying side by side they shared the blankets between them. 

The rain pattering down on the aluminium roofing sheets above was soon drowned out by the heavy snores of the dreary young men who took shelter beneath its comforting shade.

There was a stinging sensation on his chest, he hit out to swat that troubling mosquito, but then it surfaced again, this time on his shoulder, he hit out again, then again on his left toe. Suddenly there was a shrill scream from the far corner.  Ogyam, the second of the three siblings had leapt off his bench furiously scratching on his scrotum…”so.. so…soldier ants” he blurted out as he ran off into the gloomy dusk ahead. One or two others threw off the blankets and sure enough there was an entire colony of the deadly claw-headed ants marching up around them.

That was no mosquito, Kofi quickly realised, and jumped up writhing in agony as he pulled off a struggling ant which had sunk its mandibles deep into the folds above his eyelids.  

The first roosters had begun to awake, and their drawling hoots pierced the skies just as they did the ears of the drowsy miners.

They grudgingly pulled their axes out, and trudged out into the dark dawn, rubbing furiously at the small bumps tattooed on them by their tiny oppressors as they went. The rain had soaked the ground so they had to take gentle steps to avoid slipping up.

Obiri, led them out from their encampment. They could barely see a thing in this light, but they trolled on. Obiri had spotted a clearing a few yards out from where they and the others had been working the day before.

That area used to be a concession of the mine company. It had been abandoned a year back because the environmental agency had deemed the pits unsafe.

A little further ahead, on a little hill, near the bushes, a mother and child who had defied the rains, and most probably worked through the night and bitter cold, could be heard chipping away at the rocks.  This was a cruel life; his belly protruded from lack of nutrition, his hands were chapped from the many nights hitting out at those stones. He was so young but already so exposed.

The mother wore a hard, tired look on her face, and her child, he had no father.  

It happened about four years ago, she didn’t talk about it anymore; the memory was too painful.  

Her son was all she thought about now, it pained her to have to bring him along to work with her, but that was the only way they could survive. She was young but already too weak. Years of hard work had taken its toll. Her legs were weak, her back already bent over.

She cracked the bigger boulders with her mallet, she then pushed the smaller stones to her son, who broke them down even further, and then gathered them in a metal bucket between them.

Back where the miners were, some cocoyam grew wild. Two of them had started a fire, and had begun roasting some of the small balls of fibrous whiteness which grew within the brown skins of the tubers. In and around the grasses and roots, there were small shallow holes. To the untrained eye these were probably just as they were…holes, but to the trained eyes of most of these village folks, those holes were food in the purest, rawest form. Those were rat holes. Not the sewer species, the bush species. They called them kusie.

A couple of the lads were poking around in some of these holes to see if they might catch the lazy rat who hadn’t woken up early enough.  

Luck struck all of a sudden when in a blaze of brown rush, a ton of a rat scurried out of one of those holes…the chase was on. Abandoning all other things, these young men leapt over branches, dived through thorny bushes and skidded across muddy patches. The rat, not to be outdone by these incredibly athletic men did a few acrobats of its own; hurling its relatively tiny body over huge paces in single leaps and somersaulting through tiny gaps between hedges. The rat must have felt like a fugitive in a police chase; here it was being hunted by what must have been at least seven men. This was perfect flight, but it was soon brutishly cut down, stopped in mid-flight by a savage blow to the head. Its twisted little body suddenly froze and came tumbling down to earth with all the grace of a felled log of timber

A huge roar rose amongst the men of the chase, axes and machetes raised in triumph.  Now they could eat, but for the small detail that the rat was still uncooked. Their joy was soon cut short however; before they could start cooking the poor little beast, from behind the joyous melee, a sudden piercing scream rang out. The birds abandoned their perches high up in the trees beyond as the echoes of the shrill cry reverberated across the plain. It had come from the gentle hills up ahead; from where the young mother and her child had been cracking stones.

The men ran towards the noise, abandoning all as they raced up towards the hill. At the foot of the slope, just before the hill began its steep undulating climb, the young mother, tears welling up in her eyes as her shoulders heaved heavily, was on her knees clutching a small frame close to her chest. It was her young boy a thick patch of blood soaked the earth beneath where he lay …he had fallen front first on a stump of a felled tree. Its edges were still sharp and they had pierced the boy through killing him instantly. It was a quick death; he would have felt no pain. He still had clutched in his little fingers, a long stick; his weapon to hunt a rat. He had heard the cry of the men and had leapt to join in the chase, and most probably tripped up on a loose piece of grass.

The miners slowly gathered round now, all other things forgotten and abandoned. Tears flooded their eyes as the mother grieved for her son.

Obiri pushed his way to the front of the pack, he recognized that face, but could not bring himself to look in her eyes, his shoulders heaved heavily as he bent down to cradle the small lifeless body. She pushed him away, “He is not your son”, she managed to snarl through the tears.

He turned away, his shoulders heaving even more as the tears streaked down his face.

This mother had a child no more, and he had no son.

 

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HIGH SCHOOL…bitter lessons…

When a blood hound smells blood, whichever unfortunate mammal that bleeds at that moment is definitely a goner…I had been cut wide open; a scathing wound which couldn’t be hid.“he said he would sell them calculators”? Mr Torku had smelt blood and he was boring in for the kill…
Lee and I had been friends from the first week of school. We went to class together, broke into chop boxes together (thug)…we did everything together,so naturally if I was in trouble, his name was bound to pop up somewhere…
On that day when Andrews and Cephas had offered to buy books from me, Lee naturally saw this offer as an extension upon himself, and in rash excitement had gone on to proclaim what was meant to be nothing more than that; a rash statement…the boy had no calculators, nor did he have any plans of getting any.
I denied ever making that statement, because I never did…and Mr Torku, obviously looking to squeeze the ‘truth’ out of me asked for Andrews to be brought in…”…from the horses own mouth”,were the trailing ends of his words,the beginnings of which were muzzled up in my fizzied brains.
So he was brought in, I tried avoiding making eye contact with him, but that was almost impossible as i listened to him repeat word after word of what I had said. Then he got to the part we all waited for…then, I spoke up, ” did I say I’d sell you calculators”?…he stuttered as he replied,” I heard someone say it” I interjected before he could land, “was it me”?…as Andrews stood there not knowing what to say, I realised i had a chance to let them know who really said it, and perhaps dig myself out a little more from the quagmire I had been sucked into…
lee who was quite a bully sometimes, was already facing disciplinary action of his own, and was something of a haunted species. He could very well have found himself out of the school if his name surfaced here, so even as Andrews struggled to pinpoint where that statement came from, i just continued to insist it wasn’t me.
One would have thought that Andrews’ inability to pin those definite words on me would have salvaged some of my seemingly pre-determined fate, but alas, that was not to be.
With not much more left to be said now, I, together with Andrews was asked to leave and told we would be summoned later.
My mind was made up, there was no way I was going back in there. It was done, I knew I was going home. I walked the short trip up to Trost house, totally ignoring Andrews who had shuffled back over to the library where he’d apparently been waiting all along.
As I made my way up to the dorm, I threw my mind back to the sequence of events which had landed me in this mess. I didn’t see the Andrews’ stuff coming, but for crying out loud I should have known something was wrong when Cephas came up along him and showed interest in a book too…I hardly spoke with that guy!with him sitting somewhere in the middle of the class, we were almost a universe apart, but yet I had let myself trip…that goes to show how naive I probably was back then…and yeah!…it boils down to greed too.
I planned not to go back whatever happened, but an hour later I was woken up by no other than Mr Torku himself; I was wanted back in the sahendrine…
It was more of the same basically, but now I got to know what triggered the whole thing…
Some girl had claimed she had lost her school fees, and that she quite remembered sitting over in my corner of the class during prep when she’d supposedly left it there…
Any master with the slightest idea what an investigation was would then have then gone on to ascertain my whereabouts on that day to determine if indeed I was at prep or even in school on the said day…if he had, he would have known that I had obtained an exeat a full 12 hours before that fateful day and had arrived back in school another 4 hours after the supposed loss had occurred. A little further probing would then have revealed that I never even prepped in my own classroom. All these put together would have clearly shown I was no where near the ‘crime scene’ at the said times to have even been considered a suspect, let alone to have triggered a set up.
I was tried on a false premise, and upon me was delivered a flawed verdict…sooner or later those gates of triple H I knew I would see no more…

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HIGH SCHOOL…kangaroo court…

The rule of law dictates that each and every person be entitled to a fair trial…
A fair trial is further interpreted as the right to defend oneself…these are the very basics of the law…but even that, I never got.
Every sentence I made was interjected with a “shut up”,” keep quiet” or a plain rude gesture…
The tribunal was made up of a house master from each house, the senior house master, and a couple other teachers…to confirm my fear that this incident had been blown way out of proportion, the assistant head master was present for the proceedings too… And then there was Mr Akpadie as well, who doubled as the representative for student disciplinary issues. So quite unfortunately for me I had both my house masters present, none of whom particularly liked me. Accusation after accusation was levelled against me, some of which bore no relevance whatsoever to the issues at hand; Mr Akpadie accused me of smoking wee…and as serious an accusation as that sounded, not even that surprised me…what did, was the strength I found to yell,”that’s a lie”! And then when I tried to explain why I had ‘Blow’s’ elective maths textbook in my possession, I was again harshly shut down (Mr.Torku had again raised this issue even though the explanation was quite simple; Blow himself had given it to me) and it wasn’t as if Blow hadn’t explained this earlier on…
The closest I came to having my side of the story heard was the statement I had been asked to write down, and even that was only referred to when it corroborated their own version of events…other details such as where I had fully explained where the school fund magazine had come from, were overlooked, with Mr Torku still insisting I had stolen library books, despite my many smothered protests.
When it seemed nothing else could possibly go wrong, and with me generally resigned to my fate, Mr Torku who was acting as a moderator of sorts proclaimed he was ready to present the ‘prosecution’s’ star witness…mentally, I had reached the point where I could no longer be bothered; they seemed bent on condemning me, no matter what I said…all I could think of right now was what my parents would say…I was dreading that much more than the prospect of leaving Triple H.
I stood and watched as a social studies teacher who also acted as our class advisor was ushered in and narrated in detail how he had set upon me a group of spies within my own class.”But why”? I thought to myself, “why me”? I listened as he spoke of how together with two boys he had met after school plotting how to bait me…till one of them came up with a plan…it was simple, they would trick me, and then have me commit myself…there would be no way out of it for me then,
I had even said I could sell them calculators, he went on…
Wait a minute!…that wasn’t me, I never said that!…I stood there dazed, everything was beginning to make sense…the book, the money, Andrews over at the house…this was all clear now….then he said it, “so I gave him the money to buy the ‘stolen’ book” (but that book was never stolen, it was mine)…
I knew now, but didn’t want to believe it… that spy the man talked about was my own friend,…Andrews!…

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HIGH SCHOOL…treachery…

People wonder how I remember so much about stuff which happened way back in school, but it’s hard to forget things like this which make you wonder if it’s some peoples’ mission in life to just screw you up. To begin with, despite Mr Torku being my house master, and ultimately being responsible for my well being within the walls of the school, he saw no reason to inform me of my impending date with the law, even though I had walked past him twice the previous evening, and him even asking me how I was doing. It would have meant therefore that had it not been for Roger’s inadvertent stumbling upon such crucial information, I would have woken up that morning totally unaware of what I was about to face…a lamb being led to the slaughter.
The whole house knew by now what was going on, and there was a keen sense of anticipation when Mr Torku assembled us for morning briefing before assembly, but even then he gave no hint.
It happened just before breakfast break, there we sat waiting for the teacher to dismiss us, when a voice came over the announcer…”The following students should report to the senior house master’s office immediately…” I never heard my name;probably because I was trembling so much inside, but whenever that voice was heard in that manner, everyone knew what was about to happen…then almost instantaneously, the classroom door flew open, and there stood Mr Torku together with the house prefect, head boy, and head girl…he pointed me out and beckoned me over…
They led me towards the dorm…
even though I was aware of what was happening, this sudden twist got me nervous as ever
As half of the school looked on, I was led straight to my trunk and asked to open it…I did, they rummaged through, looking for heaven knows what…finally Mr Torku pulled out a national geographic magazine which had a stamp on it, “school fund” it read…and held it triumphantly with an almost devilish smile on his face…
I was as perplexed as the others standing around, because they all knew where those “school fund” books came from, and of every dozen of them standing around, seven at least had one in their trunk.
With an air of excited importance, he declared, “this is a stolen library book”…to say I was shocked beyond my wits would be a terrible understatement, I was flabbergasted…the previous month a truck load of books and magazines donated by a group of past students had been offloaded by a group of students and teachers alike, and each and every person around, including the teachers had walked off with at least a copy each…so what was Mr Torku talking about??? Was I being accused of stealing library books?…if so, I could easily defend myself, afterall the Andrews issue could easily be explained away, and for those “school fund” books, I would have at least ten witnesses…or so I thought…
This whole thing was much deeper than it showed on the surface, and I was once again led away, this time to await my day in court.
My statement was taken, ‘evidence’ was tendered in, evidence of which comprised my old tattered geography hand book, and the National Geographic magazine….and then I was asked to wait outside…
Any confidence I had managed to build up so far was immediately eroded the moment I was called in; opening arguments were made, and I soon realised I had landed myself in the middle of a very intricate set up….

Watch out for……HIGH SCHOOL…Kangaroo court….

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HIGH SCHOOL…the end beckons…

The book was sold, the waakye was bought…an agreement was struck; I would look through my trunk, so would Lee…any books we could spare, Andrew could have them…all at very cheap, below-market rates.
The rest of the day crawled by very slowly; more boring classes, another break, and then finally the siren signalling end of classes and beginning of lunch sounded…and that was when what was to become two days of nightmare began…
I was rummaging through my trunk for my plate and cutlery; we were having yam and stew today, which was one of my favourites, and I sure didn’t want to be late. I had just pulled out a rather crooked-looking fork from under the paper-lining when Roger, the assistant head boy came through the door and pulled me aside…
He sounded rather grim, “what have you done this time”? Had he not looked even grimmer than he sounded, I would have taken this to be a prank of sorts, but he couldn’t have looked any more serious.
What he told me next left a sick feeling in my stomach, and food was the last thing left on my mind now. He had just returned from the house master’s house and had overheard a conversation which the master was having on the phone, apparently with someone higher up the ladder, for my name was mentioned a bit too many times, and with it a clause dreaded amongst students; DC…or disciplinary committee for long…
Mr Torku was Trost house master, he had more than once threatened to get me kicked out of school, for reasons I never quite got, and this time around he seemed ready to carry out his threat…he had been on the phone with the senior house master when Roger eaves dropped on the conversation..the master had been arranging for an emergency disciplinary committee hearing the next morning, and I, it seemed was its primary focus…
It soon became apparent to me what the matter was when Roger mentioned his spotting of Andrews standing outside Mr Torku’s house at the time the call was made…and his overhearing of the words textbook and calculators mentioned too…
But how? what could have gone wrong? That was my own book, and I was perfectly entitled to sell it if I so pleased…
The plot thickened when Andrews,a day student, himself turned up in the dormitory…he looked anxious and talked very quickly…blaming me for putting him in trouble???
Here was the deal….Andrew claimed the book I had sold him wasn’t mine and that it belonged to some third former who had seen it in his possession and after demanding for it back, had gone on to report to the senior house master, who had then gone on to inform Mr Torku, and that he Andrews was therefore being considered as a suspect in an unrelated theft case in another house more than two hundred metres from Trost.
Even in my confused and terrified state; for the appearance of one before the DC was no joking matter, I could still realise the many flaws in his statement…for one, what was Oshogbo doing with a book all the way over at wilberforce house, and at break time, when he wasn’t even a boarder..
Secondly, in the unlikely event that he was indeed in possession of the book at that time,what were the chances of a pamphlet of which a quarter of the school had a copy, being pointed out by the ‘real’ owner? Especially when that pamphlet had undergone very recent destruction and change,when I had accidentally ripped half of the cover off earlier in the morning…
That night was one of the longest nights in my life; I didn’t sleep a second…I lay there eyes wide opened. Finally the rising bell sounded, and I sat up in my bed….morning had come, and this was the dawn of my date with destiny…

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HIGH SCHOOL….the beginning of the end…

Back in school If ever someone had told you I would have gotten in trouble over a book, you would have probably whacked him over the head with a bat..most especially if that book was a text book…
But that is precisely what happened in my second year at Triple H…In what must definitely go down as one of the greatest betrayal stories in human history, I found myself inextricably entangled in a web of deceit, misfortune, lies, and pure bad luck, which would ultimately lead to my pre-mature exit from the school I now call my Alma Mater.
As it was with all mondays mornings, or come to think of it every darned morning, I found myself barely half -awake in the middle of the first morning lesson..
hunger was solely to blame for my almost comatose state this time round; with my chop box totally empty, the dining hall break was all I could think of most of the lesson, and that break was at 9!..
As I cocked my dreary eyes towards the door for the umpteenth time, my eyes caught the watch on Andrews’ hand…the digits read 7:14…bloody hell!…
Andews ‘Oshogbo’ Ayawli was the oldest kid in the class…come to think of it, he was probably no kid at all; conservative estimates at the time put him anywhere between 19 and 25…and that was for a class with an average age of 16…
Short, stout, and massively hairy, Oshogbo was the almost perfect stereotype for a quite abundant breed in Triple H; older-than-the-others, all-knowing type..overgrown baboons…Every class had at least one of them…and in SS2 Arts II, Oshogbo was the resident evil…
We got on quite well though;cracking of jokes here and there, and even the occasional bowl of waakye…it would be forgiven therefore that I felt nothing amiss when he leaned back in class that morning asking to buy a geography text book from me…
Lee was my dorm mate, and also sitting mate in class…anywhere he could be found, I was definitely not too far away from…this was the time of term where gari, shito and tin fish were available in almost negligible quantities; quite akin to a famine (hala season, they called it) , and but for the dining hall, many of us would have looked far worse than the sack of bones which we already were…and so on hearing Oshogbo ask to buy a book from me, lee saw an opportunity and quickly jumped in, “we could even get you calculators”…
Those words would later come back to haunt me in a big way, and become the final nail in the coffin that took me away from Triple H…
The truth was lee owned no calculator of his own, let alone have one to sell, and neither did I have any text books…but the thought of the extra revenue I could get from selling my own copy of Mr Torku’s geography handbook (which quite frankly I never read) got me buzzing…and I quickly agreed to sell him that..
On hindsight, I probably should have been a bit suspicious at the willingness with which he took out a 20,000 cedi note (which is 2 cedis now) and bought the pamphlet off me, even though he had one of his own…but as I said, we got on quite well and I least would have expected the spectacular chain of events which unfolded next….