So throughout the course of my almost three decades on earth, I have had to wear uniforms. The first I ever wore was my nursery school uniform: a beautiful grey gown worn over a white pinafore. The uniform was one of the reasons my mum choose that school for us. I was a very cute, chubby, almost two-year old. Well, what were the benefits I got? Strangers admiring me, telling me I was a beautiful child and gifting me biscuits and sweets which I couldn’t collect for fear of turning into a goat or worse still yam (at least goat is a living thing.)
I wore two other uniforms before moving to secondary school, but wearing them didn’t come with any spectacular benefits. The next advantageous uniform I wore was my secondary school uniform – a white shirt worn over a light blue pleated skirt. My school was quite a distance from our house, and I left home early in order to get to school in good time. My uniform proved useful when it came to getting lifts. My brother and I could be walking to the junction, and a car would pull over and start horning, we would jog to it and look in. When we see blue and white uniform we would just hop in, greet and start calculating what we would buy with our transport money. There was a particular junction where kids from my school stood and parents driving by stopped to pick as many kids as their cars could carry.
After secondary school, the next uniform I wore was the corpers’ khaki. Hmm what were the advantages of being a Corp member? I got lifts too. People sold things to me at cheaper rates, but some people still cheated me. One old woman prayed for me. I really don’t know what she said in the prayer but my gut tells me it was a good prayer. Camp was still on then and I had gotten permission to go for the weekend. I boarded a taxi and it stopped to pick the woman and her yams. Immediately she saw me fully kitted, [7/7], she started saying Copa! Copa! Aoondo followed by plenty things in her language and raising her hands to the sky. I knew she was praying for me, so I just thanked her with my lips, my smile, clasping my palms together and any other gesture that made her feel thanked.
Well, that’s about all the uniforms I have worn in my life, but I have had cause to see the advantages of other uniforms.
My mum has had kids run from her, just because she was wearing a nurses uniform. Many mothers in our neighbourhood then got their kids to behave by threatening to call my mum to give them an injection. My mum’s colleague comfortably drove her car to work for two years without papers, because whenever she is stopped by Police, FRSC and they notice she is a nurse on duty, they just let her go… so she can quickly attend to her business of saving lives.
There are those whose uniform used to be black in colour, but in recent times blue has been added to it. It could also be dirty green. Their motto is that they are your friends, but they are not too friendly when you meet them along the road. Their uniform affords them the opportunity to collect N20 or more, never less and with the recent hike in dollar I am not sure N20 is still acceptable. It also gives them the right to collect bread, firewood, yams, pure water…in fact, anything collectable. On the other hand, they do help in protecting life and property, so you could choose to ignore the collecting habit.
There are those who have sworn to protect citizens of the country, to fight for them at all times. They sleep outside in the cold, when the need arises. The sun and rain beats upon them, just so we could sleep well at night…very good and kind hearted people I must say; but if you offend them, their uniform(usually camouflage, though it has other variations) gives them the right to beat you with koboko and punish you no matter your age, sex or status. How dare you show such ingratitude and disrespect for one who is protecting you? Surely you deserve to be beaten!
Some people break traffic laws because they are wearing a uniform and when sighted by their fellow uniform wearing traffic officials all they do is to salute them and tell them oga carry go! They drive against traffic when there is no emergency.
Recently, even the local vigilante in my area drive against traffic and I do not understand where they are rushing to. They work at night to protect and secure the area, correct, but what about during the day?
In light of this, I am forced to think that some people wear uniforms because of the advantages they get from it and not because of their altruism.
What benefits have you derived from wearing a uniform?
Photo Credit: Aspenphoto | Dreamstime.com