Finally, the much anticipated e-book is here. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my heartfelt delight to present to you “Naija Campus Tales” by Omoya Yinka Simult. You can download it at no cost.
Enjoy Campus Tales 4!
When I left for the restaurant at the Faculty of Education on Friday morning, I only sought for a temporary repose from the rumblings that I felt in my tummy. We had just finished a three-hour lecture on Anatomy, and we had an hour break before the next class, Physiology. The Physiology class was going to be a three-hour affair, too. I did not need a prophet to warn me I had to stuff some food down my throat; the weakness and sluggishness of my body were enough pointers. So, off I went.
Mama Tee, the eponymous owner of the restaurant, is well-known to me. Her son, Bolu, was my classmate in secondary school. Because we attended Federal Government College, Ikole-Ekiti, located many towns away from our residence in the state capital, Bolu and I often travelled back home together at the end of the term. Each time we did, we stopped at his house first, where his mother always had tasty delicacies prepared for us.
“Now that you’re back home, you boys have to be treated to good meals, to make up for all those nutrients you must have been starved of in school,” his mother would say with loving kindness, shaking her head as she held on to our arms, as though she could measure how much weight we had lost by merely feeling them. She would then stand and help us through the three-course meal she had prepared.
She always compelled us to start with the fruit salads, which she made us understand were appetisers, because they made us hungrier and whetted our appetites for the main dish. The main dish was usually fried rice and chicken, garnished with carrot, cucumber, green beans and cabbage. After the main dish was the dessert. Her desserts were either chin-chin or cake or pop corn. She served the main dish with a peculiarity, having the slices of carrot arranged in twos on the four edges of each plate. The first day she asked if I enjoyed my meal, I told her the only thing that came to my mind.
“The fried rice is very sweet, ma, but the way the slices of carrot are arranged on it curiously reminds me of Odu Ifa, after the Ifa priest has dotted its surface with his two prominent fingers during divination,” I said. She laughed until her sides ached, and mumbled something about the youths of these days having wild imaginations.
So, it was quite natural that I would go to the restaurant managed by this food connoisseur of a woman when I was feeling famished yesterday. Besides the fact that her meals are delectable and nutritious, Mama Tee has given a standing order to her waitresses to serve me generously whenever I go there to eat. The waitresses are now inclined to favour me with more food than my bill would ordinarily account for. What else would entice a student to a restaurant more than this? I have become such a regular customer at the restaurant that the waitresses now know what food I would request for, even before placing my order.
“Welcome, doctor,” the first waitress that saw me as I entered into the restaurant yesterday greeted. I nodded and beamed.
“As usual, shebi?” she enquired, referring to my order.
“Yes o, my sister,” I replied.
She served 80 naira worth of jollof rice, 30 naira dodo, an egg for 30 naira and two sachets of pure water. Everything summed up to 150 naira. My meals never exceed that. I carried my tray and went over to the only unoccupied table. I sat and began eating in silence. My spoon dived into the bright orange mound, with a piece of dodo levelled on the grains. I chewed the first mouthful, and I could almost swear I felt a rush of glucose to my brain. Halfway through my meal, a well-dressed gentleman came over to my table, tray in hand.
“Good morning,” he said with a smile.
“Good morning, sir,” I answered with due respect, having figured out he was much older than me, and that he might be a man of repute, for he paid careful attention to dressing and there was a perceptible aura of confidence around him.
“O young man, you are a student of this school, right?” he asked, looking at me with keen eyes.
“Yes, I am.”
“What department?” he questioned, as he took a spoonful of jollof rice to his mouth, chewing with his lips closed.
“Medicine, sir,” I said.
His jaws halted. He riveted his eyes on me as if he wanted to assess me. He dipped his hand into his chest pocket and brought out an ID card, which he handed to me. My eyes swept over it in a glance. It showed he was also a medical student. He was in the final class at the University of Ibadan.
“Wow, you’re a final year medical student in University of Ibadan!” I exclaimed.
He smiled and nodded, like one who knew I would be excited by this discovery. I moved my chair closer to the table and bent forward.
“You are the first medical student of EKSU I would be meeting,” he said.
He had come to visit his fiancée, who was a final year Law student in EKSU, he explained. He asked me about my lecturers, how far EKSU had gone with the accreditation of its College of Medicine, the medical facilities we had and many other details. I gave good remarks about my school. That much was expected of me at least.
“Em, and UI used to be my dream school o,” I blurted out, with a voice laden with awe.
“So, why aren’t in UI? I mean, why are you in EKSU then?” he asked, lifting his eyes to meet mine.
I fumbled with my spoon. The reason I was going to give was a laughable one, but it was the truth all the same.
“When I graduated from secondary school, my parents felt I was too young to go and live in Ibadan all by myself. So, they opted for EKSU, the nearest university around.”
He couldn’t help laughing. “Oh, really? That’s interesting. Do they still think you’re too young?”
“No,” I responded.
“Then you can still be a student of UI. All you need do is apply for change of institution with tenable reasons. I think they call it ‘transfer’ or something,” he informed.
My eyes widened at the glimmer of hope. I had never heard of such a process. Listening to him speak, it looked so simple and possible. I was sure I would draft a letter to the provost of the College of Medicine as soon as I got back to my hostel. My only fear was how I would conjure convincing reasons to make the provost approve my application. To hell with the truth! I resolved to cook up something moving. God didn’t give me a head for mere decoration, did he?
The time was now 11.50 am. In the next ten minutes, the Physiology class would start. I stuffed the remaining rice on my plate down my throat in a hurry, effused my thanks to the man who had just shown me hope, said my goodbye and rushed out of the restaurant.
I was on a fast trot, almost running. The rice in my belly clashed with the digestive juices, and I felt a growing discomfort in my belly. I ran my right palm over my stomach as if to calm it. “I can’t miss this Physiology class today ke,” I reassured my belly.
The class came into view. From the windows, I could barely spot an empty seat. I quickened my steps. Just as I placed my foot on the threshold of the class, I felt a staggering weight below my belt. My belly was no longer listening to my gentle cajoling. The rice and dodo and egg and whatnots seemed to be performing a relay race. They chased each other off track. I stood rooted at the door of the class.
The time was 12.01 pm. The Physiology lecturer looked askance at my immobile figure, his hand propped on the door knob. Beads of perspiration ran down my face . To enter the class or to get some relief for my belly?
The door closed in my face. No more entry. I started a stiff-legged walk to the row of toilets close by. Walking too fast could result in a dam-break, and progressing in a slow manner could mean messing myself up. I finally made it!
I got to the row of toilets. First door, locked. Second door, locked. Third door, locked. All the toilets were locked. See me, see wahala!
On that very spot, I loosened my belt, bent down and emptied my bowels in loud outbursts. On this, God would understand my dilemma and forgive my trespasses.
***First published on Levitatenaija.com***
Campus Tales series ends today. Thanks for following.
Make sure you get a copy of my free ebook before leaving.
~Omoya Yinka Simult