Catherine | Short Story | Chapter One | Stories by Ima Udott

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Intro: Every youth corper has a story to tell about their experience in their  Primary Place of Assignment and so do I. Enjoy this beautiful Short story by Ima Udott.

 CATHERINE  -Ima Udott

Chapter One

For a PPA, I was posted to a government secondary school, in an interior village to teach. There were big schools in town, but I was unlucky to be posted to a village secondary school. Sincerely, I didn't like the environment, but I had to obey the clarion call.

The village had archaic houses, saved for one outstanding mansion which was close to the apartment that the school gave me and other corpers teaching in that school to stay.

The mansion was eye-catching. Though it had a giant gate that covered some of the features within, but there were other beautiful features it just couldn't stop people from viewing.

The kind of cars that drove in and out of the building were superb. The building was indeed exceptional.

I couldn't help but inquire about the owner of the building. I got to know that the owner was one of richest business men in the country.

According to my findings, he had other mansions in other states, but chose to base here because it was his village.

I also learnt that he stayed there with his wife, while his children schooled outside the country.

There were two things that the village lacked which affected me greatly; water and light. Every evening after returning from school, I had to go to the village pipe borne water and line up with the villagers so that I could fetch water.

One could barely find a motorcycle in the village. To charge my phone and laptop and to iron my clothes, I had to trek a long mile to town before I got to a dry-cleaning shop where I also paid to charge. I could only see motorcycles in town to ride me back.

I had no friends, though I was gradually getting to make friends with a few bright students. One thing I noticed in the school was how lazy and lackadaisical the village teachers were.

The students too were very comfortable with the unavailability of the teachers. I wondered how a teacher could show up in school once in a week and when they manage to show up, they barely teach the students.

Some of the  teachers would just call the class prefects, hand them notes to copy and that's all. The compound master would make sure the students cut grasses every day and clear the bushes, while depriving them of studies.

The Agricultural teachers are the most annoying. They'd use the students for their own interest by making sure the students clear and cultivate their lands, reminding them that it's their tests. 

When it's time to harvest the crops, they'd compel the students to do just that, while they cross their legs in their offices, pointing accusing fingers at the government for not paying them well.

With what I experienced in that school, I wouldn't advise anyone to send his/her child to such school because the students are lagging greatly behind. 

They only come to school to play, work, and go home without acquiring  academic knowledge which is the most important thing.

While there, I noticed a certain student, who was fond of coming late to my class. She was about fifteen or sixteen years old. I didn't bother to know her name because to me, she was like the other dull and dummy students who were just there to increase the class number.

My class usually started by 9:00 AM, but she was fond of coming around 10:30AM and sometimes 11:00 AM. The last time she came late, I warned her that any other time she comes late, she wasn't going to attend any of my classes for the whole of that day.

After school that day, I was on my way home when I saw her hastening to meet with me. I wasn't ready to hear any excuse for coming late the next day, if that was what she was coming to tell me. But surprisingly, it wasn't.

“Good afternoon, Sir,” she greeted me.

Her English was surprisingly very smooth and correct. She sounded intelligent and I was loving her already.

“Good afternoon. How are you doing?” I asked her as we walked side-by-side.

“I’m fine. My name is Catherine. I do see you around, especially when you're trekking to charge and iron. I also see you whenever you pass to fetch water,”

I wasn't surprised because students lived in every nook and cranny of that village. I had seen a lot of them, I was only surprised that I hadn't seen her around before, yet she saw a lot of me.

“Oh... okay, it's good to know,” I said, trying to end the conversation so that I could hurry back home.

“Sir, I can actually help you whenever you want to charge your phone. We have light at my place. I can also help you iron,”

I didn't want that. I only wanted to maintain teacher-student relationship within school. I didn't want any form of familiarity outside, especially not with a female student.

I was a young and handsome corper. Any funny friendship with a female student, even if it's just casual would definitely be interpreted differently by the curious villagers. I didn't want that, so I politely turned her down.

I didn't bother asking her where she stayed. I didn't even want to know anything about her so that she wouldn't feel that I was going to give into her request. 

In as much as I was tired of trekking almost everyday to charge, I didn't want any form of familiarity with the villagers.

One evening, I walked down to the dry-cleaning shop to charge and as well iron my clothes, but was so frustrated when I was told that the guy had traveled to come back in two weeks time. There was no other place around.

I wondered how I was going to survive for two weeks without charging my devices. I could manage my clothes that didn't need to be ironed, but how was I going to do with my dead phone and laptop?

On my way to my apartment, I heard a familiar voice calling me. I turned and beheld Catherine walking down to meet me.

Anticipate chapter two.

Cynthia - Ima Udott (2022)
Genre: Fiction

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