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Life Lesson

Inner Conversation


6) Youth Week

The week after lum’s accident was bitter sweet. She only returned for classes on Wednesday because of her fractured arm. Her broken arm made her the center of attention. Mr Boniface had been extra kind and patient with her. Also Babila bothered her less. Her friends even helped her carry her school bag. Also her broom had scored her a 10/10 in arts and craft. The week had actually been milky until Lum tasted the bitter side of having a broken arm. She could not play as before and so was exempted from all the activities that usually brought her satisfaction. What had started as a great week, ended sour. Worse, Mama had banned Lum from ever climbing a tree. During the weekend, Lum kept praying her arm will get healed fast.

 On Monday which started off the youth week, Lum unsuccessfully tried to convince Mama to take the cast off. Her arm was actually beginning to itch. It was impossible scratching within the cast. Lum ate her breakfast and walked sadly to school. Neba got the worse from Lum’s arm situation. Apart from the fact that he could no longer retaliate when she pestered him, he now attended to her like a queen.

Devotion went on as usual. The head teacher then read out the agenda for the week. Saturday was going to be the 11th of February which was the national youth day. This whole week was the youth week. The week was packed with activities ranging from marching practice; inter sport competitions, choral singing, traditional dance competitions, and cleanup of the school premises, ending with the grand march pass on Saturday. The most exciting thing about this week was there was going to no classes throughout the week.

Monday was devoted solely to marching practice. The process involve choosing pupils from class four to seven who marched best to represent the school during the grand march pass. The march pass was competitive and the winners were awarded a prize and also gained prestige. Lum and her friends who had nothing to do with the march pass visualized themselves playing all day. Their hopes were however shattered when they were told they had to fetch several gallons of water to pour on the marching ground in order to prevent so much dust from rising while the senior pupils marched. School closed early on Monday. Lum and her brother were able to play at Mbah’s house before returning home. Tuesday was packed as well. The choral singers and traditional dancers were doing their final rehearsals. They had been rehearsing after school for the last two weeks. On Wednesday, they were to meet other groups in a sister school for a choral singing and dance competition. The head teacher had authorized class two to four pupils to accompany and cheer the school’s choir and dance group. All the pupils were to appear in school early and very neat. They were advised to behave themselves during the choral and dance activities.

On their way home, Lum and her friends chatted about the upcoming events. They pictured all the assorted snacks that will be sold at the competition ground. Lum especially was thinking of how to convince Daddy to give her money to spend tomorrow. It was going to be exciting visiting the premises of another school.

When Lum got home, Mama took out time to press uniforms she had reserved for special occasions for Lum and her brother. Mama also polished their black pair of canvas and brought out new socks for them. Lum and Neba stared proudly at their uniforms, shoes and socks. They were both going to look sharp tomorrow. All through the night, Lum dreamt of bread and sardine, sugar cane, bonbon, bread and chocolate, ice cream, Alaska.

“Lum! Lum!” Mama called. Lum could hear her name called lightly in her sleep. The voice grew louder. Lum then woke. Her spicy dream vanished. She sighed and dragged herself sleepily out of bed. By the time she had taken her bath, dressed and was having breakfast, her usual high energy was back. Mama kept looking at her neatly dressed kids with pride. Daddy gave Lum and Neba each three hundred francs before leaving for work. Neba put his money in his pocket, while lum put hers in a tiny wool purse hung around her neck.

“Be careful as you eat so you won’t stain you uniforms.” Mama cautioned Lum and Neba.

Mama then went out to hang the clothes she had washed in the evening on the drying line.

“Your cast is getting brown.” Neba said staring enviously at his sister’s cast.

“Then?” Lum said smirkly.

“It makes you look like an old woman.” Neba mocked touching the cast with his spoon.

“Stop it. I know you are jealous.” Lum said. Neba sighed and hit the cast with his spoon. Lum then lurched at him with her good hand, but unfortunately toppled her left over tea. The tea poured on the table and flowed to Lum’s uniform.

“Eh heh! Mama will kill you.” Neba said with a smile.

Just then mama walked in. Immediately she saw what had happened, she dropped the laundry basin and froze for a while. Mama then screamed, “Oh my! What am I going to do with this child?”

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