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Adanna Elechi: I Will Not Be Sending My Children to Boarding School

I spent one academic year in that school and I can beat my chest and say at least half of the nights were spent running from one night visitor or another. This is not one of those madam koi koi stories. We would wake up and see footprints in front of our hostels. It was so bad we use to bring down our mattresses from the bunks and keep them on the ground in clusters just to feel safe from what we used to call “akpu man”. I repeat that this is not a madam koi koi story. 

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A lot of people had it good in boarding schools. Sadly I wasn’t one of those people. In the year 2000 and something, my common entrance result came out, I scored 493.  I made the cut off mark for federal schools. It was one of my happiest days on earth.

‘Luckily’ for me, my dream of attending a federal government college came true and I got posted to one in Kogi State. I was so happy because my best cousin, Ogbonna, was there and I was sure we were carrying over our Hillcrest primary school enjoyment there. My dad kept telling me to reconsider and go to a private school in Enugu, I refused. In my head, those schools were for people who didn’t pass federal. How foolish. I carried this federal thing on my head like a basket. Even the people who scored 500 and above were humble. 

That year, the long vacation seemed to have lasted too long, my spirit was already in JSS1 in my federal government college. I even took the time to learn the school anthem, I was that excited. September finally came and  I was on my way to school. I was so happy but that happiness didn’t last long. As soon as my mother left, I realized that the school I used to see when I came to visit Ogbonna was different from the one I was actually about to experience. 

The hazing was normal, so it wasn’t really a problem. My problem was the deplorable living conditions. The bathrooms, maggots-infested toilets, open water source, and the worst were the living halls with no windows. When I say no windows, I mean we practically lived outside. Imagine living in a house where anybody can access you from outside. 

I spent one academic year in that school and I can beat my chest and say at least half of the nights were spent running from one night visitor or another. This is not one of those madam koi koi stories. We would wake up and see footprints in front of our hostels. It was so bad we use to bring down our mattresses from the bunks and keep them on the ground in clusters just to feel safe from what we used to call “akpu man”. I repeat that this is not a madam koi koi story. 

The main reason I said my children will never experience that kind of boarding school or any boarding school at all is because I experienced this “akpu man” personally. One night, after we had arranged our mattresses on the floor to sleep, I decided to lie on one of the bunks to get more fresh air before finally going down to sleep with the rest. I didn’t know when I fell asleep on the bunk. My leg was out close to the window. In the middle of the night, I felt someone touching my toes from outside. I opened my eyes slightly and I saw a man wearing red and white stripe shorts. The moon was full that night so I saw him. Out of fear, I shut my eyes tight and prayed for a miracle. A few seconds later, my prayer got answered. A girl named Peace, who I will never forget, shouted so loud “Akpu man!” He left me and ran away. Then all of us started running. This is one of my scariest experiences to date. 

After my JSS1, I left there and went to another federal government college. This one was better in terms of infrastructure but we didn’t have water. My mum would bring gallons of water and sachet water from home for me. Water was an essential part of our visiting day provisions. Another problem was that some of the senior girls in that school were mean (shoutout to my girls, Baiibii, Onyi, Ugochi, and ReeRee, you people are not among oo). I remember one period, there was so much water scarcity that we had to pay the villagers to bring water for us. After buying water with my pocket money, my ‘bonki’ will share the water with her friends without asking how it came about. 

One Monday morning, I didn’t have any more cash because I had spent the money my guardian gave me for the weekend so I didn’t fetch water, my bonki gave me one dirty slap. I saw kirikiri stars that day. No cap. The slap wasn’t enough for her, she threw me out of the corner. I had to perch from one hostel to another till I finished JSS3. How wicked can somebody be? That bonki is what my village people call mgbashi. Dear bonki, I just liked your picture on Instagram. Hope you see I am doing well and I am about to become a superstar. 

As soon as I finished JSS3, my mum decided I had suffered enough, pulled me out of that hellhole, and I completed my secondary school as a day student in a different school much closer to home. The traumatic experiences in boarding school haven’t left my body. I hardly ever leave my windows open till now. I still feel someone will crawl up and touch my toes. The only good thing I learned was how to struggle for things. To be honest, I don’t think there is anywhere I can’t enter if we had to struggle for it. This skill helped me when I was in university. Struggling for a bus at peace park should be added to my CV. This is as a result of constantly fighting in line to get water and food. I also learned how to be petty and how to form alliances with enemies (this isn’t good but IO, you left me no choice). That my bonki learned the hard way. 

I know a lot of people enjoyed boarding school and will gladly let their children go back to the same schools they graduated from but I am not one of you. When I am talking about boarding school, I mean boarding school, not home extension. I don’t even like to argue with my siblings about boarding houses. Their problems are always that they reduced the cake they give them and that the nightcap Ribena was too diluted when my own problem was finding the driest bread to hold belle. I will never forget the day a girl I will call IA spat in our ogbono soup because we were struggling. Garri will fall on the ground and we will pick it and remove the sand. Chineke!!! If I went there as the ajebo that I am now, I would have died since.

Another thing I learned in boarding school is to make sure that in my next life, I won’t be a human guinea pig, AKA firstborn. I will gladly bribe the angels with CloudCoin or any currency it is they use up there. If I must go to any boarding school, let me go to the type my two youngest brothers attend. Where you can go home just because you feel like. Nothing like bonki or other evil seniors. I will sha prefer to go from home. I also thank God for saving me from that dirty water I used to drink in FGCUK and other terrible things. Do you know how terrible a place would be that I chose to have surgery than to stay there? Yes, I lied my way to the theatre just to escape that school. Fortunately for me, that lie saved my life because my appendix was already bad. Still doesn’t change the fact I lied because I desperately wanted to go home.

I hope the government looks into these schools and fix them up if they haven’t, I don’t understand why schools owned by the government are in such deplorable conditions. Those toilets! Emi n’ob’g’ m. I had to speak Nsukka for this one.

Pro Unitate! Aha.

Adanna Elechi is an entrepreneur, writer, blogger and information enthusiast who believes in changing the world one post at a time. She is passionate about nutrition and wellness and blogs about it on nutricloset.com. Connect with her on all social platforms @adee_elechi

17 Comments

  1. UGWU DABERECHI PEACE

    August 12, 2020 at 7:58 am

    Wow, I read through your write up dear, I can’t but agree with you about the punishments from senior girls/ bonki, cus I too experienced what you explained here first hand. Kudos to you dear, But I still say my children will attend boarding school, but a better one from the one we both attended. I’m also a product of a Fggc, my reason is that, that school made me the strong and independent woman IAM today, I can adapt to any environment or condition or situation I see my self in. I can also associate with all tribes and deal with different types of human beings,cus I believe that is the essence of creating a Unity school,but the government allow it’s living conditions to decay without care.

    4
  2. Ezugwu chidera

    August 12, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Where is the lie here🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️, she is absolutely telling the truth cos I think Adanna and I were in the same corner, our bonkies were so inhumane 🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️.

    • Adanna

      August 12, 2020 at 1:48 pm

      No lies 😂🤣😂. They finished us

      1
    • didi

      August 13, 2020 at 8:06 am

      Was there SACHET WATER at that time?

  3. Somtochukwu Dike

    August 12, 2020 at 8:50 am

    😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
    Oh my goodness

    1
    • Chiamaka Chijioke

      August 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

      Ada everything and even more is still fresh in my memory, I remember we were same set and in the same hostel,the experience wasn’t nice at all But thank God thus far,all is past now. Despite everything I will send my kids to boarding school bcos it will help them a lot in life,am sure it won’t be like ours.. Good to hear from you again after many years..fearful Adanna Elechi that year..hahahaha.. kudos dear

      1
  4. Isabella

    August 12, 2020 at 2:57 pm

    Aaaaahhh!!!! Adanna you nailed it. Such a memory. We are have our stories to tell after this experiences and this school kind of moulded me to who I am today.

    1
  5. Cynthia

    August 13, 2020 at 9:09 am

    I agree, I will not be sending my kids to boarding school…. people learn so many vices there. To be molded or a grounded human being doesn’t mean one has to go to a boarding school. There are loads of successful ‘day’ students as well. Thanks for sharing your story! Sometimes I wonder were those evil seniors and bonkis are?….if people at that level could be so mean, no wonder the country is the way it is, filled with so much tension….wickedness everywhere!

  6. Odili

    August 13, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Wow!! Your experience was terrible. Boarding schools have so many ups and downs but some of the lessons can come in handy in life.

    I think Nigerian schools should be doing open day for parents and intending pupils so they can assess their facilities before accepting their admission.

  7. Joke

    August 13, 2020 at 11:31 am

    You need to experience the kind of private boarding schools we have these days I’m not talking about govt owned schools oo those ones are a lost cause. Schools where parents pay 3m plus upwards per annum , the infrastructures in these schools are sometimes more than what some homes have.
    The bullying aspect though I cant speak of but I bet it isn’t as bad as those days too,times have changed sha but nothing beats having your kids at home if it’s an option for you.

  8. Dr Vincent C. Davidson

    August 13, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I love this story. Thank you for making me to remember those days in the boarding school. I also had a bitter experience.

  9. Blessing Nome

    August 13, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    I had such horrible experience during my ss classes i went to boarding school Abbot girl’s special science school ihiala,where we ran every night because of uncle 2 feet, miss koikoi, i wont forget 2 occasions first d night i nearly jumped out from upstairs due to the way people were running out of the night class because they saw uncle 2 feet and i was very weak, due to severe punishments from senior students, i decided to rest on d process i slept off,on hearing the choas i ran out of the door to jump off, thank God i didn’t, someone dragged me back.
    The night ,babybush chased us out of the class room where we went to study for WEAC examinations d way one of the house mistress (oyi imi ) her nickname flogged us like cow,and how seniors students punished us for nothing ,is nothing to write home about especially snr chidimma Ekejekwu
    That year.

  10. Nwachukwu Nkay

    August 13, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    Adanna, to you leaving in a boarding school was like “an ode to a night tingle”. If I can remember vividly, you were a fragile type just like the “ajebo” girl that wore her glasses with so much honor 😆 pardon me.
    I would agree more with you, especially in the area of bonki madness, though I was one of the lucky ones back then that never experienced such, but then I had sisters and friends who saw hell in the hands of their bunk mates.
    Few episodes of labalab guy with his holy water back then, I can’t forget.
    But nevertheless, FGGC LEJJA thought me a lot both positive and negative. And to the glory of God we survived and never look like what we went through.
    Will I allow my kids attend boarding Schools? Yes I will and a very good one at that.

  11. Asimonye

    August 14, 2020 at 6:08 am

    This is beautiful and thrilling, Ada.
    Good a thing that your horrible experience helped transform you into a strong willed person. There are always lessons meant to be taken from every experience.

  12. Hillary Abugu

    August 14, 2020 at 7:07 am

    What a world, I remember how bitter I were when my dad’s friend discouraged him from sending me to a Unity school then. I was forced to remain at a private school (a very good one with good amenities then) but I did envy all my friends at FGC. I then concluded all my children will go to unity schools but this your write up is helping me reconsider that vow. Maybe I will allow my male kids have the experience but have the females study from house or a very good private school like mine (shalom). Thanks for sharing Adanna

  13. Alex

    August 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    The reason I can never shower with full bucket of water

  14. NMO

    August 16, 2020 at 11:27 am

    I went to Government secondary school Ruboshi Abuja, that experience was the devils lake, my brother and I left with a terrible skin infection (don’t know how my skin normalised today, baba God I thank you ..my brother almost died from acute malaria too) then we got transferred to Government secondary school Bwari, Abuja…that one was the a bit better but still terrible…from eating leaves because of hunger.
    Yes it’s called man power…pluck, clean it on your house wear and eat, we used the bushes as our toilets, inshort the bushes were better than the hostels..thank God we were not raped or kidnapped ….plenty to talk or write about….. MY CHILDREN WILL NEVER ATTEND BOARDING SCHOOL PRIVATE, FEDERAL TALKLESS OF STATE… ABROAD OR HOME!! NEVER!!!

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