I started walking to school by seven thirty in the morning, in the hope of getting in time for the assembly of pupils, but my hopes were dashed. I wake up five thirty every school day,because mother can’t afford the fee for the government bus that convey pupils in our village to school. This alone makes learning more difficult for me as I have to hawk vegetables every morning before leaving for school so mother could give me the twenty naira I need to buy food during lunch hour in school. On my way to school this morning, some boys were laughing at me saying, ” is your father not a professor in the city? how come you keep mending your school uniform instead of getting a new one?” It was then I realized my uniform has gotten so torn that you could see my red pant showing underneath. Mother has stitched diferent cloths to various parts of my uniform which makes the uniform look worse. Most times in school, I feel bad and depressed because I’m always looking so tattered and rough; its the same old stockings I’ve been using right from basic one are what I’m still using in basic three. It’s gotten torn again and my toes are poking out of it. All these were what I was thinking about after those boys finally got tired of making jest of me and left and I slowed down unconsciously. As a result, I was still about ten meters away from the school gate when I heard the school bell ringing. I ran as fast as I could but the teacher on duty was already at the gate before I got there. I was denied entrance into the school by the teacher and made to wait till i was joined by some other pupils who were also late. We were each given four strokes of cane after which we were asked to weed the bushy area behind the principal’s office. By the time i was through with my own portion of the bush, the maths teacher was already in class and it was only the fact that I was his favourite student that saved me from standing outside through out his period. By twelve noon , the bell was rung once again to notify everyone that its time to take a break from studies. I went to a food vendor and ordered for a plate of soya beans. I dipped my hand into my pockets to bring out money to pay for what I’ve ordered only to realize that there was no money in my pocket. Aghast, I tried begging my classmates for money but none answered me. ” Won’t you pay me the ten naira for the soya beans?”, the food vendor shouted. I could not answer her and this irritated her further and she started insulting me, ” stupid girl, no wonder your father left your mother. You have decided to start stealing! I’m sure you are really a bastard….” She continued yelling at me even though I’ve returned the plate of soya beans to her back. I started walking back to the classroom in shame, my feet were heavy as everyone under the tree were pointing and making jest of me.
to be continued.