“mama!! Papa!!!” Olu screamed excitingly as he dashed for the door to his mother’s little kitchen, the letter and envelope dangling between his fingers “mama! Papa!!!”
“Olu what is it? ” his father, Mr. Adebayo caught up with him” why are you screaming and running?? ”
His mother came out of the kitchen, rubbing her hands against her wrapper”what happened??” she asked worriedly, exchanging glances between father and son
“mama, look” Olu held the sheet of paper to his mother’s face “i made it!!!”
His father snatched the raised paper curiously, reading through hurriedly while his mother was peeping over at the letter
“mama, i made it!! “Olu jumped, hardly containing himself ” i got the scholarship, I’m going to the University and it will all be paid for by the Government!!”
” ehn? “his mother quickly moved her glance to her son” scholarship? University??!! Chimooo!!! “she jumped” my God has done it ooo” she began dancing
Mr Adebayo smilled proudly, looking up at his son and then his wife dancing by the side, he tapped his sons shoulders, “congratulations son, i am proud of you”
“thank you daddy” Olu gave a little bow, laughing excitedly “thank you sir”
He screamed, hugged his mother and joined her in the dancing, his father shook his head and began walking to the sitting room with a plastered grin on his face.
That was a month ago, sitting now in the hall of the prestigious Benson Idahosa University, looking at his fellow colleagues walking into the hall for the same lecture, some chattering blisfully with one another, he felt so out of place.
He became extremely conscious of his faded trousers and worn out shoes as his colleagues were looking all dressed up, he kept glancing around to see if there was someone as lowly dressed as he was, not seeing anyone, he breathed a fraustrated sigh, took out his text book on Company Law and tried to redirect his attention.
Laying on his six spring bed, Olu dialed his mother’s number….
“my boy” mrs Adebayo answered at the other end “how is school?”
“mama, studies are fine o, we got our test scripts yesterday and i had the highest score in class… ”
“ah my son, well done oo, i am happy to hear this, you have always being intelligent…”
“but mama..” Olu groaned, “i don’t have money again, the 3, 000naira you and papa gave me months ago is exhausted, i hardly have any food to eat, or money for materials… ”
“ah my son, it’s just because my market has not being moving but don’t worry, i will speak to your father and we will manage to send you 2000 naira, just manage it and continue to borrow materials like you have being doing ehn?”
“okay ma. Hope everyone is fine at home?”
“yes, we are doing fine my son, we are managing”
“okay, take care mama, bye”
“bye my son”
Olu’s roomate walked into the room, “guy how far?” he shook his hand
“Dani man i dey o..heard our coursemate Nancy is having her birthday party today”
“Yes o, and everyone who is somebody will be there. You know she is the Minister’s daughter, ah, cannot wait. Hope you are coming o”
Olu scratched his head, “i would have loved to o, but im yet to complete my assignment and you know we are to submit it tommorow”
“ah Olu, you of all people yet to finish your assignment? C’mon, you know i don’t believe that, even me has completed mine”
Olu smirked turning his gaze to the wall
Daniel sighed, understanding his friend’s true reason, he sat besides him, “look Olu, i know why you don’t want to go, why not borrow some of my clothes, i wont mind”
“for how long will i continue to borrow from you ehn? You have being kind to me enough, look, i just don’t belong here. I wish i had gotten this scholarship to a school of people like me and not here where everywhere is just big men’s children, i just don’t belong man, i just don’t fit in”
“guy no talk like that” Daniel tried to calm him down
“why i no go talk like that?” Olu cut him short “your father himself is a big man and you have always had all you wanted, so you can’t understand what life is like for me. Even the girls no send me, i just dey”
Daniel chuckled, “anyway i may not understand but i be your guy, just let me know when you need anything. As for these girls, na pocket them dey look o”
Olu shook his hand, “thanks bro, i appreciate you”
“aii, just take it easy guy”
Months passed and Olu continued to do excellently well in school, but still found it hard to fit in and his self esteem continued to diminish. He wished he could dress up like his colleagues, be able to afford his own text books and materials, have enough pocket money but things were not improving at home and he continued to manage what was sent to him.
He avoided social gatherings of his mates, kept to himself as much as possible…hated his life and felt invisible.
The lecture hall became noisy as the last lecture had just come to an end.
“guy” Daniel said glancing at his rolex wristwatch “lets go and get something to eat at the canteen before our next lecture, we have up to an hour”
Olu grumbled, “I’m not really hungry” he lied because he could not afford lunch that day
“guy, forget that thing” Daniel insisted, knowing his roommate and friend, “it’s on me, i will pay, let’s go” and he pulled him up from the seat and Olu followed reluctantly
Both boys sat down to a delicious meal of rice, salad and chicken. As Olu chewed away, feeling grateful to have a friend like Daniel, he imagined what his parents would be eating at home.
His thoughts were interrupted by the conversation going on next to him on the other table
“i can’t believe you don’t feel embarrased mingling amongst all these people” the first girl said, “me i can’t o, not with the way i look”
“oh well,” the second girl shrugged “i dont let my situation get to me, i mean, i know my mum is poor and my dad is late and i do not have what these other kids have, but i have God and i m content in myself” “Afterall,” she shrugged again, “soon we will graduate and i will be able to get a good job and afford all i want, the fact that my mother is paying my school fees alone is enough for me….and that i have good friends like you ” she patted her friend and the both girls giggled chewing away
Olu sat back in his chair, moved by the conversation he just overheard. He recognized that girl, he often saw her on campus chattering away with other students, always smiling. He never knew she had so little.
Here was a girl having less than he did but not afraid to own up to who she was…
“guy!” Dani called “guy!!!” he tapped him.
Olu jerked back to reality
“ah!” Daniel continued, ” Where your mind dey na? Its almost time for our lecture, lets leave”
Olu breathed out, scrambled up his books and both boys walked out of the canteen towards their department
Later that day, back in the hostel, Olu laid in his bed thinking about the conversation he overheard between both girls at the canteen.
He could not shake it off, and he compared his life to hers, and taught about his attitude towards life as well
Here he was on a Government scholarship in a school his parents would ordinarily have not being able to afford, he was the best student in his department, having other students come to him for help with their academics but he walked through life resentful, hating himself for not having as much as the other kids
There and then, he thanked God for the good in his life and the fact that even though poor, he still had his both parents alive, unlike the girl at the canteen…
He went on his knees, thanking God for his life and making a conscious decision to not isolate himself from other students anymore, he made up his mind to be himself, accept and love himself for who he was, suddenly realising that the right people would accept him too regardless of his status just like his friend Daniel had done.