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Monday, January 18, 2016

Corper's Diary: My Escapades in Adura Community (2)

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The Baale was in a meeting with some government officials from the state capital when we arrived at his palace.

We waited impatiently for about thirty minutes in a small reception room before we were taken to meet him.

It was my first time of being that close to the Baale. I had seen him a few times from a distance whenever he passed through the town usually in a convoy of cars.

He was a tall, well built man who looked in his early 60s with an air of authority about him. He was simply dressed in a white lace buba and sokoto* with brown cap on his head and a single string of red, coral beads on his neck.

 He smiled genially at us as Ebuka and I greeted him in the traditional way by prostrating as we were instructed by one of his men that escorted us to the palace.

 "I see you boys are getting acquainted with our customs and traditions here. So, how are you enjoying your stay in Adura?" he asked. 
 I told him we were settling down nicely, that the school was taking very good care of us...
 He spoke with us for a while, asking a couple of questions before stating:

 "I have a request, Francis. And I hope you'll grant it. It's about my daughter Folashade."

 What he wanted was this: It happened that the said daughter, who just finished secondary school, had not performed well in the WAEC* examinations especially in key subjects such as English. 
 "I discussed the matter with your Principal, Babson who suggested she gets private tutoring before she retakes the exam next year. You know that without a good WAEC result, getting admission to a good university will be difficult. He recommended you, stating the students have improved in English since you began teaching them. So, what do you say, my son? Will you help this old man's daughter?" he asked with a little smile.

 As if I had any choice, I thought wryly before saying:

 "No problem, sir. I'll do my best to ensure your daughter does well in her exams."

 He smiled broadly, looking pleased at my response. I brightened up a bit when I heard the amount he would give me weekly for my efforts. The NYSC monthly allowance was barely enough for basic needs and most times, I have had to request for money from my mother, a businesswoman.

 The extra income would help a lot, I thought as Ebuka and I made our way to the lodge after our meeting with the Baale.

 "So, how much is my share of the salary the Baale will be paying you?" asked Ebuka.
 "Why should I share anything with you? Afterall, I'll be doing all the work. Abi na you wan teach the girl?*" I retorted in pidgin.

 "If you like, no give me my share, you go hear am!" he rejoined. 

  Folashade
The following week, I had my first tutorial class with Folashade or Shade for short. She seemed bright enough, not the dullard I was expecting. And she was quite stunning looking with large, bright eyes that sparkled when she laughed, and sweet looking lips.

 At 19, she looked really mature for her age, with a sensuous looking body, more suited for an older lady than a young girl still in her teens.

 As the lesson progressed, I realized what her major problem was. Shade lacked focus, getting easily distracted by certain things especially her mobile phones. Her phones often rang in the middle of class and she would spend a considerable time answering calls, chatting and sometimes browsing.

 I knew she would not be able to assimilate anything at that rate so the next class we had, I laid down the law- all phones must be switched off during class; no chatting, pinging or whatever.

 "But Mr Francis, I can't do without my phones! How do I keep in touch with my friends?" she protested.
 I ignored her angry protests and continued with the teaching. 
  'No spoilt brat of a Chief is going to mess up with my work or my extra income', I thought grimly.

 "It's all my fault she's spoilt. Her mother died when she was a baby and was raised by my sister and one of my wives. I denied her nothing maybe as compensation for not having a mother. But just ignore her and continue with your job," the Baale told me one evening. It seemed Shade had reported the phone incident to her father.

 Shade sulked for a few days after the phone ban. Then she calmed down and began to focus on her lessons. With time, our relationship both as teacher-pupil and on a personal level improved.

 "Your girlfriend is very lucky," she stated one evening at the end of our class. I was packing my books into my knapsack, preparatory to leaving.
 It was the last thing I expected her to say.
 "What do you mean?" I asked, looking at her keenly.
 "You are really handsome. Better looking than my fiancĂ©," she noted.
  
 FiancĂ©? At her age?

 "I had nothing to do with the engagement," she said quickly as if reading my mind. "Prince Adedayo and I were betrothed as children by our fathers. He's the son of the Oba of a neighbouring town," she revealed. She added the final marriage rites would be done the following year when she would have secured admission to the university.
 This was all news to me.

 Who would have thought my troublesome student would soon become a married woman, I thought with a wry smile as I left the palace.
 Things continued this way until two weeks later. We had finished for the day, and as I got ready to return to the lodge, Shade brought out a bottle of brandy from her bag.

 I looked at her in amazement as she began to drink straight from the bottle.
 "Aren't you too young for this?" I said.

 She laughed then said:

 "I'm 19, not 9. Besides, I've been drinking since I was 14. My father would kill me if he knew I started so early. So, it's our secret. Here," she stated, offering me the bottle. "It's Friday. What's wrong in chilling a little after a hard day of lessons?"

 Maybe because I had not had a drink for sometime for, because of my tutorials with her, there was little time to hang out with Ebuka and the other guys at Iya Akin's bar. Or it was the golden liquid that I found too tempting to resist.

 I took the bottle and gulped thirstily then handed it back.

  I made to leave but she said she could not drink alone, that I had to keep her company till the bottle was emptied.

 We sat on a couch in the small lesson room and continued to drink and chat. 
 "I want you to come with me to Lagos tomorrow," she stated some time later.

 I looked at her askiance.
 "Why?" 
 "One of my school mates recently got admission to a University in the U.S. So, some of us, her friends are having a little rave for her. I want you as my date," she said.

 "Shouldn't you be attending with the Prince?" I asked.

 She shrugged.
 "He's out of the country right now. Besides, it's you I want to be with, not Adedayo. I think I'm beginning to fall for you..." she said softly, drawing closer to me.
 Perhaps, it was the brandy, for she looked especially alluring that evening with a luminescent glow to her face, her eyes like twins pools of mystery, her inviting lips...

 They tasted of nectar with a touch of brandy that was intoxicating. As we kissed, I forgot momentarily that this was not something I should be doing, smooching my own student. My hand slipped inside her blouse as our lips remained locked, drinking deep of her sweetness. Shade then began to unbutton my shirt...

Notes:
  *The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), established in 1952, is an examination board that conducts the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, a University entry examination in Anglophone West African countries

* Buba and Sokoto is a male clothing style (usually made of the same fabric) consisting of a loose shirt (buba) that goes down halfway down the thighs covering the upper part of the body while (Sokoto) is the trouser part which covers the lower part of the body. 
It's usually worn with a cap (fila)


To Be Continued..

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