A Greener in Bo School
|Bo School Badge and motto|
By the time school got around to reopening that year, I had forgotten all about POW and Grammar School and was looking forward to Bo School with optimism and longing.I looked forward to a life that I imagined would be free of any form of parental control at least for three terms in year. In spite of all the stories I had heard about Bo School, I was sure that my cousin by marriage the late Sheku Kallon would protect me, as he was in upper sixth at that time and I was told that sixth formers practically ran student life in Bo School in those days. Boy, was I ever wrong to think that Sheku Kallon would protect me!
I was taken to Bo School one Sunday evening to get accommodations and prepare myself for the beginning of school the next day. I was driven to school by Mr. Sankoh my guardian's driver, no relation to the notorous Foday Sankoh. Going to Bo School, driven in a brand new Toyota Stout was one of the first in a series of mistakes that I unwittingly made that would make that first term almost a living hell for me.
|Main Administrative Building|
That evening we all went to the dining hall for dinner and was introduced to the meal famously known as "Kondor". We had Kondor twice everyday, at the end of the school day and late in the evening before night studies. Kondor never changed and the taste was always the same. It was either cassava leaves, beans, peanut soup, or potato leaves. In the rainy season potato leaves were replaced by the swamp variety, "gogodii". The Head of Dining and Kitchen in those days was a fascinating man known as Pa Sam King. Pa Sam King that evening told us, in faltering English, about the times and rules of the dining hall. After Pa Sam King had finished his address the school senior prefect, Steven K. Bio, brother of former head of state and current SLPP flagbearer Julius Maada Bio, divided us the new students from the old ones.
Steven Bio told us that we the new students would henceforth be termed as "greeners". He informed us that in the hierarchy of Bo School, greeners were nonentities or nobodies, with very little or no rights and privileges . "The names of greeners", he said, "were written in chalk, and could easily be wiped of the roster of the school". From thenceforth, we would not be addressed by our names, but by our admission numbers. We were expected to be the main source of manual labour for the school; we would clean the campus and make sure that no weeds were allowed to grow while we were in residence. We would fetch food for seniors too lazy or busy to come to the dining room, and if some seniors found it difficult to sleep, we were to go under their beds and "comfort" them to sleep, a euphemistic term for lying under a bed and pushing it up and down, while the occupant generally felt like a medieval king until he drifted to sleep. In essence Steven Bio introduced us to Bo School's tradition of serfdom for greeners or rustics, the lowest of the low.
|Ngolo Tamba, A Founding Student|
As if this was not enough, almost every week we had the dreaded practice known as "drilling" The only rationale I can give for drilling was that coming to Bo School for new students was a crime and as all criminals faced some form of punishment, drilling was the series of painful exercises designed to punish us for our crime. Frog jumping, rolling on the hot tarmac in front of the dining hall, lying on the hot tarmac and pretending to be dead, were just a few of the exercises collectively described as drilling. Some of the senior students in those days used drilling to manifest their evil or sadistic tendencies. One notoriously wicked prefect in those days, who every greener feared to even run into, was Albert Kangbai, popularly known as "The Gbai"
If Adolph Hitler had had Idi Amin for his wife and they had had a child, the product would have been "The Gbai". Albert Kangbai had the tenacity of a rebel combined with the mentality of a terrorist. He had very piercing bloodshot eyes and throughout that year, I never saw him smile. Those who were surprised at the depravity of RUF rebels in Sierra Leone during the war never met "The Gbai". During the war I was lucky to run across Albert Kangbai in Freetown, he was a policeman. Boy was I ever glad that man never joined the RUF rebels, he would have made Sam Maskita Bockarie look like a primary school boy pretending to be bad. "The Gbai" was simply evil in its purest form and to this day I can still vividly remember that sadistic grin he had, when we were being drilled. If Kangbai designed a punishment for you, not even Jesus Christ would convince him to modify it. The more you suffered the better he felt. In second term I had the bad luck of being transferred to Liverpool block A, where "The Gbai" had residence. In block A greeners were punished every morning before cleaning and school. One day I was lucky to come across a list of block assignments and saw that my name under London. I talked to a friendly London prefect who told me that I had right to go to London, because it was my legal hall of residence. That night I packed my books and few belongings and as soon as everybody was asleep, I crept out like a thief in the night and went to London block B, where I stayed until I left the school. Unfortunately that night there was broom inspection for greeners and having no broom, I was punished until we were rescued by the Hall Master Mr. Bangura, but escaping the clutches of "The Gbai" was more than blessing enough for that night's punishment.
|Old Bo School Boy in UK|
|Segbwema blogger 4382 Sheriff|