Those years gone by…


Now that I think about it, I think I may stayed just about a year with Baaba. I remember that school I was always missing, and just one class. I cant tell if it was class one or two, but I am sure I spent only one session there…or part of it. I remember Daddy visited me there once. He went to the headmistress and asked for a Fati Yello. It surprised him that I was nowhere on the register but they found a Fati Bello. She was sent for and hey, it turned out to be me!

Did I hug Daddy? I think I might have sat on his laps. He laughed and wondered why my name was Bello. I was surprised too and asked

“Ba Bello bane? Na aza Bello ne fa”.

The Yello must have not made any sense to me. At least I had heard of Bello before. Needless to say, it was corrected and Daddy left.

When I got back to Sokoto, for the first few days, I was happy. I reunited with the couch in Maa’s room that had been my bed for as long as I could remember. Maa petted me. She’d give me biscuits and ice cream. I’d remember Baaba, but I didn’t miss her untill the day my older brother, whom we called Niya, would attempt to make me recite the alphabets. That day I cried for Baaba for every letter I missed(and I missed plenty) Niya would give me knocks on the head until we got to anyone I recognised. (I usually could tell only to ‘k’. Until maybe ‘z’. Those in between, I had knocks for.)

I resumed school when the new term bagan. I still remember that school, like ten times bigger than the one I went to in Takum. This was Model Primary School, Secretariat Road. Daddy’s office was at the secretariat. My brother, Shehu went there too. But Amina, my younger sister, went to Model Primary School, Dorowa Road. I think we had four of them model schools, there was one at Wurno road and another at Birnin Kebbi road. 

Anyway, I was enrolled into class two because Amina was in class one. Two Green. There I made my first friend, Jamila.

I must have gone there third term, for I only wrote one exam and they said I had to repeat, for I did awfully bad. I didn’t understand how I could have done that bad when Jamila showed me all the answers. Thinking back now, I wondered what attachement she had to ‘JA’, because that was all we both filled in every blank space on our sheets. I had wanted to object when she said we should to same to our Maths paper too, but what did I know, she was a towns girl and that wasnt her first time in 2Green. So for additions, subtractions, multiplications ad divisions, our answers were all ‘JA’.

That year, after we brought our report cards home, I failed and Amina didn’t, I got a new name. Maman class two.



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