I will tell you some stories about education on this series of Hilarious Moments.
Of Illiterates and & Illiteracy
One of my big aunties had something important to tell me and other kids around. You know how it is, you are called and told to sit and then the lecture begins. “Kids, it ok to be called illiterates.” “There is nothing bad about that. Everyone is an illiterate at some point,” and then she drops the zinger, “But for your name to be put in the same sentence with the word ‘illiteracy,’ that is bad. It is a very terrible state to be. It is worse than your mum being cussed.” Word!!!
She told us that you cannot sit still if you are called “illiteracy.” She admonished us to fight, bite, scratch etc. By all means, make your point known that you do not accept being called “illiteracy.”
We said, “Yes Ma.”
We walked away, wondering what we just heard but as kids, you cannot laugh at an adult. Keep calm. Keep going and then … we roared with laughter. Illiteracy indeed!
I went home one holiday and found out that my grand mum had enrolled in the adult education programme. My age was in single digits then, but it was funny. I felt she was too old for that. That was intuitive. Anyway, she was very studious and kept the dates with school. About a year’s time, I came back, and she was no more in school.
“Is my grandma a dropout?” I wondered. “Or has she escaped?”
Finally, I was bold enough to ask her why she did not attend school today. She told me she had graduated.
I was ultra-puzzled. Primary education is 6 years, how did she graduate within a year. Those were the thoughts racing through my mind. I went over to ask my auntie what happened.
“Oh, my mum … yeah, she has graduated. Kind of.”
“What do you mean, auntie?”
“Oh, she self-graduated.”
“She graduated by herself when she could spell her name … R-E-G-I-N-A”.
‘Nuf said. No explanation required. Goals achieved.
I usually help my older son with his Maths home learning while mum assists with the English and verbal stuff. Since “I no know book”, I stick with the one I know. So yesterday he was working on his home learning but before I could imagine anything he was done. I knew something was amiss. I also knew his favourite club was playing. I knew he wanted to watch that live match.
“Dede, have you finished your home learning?”
“Can I see it?”
“No Dad. It is English. That’s for mum”.
I just stood there looking at him. He was lucky that his father was not my father. Let me leave it at that.
Mum Is A Sage
I am not the guy that loves keeping the home tidy and housework et al. One day my mum looked at me with a staring gaze. It seems something was welling in her heart. With intent she said “Gabriel, this book that you are reading and pouring yourself into; please do it well. I have weighed you, you have no future in manual labour. You cannot lift blocks. You cannot hustle. Take my words to heart.”
Actually, I did. That is why I am writing to you today.