once upon a boarder



JS3 and SS3 were exam classes so if you were in either of those years, school holidays were non-existent. I don’t know what Jesus said to my mum but when I tried my luck and asked if I could be a day student during JS3 extension, she said yes! My mother, the chairman of the pro boarding association, said yes! It was a miracle. Every morning, I would take a cooler of food for my boarder pals (I gatchu girls!) and take a spare empty cooler for myself. I’d pick up my friend Toni, who lived round the corner from me, and we’d swing by Ghana High or Mama Rita on our way to school.

Directions. You are welcome.

Directions. You are welcome.


Ghana High was THE BUSINESS! Their jollof rice, ewa agoyin and fried stew were out of this world. One morning we got there and they hadn’t opened so the driver (my mum’s office was in the area so he knew all the hot spots) suggested we try Mama Rita whose shop was right across the street from Ghana High. See discovery! It was thanks to Mama Rita that I fell in love with rice and stew. Some days we’d be so torn as to whom to patronise that we’d end up buying food from both places. Lord, take me back!

…End digression.

One day during a free period, a bunch of my friends and I went to hang out in the class directly below mine (JS2T). We were gisting and fooling around when someone brought out a banger and match box. Why she brought that stuff to school, I will never know. We started daring each other to light the banger. We passed it round and each person would pretend to ignite it and we’d burst into fits of laughter.

When it was yours truly’s turn, I lightly struck the banger against the match box, thinking it wouldn’t ignite. That was how I found myself holding a lit banger in my hand. In hindsight, I should have just thrown it on the ground and stamped it out but since when have panic and logic been friends? Not knowing what else to do, I flung it out of the window so it wouldn’t go off in my hand and blow my fingers into oblivion.

As you can imagine, the explosion brought staff and students flying out from every nook and cranny and my friends and I fled the crime scene as fast as our legs could carry us. The noise very obviously came from the junior block and some people who had been standing by the phone booth in junior block, spotted people running out of JS2T so it was only a matter of time before all JS2 girls were summoned to kneel on the gravel.

“Who threw the banger?”

It was one thing to get in trouble with seniors but when teachers got involved, it was a whole other ball game. I wasn’t too bothered though. They could very easily suspend one person but there was no way they would suspend the entire year group, not when we had exams coming up; we had a position on the academic league table to maintain. Worst case scenario, we’d probably have to kneel for a while so I figured my year girls could take one for the team. Apparently not. #alakoba

Shouts of “If it was you just confess o!” started circulating but I stayed silent. Seriously, what’s a little kneeling between friends eh?! 🙂 My dear BFF as usual had entered into a state of panic. Honestly girl, you owe me your liver!!! 🙂

My friends and I were kneeling in silence when a voice interrupted our peace.

“Are you Waila?”

I looked up to find one of the deputy head girl staring at me.

“Yes, I am.”

“Follow me.”

At this point, I knew that someone had casted me. As I walked with her towards the gathering of teachers that had amassed by the junior phone booth, she turned round and said, “It was you, wasn’t it?”

I had two options;

  1. Lie and compound my predicament
  2. Accept my fate

I weighed up my options and decided to accept my fate. I was enjoying being a temporary day student and figured worst case, I’d be suspended and be a day student for a bit longer…which was very alright by me. Ironically, I was terrified of fireworks so I knew that if the news reached my mother, she would at least know it wasn’t deliberate. It wouldn’t have saved me from a sound brushing but at least she wouldn’t have bought the idea that I had deliberately tried to wreak havoc.

Thankfully, the teachers who had gathered to behold the culprit were Z listers. There was only one A lister in their midst; an English teacher whose daughter might be reading this. Hi Aisha! J

Mrs Lawal was once my English teacher and I was not her favourite person. I was generally unloved by my teachers because I rarely paid attention in classes but still did well academically which really pissed them off! We had locked horns many times before so the woman hated my guts and thought the absolute worst of me.

“You! I knew it, I am not surprised! If you are not there, who will be there?!”

After telling all the teachers what a terrible child I was, she sent me to kneel in front of English room to wait for her. Thankfully, the day was almost over so I knew the driver would soon arrive to whisk me to safety.

As soon as I got word that the driver had arrived, I dusted off my knees, grabbed my bag and sprinted to the car. Between NEPA, traffic, armed robbers, mosquitos, NITEL, dodgy mechanics and all the other problems that plagued Nigerians then, I figured I’d be the least of her problems. But just in case, I offered up a prayer for God to wipe out her memory.

It must have worked because she never came looking for me. #thankyoujesus

Once Upon a Boarder: 8 Signs You Were a Bubbler

Disclaimer: Please locate your sense of humour before you read this post! 🙂

Being a bubbler was not a joking matter. EVERYONE wanted to be a bubbler. Those that hated bubblers, hated them because they wanted to be them. Really, have you ever met a child that doesn’t want to be one of the cool kids?!

There were a few ways to gain bubbler status in QC.

A few people had a natural swag that certified them as bubblers without any effort on their part. Those ones were called “bubblers by nature” aka BBN.

Then you had those ones that did everything humanly and supernaturally possible to receive the seal of approval. Those ones were called “bubblers by force” aka BBF.

There were also some people who met all the criteria but just did not have the personality required for bubbling. Those ones were on the border; not quite in but not quite relegated.

The vast majority of bubblers however, had a combination of the bubbler personality and most of the criteria listed below.

If you are feeling brave, feel free to take the bubbler quiz and see if you qualified!

  1. Did You Wear Pop Socks?

pop socksIt was not possible to be a bubbler without owning pop socks. Like seriously, were you kidding with your cotton socks?! There was also a clear difference between the janded pop socks and pop socks from Balogun market so don’t think you were fooling anyone.

It was one thing to own pop socks but did you roll them all the way up or fold them down?  If you folded them down, gerrarahere shawty and take a seat in the non-bubbling zone.

  1. Was your School Bag a Satchel?

satchelBackpack gang, please tell me, were you going off to climb Kilimanjaro?! If you did not have a satchel that you slung across your body, tell me what you are looking for here?

  1. Did You Have Fancy Folders and Refill Paper?

Refill paper was the most useless thing in the world…but you needed to have it. There was no argument paperthat notebooks were the sensible place to store your notes and you needed to have those but really, no fancy folder and refill paper? Your life was not complete.

  1. Did Your School Shoes Have Heels?

mocksNow this one is important, very important. If you had mocks with heels, come in and take your rightful place. If you had mocks without heels, enter but don’t feel too comfortable. If you owned any shoe that has not been mentioned here, don’t bother knocking, respect yourself and leave this place. But wait o, if you had the audacity to wear wannabe mocks, kneel down, raise up your hands and close your eyes…shior!

  1. Did you know KC Boys?

kcIf you did not know KC boys, really, what are you looking for here? I didn’t say A-Hall boys o, KC boys because they were allegedly the baddest boys in town. If you knew A-Hall  AND KC boys you can stand up but A-Hall without KC? I beg have several seats.  Your aje butter is too much.

  1. Did You Attend Parties with Names?

First of all did you attend parties? Not the types with bouncy castles and Uncle E o. If they didn’t do “all boys out” at you parties and there were no obtainers collecting shoes and shirts from awon boys, shift to the side.

Then did you parties have names? Certified? Let’s Play House? House Party? No? It was fellowship you were going to, not party. The lord be with you as you leave this place.

  1. Did You Jand in the Summer Holidays?

Wait first, did you have a passport? Because if you didn’t, I don’t care if you have pop socks or not, you had no business attempting to bubble. Any bubbler worth their salt janded during the summer holidays. If you janded every other year, we will give you pardon, but any less frequently than that and you are a joker… gerrarahere mate!

  1. Did You Date a Lag Club Boy?

Knowing KC boys was one thing but dating a Lag Club boy? Give us a minute while we all rise and clap for you. With your A-line skirt and beret, you managed to conquer the most coveted boys in Yaba. I beg open your mouth and chop knuckle.

If you scored 6 out of 8, well done, you were a bubbler. Any less than that and please, don’t disgrace yourself; just pretend you didn’t take the test and when your friend tells you about it, roll your eyes and say, “I beg, I beg, , I have better things to do!”



Once Upon a Boarder: Arrange Those Chairs


JS2 was a fun year. Not only did my BFF become a boarder AND get posted to my dorm, her older sister who was in SS3 was also in our dorm #residentvoltron. I tell you, “Yea though we walked through the valley of the shadow of death, we feared no evil!” There was no trouble we found ourselves in that she didn’t rescue us from…and the troubles were many.

One Saturday evening after dinner, the furniture prefect summoned all JS2 girls to the assembly hall to arrange the chairs for the church services the following day. JS2 girls were responsible for assembly hall work. It was also inter-house sports season so marchers were marching day and night on the stretch of road that connected the school gates. It was dark and no one was interested in going to arrange chairs. Heck, couldn’t people just grab a chair off a pile and sit down?!

There was no night prep on Saturday nights so unless there was some sort of social or you were avoiding seniors, people tended to hang out in the boarding house area.  As a mass of us grudgingly crossed over to the assembly hall, some of us got side tracked by the marchers marching. For those of you that know, QC marching was so cool…at least we thought it was! Ha!

“Left, right, raise and stamp, raise and stamp!”

Instead of carrying on to assembly hall like we had been instructed to, we stood by the road watching Obasa marchers practice. The senior in charge of the marchers was not pleased to see us.

“Junior girls, leave this place.”

We shuffled a few centimetres and stayed put.

“Junior girls, I said leave this place!”

Again we shuffled a few centimetres and stayed put.

“All of you standing there, kneel down.”

Not good. Not only had we gotten into trouble with this senior, if the furniture prefect found us there, we’d be minced meat.

For those of us with liver, there was only one thing to do…RUN! As we made to kneel down, I whispered to my BFF, “run!” As if on cue, a number of us took to our heels and sprinted all the way to assembly hall, sharply blending in with those already there.

It didn’t take long for the senior to come looking for us. Lucky for us, it was dark so she couldn’t identify us.

“If you were just watching the Obasa marchers, come out.”


A few people fessed up but I refused. I had no desire to serve punishment that night. My darling BFF, who I have had to borrow liver several times in the course of our friendship, began to tremble next to me.

“Should we just go out? What if she catches us?”

I eyed her in response.

Satisfied that she had enough scapegoats, the senior left with the fallen soldiers.

The furniture prefect, apparently fed up with having to chase us around every Saturday night, decided to punish the entire year group. After arranging the furniture, we were all summoned to quadrangle to kneel down. The hustle for the concrete was real! Quadrangle was a large square divided into quarters by stretches of concrete. If you weren’t kneeling on the concrete, you were kneeling on wet (think scrubbing water) sand/grass and whatever crap people had chucked over the balconies that day.

My BFF and I swung by our dorm to drop off our stuff before heading for quadrangle. As we were about to head back out, her sister asked us where we were going.

“We are going to quadrangle. Senior Safia punished all JS2 girls.”

“Go and sit down jo. If she asks you why you weren’t there, tell her you were with me.”

And that ladies and gentlemen, was how we escaped that punishment. #thanksbetogod