Missionary schools are the pioneers of education in our clan and particularly in my community. There are two major missionary schools in my community, namely the Catholic and Anglican missionary schools. These missionary schools have been in existence long before I was born. The fact on ground is that each and every child in my community is a product of one of these missionary schools. As a result, there is this latent healthy competition or rivalry between the two missionary schools. It is a noticeable gesture from each school that none of them would like to associate with failure.
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Therefore, there is this tendency that boils out of them to product the best scholars for our community. That is scholars that the school will always hit its chest and say “this is our product.” This healthy competition is not centered on academic performance alone but also sporting and extra curriculum activities as well. In my community, the community primary school belongs to the Catholic mission whereas the Central school belongs to the Anglican mission. Though we have other village schools but they are not missionary schools. These two missionary schools are outstanding in all their performances. However, in terms of things that have to do with religious competitions one has to leave it for Central school. This is because Anglicans are known for ‘deep biblical study’ and such have great impact in their school activities.
Enrollment Into One Of The Missionary Schools:
It was Saturday afternoon I heard my mother calling me Kensi, Kensi, Kensi….oooh. I was at the back of our house playing Okoso with Bato. I wanted to make sure I beat him, but my mother’s persistent call made me relinquish my desire. As I went to see my mother, she was already dressed up. She asked me to go wash myself that we are going to Eke Market Square. Well, I did as she ordered me and in a little while I was done.
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A journey to Eke Market Square from our house is about 25 minute trekking. Our destination is the tailoring shop of Dee Cele, as he is fondly called. His full name is Celestine; he is one of the foremost tailors we have in our community. And surely, he is good at what he does. Surprisingly, my mother asked him to make school uniform for me and then he took measurements. My heart was full of joy when I heard that statement from my mother. She has prearranged to enroll me in our missionary school which is the Central school. Well, I couldn’t wait to start school on Monday. However, there is an obstacle or huddle to pass and not until I pass it I will not be taken.
The Qualification For Enrollment:
The qualification for the school enrollment is done manually. Any intending pupil is asked to put his or her hand over his or her head and if his or her hand could touch his or her ear, the said pupil is qualified. That was what happened when my mother took me to school on Monday. I was asked to stand erect and put my hand over my head, and luckily for me my hand touched my ear. The only document required from me was my baptism card. And if I don’t have any I will be asked to go get one. The baptism card is believed to have the right information about you.
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It contains information like your birth date, your parents name and the hamlet and village you come from. The information in the baptism card is reliable because it is obtained from the missionary maternities. Most parents of our days are illiterates and therefore could not give accurate information about their new born babies. The midwives and nurses at the missionary maternities put these information down. The headmaster accepted me and put in Elementary one (A).
However, I will be starting tomorrow being Tuesday. Therefore, my mother has to take me back home to get the necessary things I need. On the way going, we branched to a roadside carpentry shop where she bought slate for me. A slate is a small wooden board about 15 inches tall and about one and half foot wide. At the same time we looked for a bookshop in the Eke Market Square.
Missionary Schools – Slate Preparation:
There my mother bought one dozen of long white chalks for me. When we got home, she has to prepare my slate against tomorrow. My mother asked me to go get some pieces of charcoals from our fire spot. She used a medium size stone to crush the charcoals and then pour water to mix. Thereafter, she used the mixture to coat my slate front and back. She passed a thread through the center hole of the slate and hung it to dry. The slate is beautiful I will use it to write alphabets on one side and then numbers on the other. The next day being Tuesday, my mother got me ready for school.
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Well, Bato came to pick me that Tuesday morning. He has to repeat Elementary one because he had what is called weak pass. His father was not impressed by his performance hence the repeat. Fortunately for me Bato is in the same class with me, the implication is that I will not feel lonely. The school environment was very new to me and as a matter of fact very different. There is so much cry and noise coming from different directions. Many pupils are crying because they don’t want to stay in school. And many are playing around and shouting at the top of their voices. And suddenly a boy ran toward a tree very close to Elementary three class and there he has to hit the gong suspended on the tree. Immediately, the noise everywhere ceased and all roads lead to the assembly ground.
The Assembly Ground:
At the assembly ground, we have to line up according to our classes. I was in front of Bato, we stretched our hands to touch each other’s shoulders. This helps us to be in a single straight line. Then a girl from Elementary six came up to lead in the morning devotion. And since this missionary school belongs to Anglican all the songs we sang were of Anglican. I was use to the songs though I do not know them better then, I later came to know them.
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After the morning devotion we were asked to match to our classes starting from the lower class. As we got into the class, our miss was already handy to start the business of the day which is to teach us how we can start writing A, B, C, D. This day Tuesday in the month of October 1976 started my journey to become a professor. And because it was a missionary school and as in all missionary schools my mother didn’t spend much to see me through school. God bless all those who initiated the idea of setting up mission schools especially in my community.
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