In JSS1, when I just resumed as a student I didn’t know how to use a cutlass. I didn’t even know how to properly handle it, but I had to learn. In my secondary school, we used to have manual labor. Yes, ‘used to’ because it has been stopped, which I don’t believe is in the best interest of the students, but that is just my perspective. I say that because learning how to cut grass and how to use the cutlass has tremendously helped in giving a sense of hardwork to me.
We usually had manual labor like three times a week: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. On these days, a particular class was given a particular location to work in which either staff or SSS3 students will distribute the work and supervise. In times where staff supervise, it means SSS3 students are to be involved in the manual labor or at least the most senior students. When I got to SSS3, we stopped engaging in manual labor after the Christmas break.
Most of the time we had manual labor, as you would expect, we—the guys—would always complete the task of the girls for them, almost always. Then, the supervisors—mostly staff—would say that’s why we are guys. That we are more equipped for labor than the girls. I can vividly remember a particular day in SSS2 that only two (2) SSS2 guys went for labor out of like forty-five (45), I didn’t go that day too. When the guys that went came back, they told the tale of how much work they did because a lot of guys didn’t come. We laughed and all taunted them.
Yeah, lest I forget. During manual labor, mostly if staff-supervised, attendance is taken of those who were present and their names would be marked after completing the portion of land assigned to you. This list most of the time isn’t used at all but when it is used, those who faltered would have to engage in manual labor again. If it were senior students that wrote the list, there is a whole list of punishments you could be given. Ranging from being beaten to fetching a couple buckets of water to the “Agama” punishment and so on. Mostly, seniors prefer to combine two punishments. First, they flog you for not coming and then they send you on a very uncomfortable errand like washing their clothes, fetching a lot of water and so on.
That was the reality of work in my school: Manual labor. Manual labor taught me a lot about work and how working on a consistent basis is going to be hard. It also improves your endurance. Rarely will you see a proper boarding house graduate that can’t endure hard moments and hard labor. They can because they have done so for a long time and it is already part of them, just like the reflex of singing praise and worship I highlighted in the previous episode.
All in all, I would want to talk to everyone going through a hard time that you should not give up, should not give in and keep fighting. You will win at the end just make sure you don’t give up. If you give up, you ultimately lose so if you want to win don’t give up and keep fighting.
I call this the first rule of survival: “Don’t give up!”
Did you know?
When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red
GRACE AND PEACE OF THE LORD BE WITH YOU, FAMILY.
Yours in insight,