Stories

My first night away from home

By on August 21, 2017

Remembering my first day in the boarding school brings a very distinct nostalgia.

Or how else can I describe the feeling? It never leaves me. I recollect every emotion; the joy of finally receiving my freedom as an individual, but with the added weight of the huge responsibilities to be true to myself, coupled with the rights and obligations of adulthood.

At first, the feeling of freedom left me gasping with excitement.

 

I took a good look around .. All around me were pretty little faces of innocent girls, flushed with excitement; I guess, like mine too. We chuckled as young girls do, greeting each other with simple “hi’s”.. and “I am so and so … and “what’s your name?”. And of course our Parents stood together on the other end of the small hall, looking exhausted and tired .. 😴.. and sad .. 😭.. too. Why won’t they be? Their babies were leaving home for the first time; and they knew deep down within, that, that was it. They will in all probability never come back home to stay again, as before.

The School Matron checked the register of the new intakes. She spotted names after names. She finally called out my name, to which I answered “Yes please”. The Matron added a tick against my name and asked an old student to show me to my dormitory.

It seemed like a journey of ten miles as we made our way through the groves, my mind roving to and fro, as I imagined what laid ahead.

This was my first time of separation from my Mum and my siblings.

Finally I was shown into my dormitory. Each dormitory had two big rooms, each one large enough to house twenty girls. I got to meet other freshers like me in the dorm. At first we all talked loudly in excitement. Before long, the euphoria waned as night began to fall. As the sunlight went down, our excitement seemed to go with it. It seemed all the girls were each beginning to experience the next phase which comes with freedom – responsibility.

It was a school bell which called us to dinner, not our mothers. And quite unlike my Mum, it rang out once and as everyone of us had received previously, very strict instructions about the school rules (mealtimes was one of them), we all quickly made our way out of the dorms. It hit me hard now, more than ever, how my Mum would lovingly call out to us at home, several times before we heeded her call to dinner. And therefore, for the first time, I missed my Mum.

All the girls quietly filed out in a row as we each took our seats in the dinning hall. Boarding School dinner did not quite taste like Mother’s dinner, but we all ate, all the same. I suppose we were all tired and hungry.

After dinner, I unpacked my stuff, made my modest bed and sat on the edge of the freshly made bed. For the first time, it hit me that I had just begun on a new journey.

I have never looked back since.

Night had fallen. I remembered my Mum and how she would always gather us round to a nightly prayer before we bed. Oh my God.. now I have to do all she taught me to do. I had to remember all the prayers all by my self. I remember I prayed some prayer similar to this:

” .. Dear Lord God…

Thank You for my Mum and my Dad too..

Thank You for my sisters and my brother..

Look after them for me PLEASE LORD..

As I am now here on my own

I pray You protect me too

Help me to face my studies

Let me not let my Parents down..

Help me one day to become an important person..

So I can be useful to You, my Family and the Community.

Guide me and everyone through the night..

Protect us I pray..

And let us all wake up, back to life in the morning.. Amen”

And this was how my personal journey of life started.

Each individual story differ. One factor however is common to all. And that is, that Parents at some stage in a child’s life have to let go. Let go and hold on to hopes and prayers that the seeds of training and nurturing which they have taken precious times and sweats to sew and impart into their children will remain, germinate and bear fruits in their children’s lives, to lead and to guide.

I now have children, and grandchildren of my own. I’ve never ceased to pray.

The journey continues..

-Annie

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