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

New Series: Once Upon a Boarder

Hi folks!

Guess who’s back, back again. Waila’s back, tell a friend! #hieminem

Yes, we’ve been here before but let’s not dwell on that.

It feels good to be writing again but I must admit I’m a bit rusty. I don’t remember it taking me this long to churn out a post. I guess that’s my punishment for neglecting the craft for so long.

I’d like to thank the Twitterati for shaming me out of hiding. I’d been meaning to snap out of the funk and resume blogging but when one of my old blog posts suddenly started making the rounds on Twitter, I logged into my blog and was shocked at how long it had been since I had last published a post. I honestly thought it had only been a couple of months. Somebody say deluded!

Well, I’m back with a brand new series!

QC LogoYou know I like to document my memories and what better memories to pen than those I amassed at Secondary School?! If like me you went to a government boarding school in Nigeria, you will know that it was a life changing experience. For those of you that don’t know, I am a QC girl…that’s Queen’s College to my non Nigerian readers. It was one the most popular schools in the country and while I will admit it was one of the better government schools, there was nothing posh about it. Really, nothing!

Lack of ‘poshness’ aside, I don’t regret my time there. It taught me so much about the world and life in general. I always say that QC was a pretty good replica of the real world. There aren’t many schools where you will find the daughter of a driver sat next to the daughter of a multimillionaire. We had students cutting across the tribal, class and financial divides and it really did give you a glimpse of real life.

Many of the relationships I made there are still going strong and while academically I didn’t learn a damn thing, I did learn how to pass exams, iron without an iron and rebel without appearing rebellious!

In this series, I will share some of my secondary school stories with you. Each story will be complete so there’ll be no waiting for part two. It will be interjected with other posts though so if you find that next week I write about something different, be not confused.

The first story will be up this week. I am not active on Twitter so it’s not the best place to look for me. If you subscribe to this blog, you will get an email alert when the post is published. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/waila.caan

Instagram: @wailacaan

Happy Wednesday!



A Whole New World

I was 11years old and leaving home for the first time. I’d been home alone with my mother for two years and I envied my brothers their independence. My mother and I turned up at my new school with my two bulging suitcases in tow. The prefect at the check-in desk had a check list as long as my face and efficient mother that I have, I wasn’t missing a thing. Not even the twelve dozen handkerchiefs they insisted I bring.

Parents of new boarders were allowed into our dormitories to help us settle in. Most JSS1 girls cried when it was time to say goodbye to their parents but I didn’t. As soon as my mother had helped haul all my property to my dorm, I gave her her matching orders.

“Don’t you want me to help you unpack?” she asked in surprise.

“No mummy, I’m fine, you can go now.”

The seniors laughed at me. “You had better let your mummy stay as long as possible because as soon as she goes you will start crying.”

Cleary they didn’t know me. I smiled at them politely and then sent a frown my mother’s way.

“Mummy go now!” I moaned.

“Okay,okay, I’m going.”

As soon as she left I unpacked my bags and made my bed. I couldn’t wait to tie a wrapper round my chest, bra straps on show, and lie in my bed like everyone else was. I could taste the freedom…and it was sweet!

I’d been there twenty four hours when I had my first run in with a senior.

“MEE, take this bottle down to slabs (the taps) and fill it with water for me.”


As soon as I responded the entire dormitory went silent. I was confused. Had I done something wrong?

“Why not?”

“I don’t feel like going downstairs.”

She smiled at me and patted her mattress. “Sit down.” I sat.

“Let me explain how things work around here. I’m a senior and you’re a junior. When a senior asks you to do something, you do it.”

 “What if I don’t feel like doing it? It’s not by force is it?”

“It is by force. If you don’t do it, she will punish you and believe me, you don’t want to serve punishment.”

“What kind of punishments can they give you?” I didn’t get it. Only my mother, aunties and teachers had ever punished me.

“They can ask you to kneel down and fly your arms. Or pick pin. Or hang from a bunk. Or if you really piss them off, they can beat you.”

“Beat me? I will beat the person back!”

At this point, all the seniors in my dorm had gathered round us and were listening in awe. The laughter was deafening.

“Don’t worry, you will soon learn. For now, take the bottle and go and fill it for me.”

I obeyed. I wanted to go and visit my cousin to explain this foreign concept to me and the slabs were en-route.  When I replayed the conversation to my cousin she laughed herself to tears.

“Thank your stars that the senior was nice to you. Anyone else would have punished your life out.”

“Please this punishing business, how does it work? You mean any senior can just punish me if they feel like it?!”

“In a nutshell, yes! I suggest you do as you’re told if you don’t want to land yourself in trouble.”

I stared at empty bottle in my hand, thanked her for her advice and headed to slabs. I wasn’t ready to be punished, not just yet. I knew I would be at some point though. There was no way I was going to spend all my time running errands for people. Some of them would just have to accept no’s from me but until I figured out which one’s I could afford to defy, I smiled politely and said yes to every Tom, Dick and Harry.