It was always cold and dry in November towards the end of the school year, and the season always came with a certain bubbling feeling and restless feet. School was at Agodi, a stone throw from the governor’s office, and the state prisons. It was bordered by a military housing project/barrack which had some of the best eating shacks we had ever encountered. It was also the only place where we could go have burukutu in the after hours with the little money we could save. Fufu at Barracks was the best, for some reason. It was rock solid, and filling. It was just as well since the majority of the customers of the eating joints were military people expected to be tough, filled, and healthy.

The broadcasting corporation was about two miles away. It had a very large fenced compound where at this time of the year an exhibition was held. It was called an exhibition because it was conceived as a carnival for the Christmas season. In time, it became a spot for gaming, alcohol and peppersoup and not much else. It was the ultimate taboo spot of escape from school, and we took the liberties many times daring the always looming risk of being apprehended by state law enforcements sent out to find school children loitering the streets during school hours. The best way to get to the broadcasting corporation from the school without getting caught was to walk through a winding short-cut road that went through the Officer’s Mess of the Second Mechanized Division located just across the road. I see it now, a quiet living estate with fancy houses and barking dogs. Three, and sometimes four, young school boys in blue checkered shirts trekking across the land under a sometimes scorching sun. In their pockets are a few coins each, and some roasted groundnuts tied in transparent nylons.

The excitement at the exhibition grounds never always justified its anticipation, but it almost always compensated for gloom of confinement that the walls of our school represented. Dry harmattan Novembers on the streets of Bashorun as pesky loose cannon truants from a faraway place looking for a lost piece of their precocious childhoods… were good times. They also featured really dusty feet in rubber sandals.



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