I had finished reading Louis L’Amour’s Last Of The Breed – a novel I took with me to Sogakope where I had gone for a much needed therapeutic massage for a back ache. I was lost in thoughts at the site of wonder around me at the Volta Lake which flowed a few meters away from the ‘lovers’ bench’ where I sat. The sun was setting, and with it came its illuminating orange colour reflecting on the lake, in a manner, akin to the ones seen in Hollywood movies. It was (and still is) indeed an amazing sight to behold. I was only brought back to reality by the seemingly unending laughter by one of two lovers who sat on a bench not too far from me.
I tried to eavesdrop on the conversation to also amuse myself with its content (please don’t pontificate, I know), but could only see the movement of the lips of the male party doing the laughter – it seemed the lady was in a pensive mood. Or maybe, she was just uninterested in whatever it is the guy was saying. This monologue went on for about 20 minutes, and I concluded the guy is a real talkative. I smirked immediately I reached that conclusion, because I have also been described in certain quarters as one, except an extremely ‘interesting’ one in my case. As I walked to the restaurant to have supper, my mind was transported to my formative years at St. Lawrence School Complex where I had my basic and junior secondary education. It is not one that can be mentioned in the same breath as any of the A-listed schools in say Dansoman in terms of infrastructure. But what we lacked in buildings and other amenities, we made up for in great student companionship, real zeal from teachers and genuine hunger for knowledge from students – the serious ones.
The school had an interesting way of electing its student leaders in the primary and junior high divisions. The prefects for the primary school are not voted for by the student body. The process starts during the third term of grade 5 where various teachers who teach students in that grade are required to submit names of students who possessed leadership qualities at a staff meeting for deliberations, and subsequent announcement of same at an assembly convened purposely for that. The same process is followed at the JHS level except that after deliberations by the teachers, the names of shortlisted candidates are put out for voting by the student body. Now throughout these two levels, note that there isn’t any process of opening of nominations and filing of same, or vetting as are done in other schools. Maybe, that separates these other schools from mine. But do I care? Moving on…
When I was in the third term of grade 5, Mr. Asante, my class teacher, during a free period narrated to the class what transpired at ‘the’ staff meeting. He mentioned about 5 names he submitted for consideration by other staff members for various positions of leadership. My long name had been penciled for Boy’s Prefect, the class was told, but almost immediately ruled out after it was called out. “That boy likes talking in class”, most teachers complained. Heck, my terminal reports always highlighted this fact. Once, my mum quizzed if I had beguiled my class teacher when it was conspicuously missing from my terminal report. But I wasn’t the least bothered – or so I thought – because that position neither came with money nor ‘prestige’. Well, maybe standing in front of the morning and closing assemblies without actually addressing your ‘subjects’, if that’s considered prestige at all. And oh - not being added to the class sweeping roster.
Again, when I got to JHS 2, one Wednesday morning worship service had to be cancelled to make way for the names of shortlisted candidates to be written on the blackboard to be followed by voting later in the day. The jubilation of my comrades as well as my wide smile and acknowledgment of cheers from my mates and juniors were very short-lived when my name which was written as the first under ‘Boy’s Prefect’ was immediately wiped from the board just before the second was written. The cheers that percolated the room turned into one of long jeers. Inasmuch I have prided myself as one who is able to make light of every situation I find myself in, that moment was quite an embarrassing one, I must admit. When it was time for his subject, my class teacher, Mr. Ibrahim explained that that humiliating experience I had in the morning was as a result of my ‘love’ for talking in class. “Really?” I asked inaudibly. Then the jeering which had died down from the morning episode was resuscitated.
But as I walked to the restaurant after staring at the long and seemingly unending beautiful man-made Volta Lake lost in these memories, I wondered if talking in class was a valid criterion for barring anyone from holding any leadership position. Maybe, it is another factor that distinguished the other schools from mine.
Dear reader, there are no ‘lessons’ from today’s musing – maybe you can infer one and share with me via the e-mail address below. Today was a day for reminiscing. Thank you for reading!
Do enjoy the fruitfulness this week promises, and God richly bless you.
More Vim…Let’s Go…