On weekdays including Saturdays, our breakfast was either watery pap and nutrient lacking bean cake or tea made in a very big drum and two slices of bread that looked like it had been exposed to breeze for days, while on Sundays we had rice.
I brought provisions (beverages and a few snacks) I could always eat, but whenever the seniors came, they would always take out of it and it finishes just before the end of the term. At night when I try to rest my head, one issue arises, and everybody gets punished. A day never went by without being punished, and it is always for someone else’s crime. On Saturdays, our usual activity was disposing of the feces in the toilet which was done by paddling from one enclosure to the other until it is evacuated into the main pit. The guys needed to dress as ninjas by covering their noses with towels to limit inhaling the smell from performing this task. That was the most disgusting activity we ever did. Every night I ask myself why I am here in the boarding house, the experience is not as the other kids described, they never mentioned all these in their stories.
Everything I imagined the boarding house to be the direct opposite of what it was. On Sundays, I would wear my oversize check top and knickers, with my rubber shoe which was my 12th birthday gift from my uncle, and walk down to the chapel for service. After chapel, we would go on siesta, the siesta that was always interrupted by our seniors. I used most of my siesta to either clean a senior’s room, run errands for them, or serve punishment. I looked forward to the end of the session, so I could go home and never return to school. That one year was one I could never forget, an experience I wish I never had.
Finally, the end of the session came, and I was to go home. I went home, and I was welcomed the way I wanted, with Banga soup and starch. My friends came and asked me how boarding school life was, I told them the usual things everyone says, “it is very interesting, you make new friends, you have enough time to play and read” not one of those sentences is true, but I kept the trend going just like my other friends did.
“I wanted to taste what boarding school feels like and have something to talk about like other school kids. I wanted for one, after a long stay from home, to be welcomed back home with ‘Banga soup and starch’ (my special native delicacy), as they did for other kids…. well, it wasn’t as I imagined”.