Category Archives: NDUBUISI

Ndubuisi – 7

The days have been drowned in a long bout of relentless downpour. It had rained all of Sunday evening and that rain had escorted them home from Osita’s place in Idemili. The after-effect of the rain had given Ndubuisi a poor case of catarrh that had lasted until Tuesday. The catarrh was gone today but the showers of rain persisted. The school was half empty of children because many had obviously been kept back at home by their parents and guardians. “Utter laziness and lack of dedication.” Headmaster had grunted when she’d gone to run an errand for him. “Will they keep them back from the farms and markets too?”

Ndubuisi – 6




HER entire first week working in the school had been an experience. That was how she saw it—a chance at a new experience. An experience, especially when it was new, was not always a happy one. It wasn’t always an exciting one. What it was, was fresh and, if you were willing and open of heart and mind, inspiring.

She had learned much from her first week as a cleaner in the village’s primary school. Most of her lessons surrounded human nature and behaviour. As the faces of men differ, so indeed did their nature. And as you would not expect one to look like the other, so you should not expect them to act the same.

She had had snatches of conversations with Magnus. He liked—and Ndubuisi liked to think that it was liking that made him come to the pear tree most break periods to talk with her. Their conversations always ended same way; he had class lessons to prepare for and so must leave her. She did same thing each time he walked away, stare after him in silent admiration.

She thought him the friendliest teacher in the school. Not the kindest, for he never offered her anything or shared anything with her, and indeed she did not expect him to. But he ate whatever she offered and he came, every break period, to keep her company for the shortest period of time.

Ndubuisi – 5




NO one is better than you. We are all equal. That is how God made us all: equal.

She always trusted her mother’s words. She grew up thinking of them as words filled with wisdom. But this morning, after she has mopped Headmaster’s office, the teacher’s staff room and staff toilet, and after she had assisted the primary two pupils to sweep their classroom right after sweeping the primary one classroom, and was looking forward to a moment’s rest inside the staffroom, she’d discovered that maybe her mother hadn’t been so right in her talk about God creating every one as equals.

Or maybe she never encountered someone like Miss Lovett, the primary four teacher.

“What are you doing, Ndubuisi?” She asked her when she entered the staffroom.

“Nothing.” Ndubuisi was puzzled by the question.

Ndubuisi – 4




THE sun was eager to exhibit its competency, it seemed. It was an hour off midday and yet, the sun had taken a centred spot on the skies and was blazing its beams mercilessly on those who dared to brave its shine.

Ndubuisi tracked off a stream of sweat from her temple and wished she’d remembered to add a cotton piece to the meagre contents of her purse. The satin fabric of her blouse which now clung to her skin, added to the heated discomfort. If she had considered the possibility of the sun being so hot today, she might have chosen a more suitable fabric instead of one that didn’t deal well with heat. Of course, her skimpy wardrobe didn’t allow too many choices but the satin blouse wouldn’t have been one she’d have chosen.

“Excuse me?”

She halted and half turned her neck. “Me?”

The man who’d made the call hastened his steps to meet up with her. “My apologies for detaining you, but I’m going to the school and wanted to know if I was still on the right track.”

Ndubuisi – 3




IF the lizard did not puff up its chest in courage to take the jump from the rooftop, then it would not have the chance to nod its head in pride at its landing.

Her mother used to tell her that when she skulked at corners, twisting her fingers as she scraped up the courage to approach her father for a favour.

She was twisting her fingers now, wringing them around the hem of her blouse and rubbing them hard against the heated satin fabric when her palms became damp with sweat.

The thick curtains that acted as door for the canteen were drawn to the sides, leaving the entranceway widely open. She wouldn’t go through it though. She had no wish to enter the canteen. Someone might notice and call to her and she preferred to escape such notice that would definitely end in questions, unsolicited counsels and then sighs of pity.

Ndubuisi – 2




SHE let the boy play by himself on the floor. He was making tiny sand moulds from the broken earth of the floor. She would sweep it later and pour back the sands into the holes they’d come from. When she could afford a linoleum carpet, she would cover the cement floor with it.

That was her plan.

It was more of a dream. One of the many she had. One of the many, she sometimes, maybe it was many times, feared would never be reality.

How could she make them come true?

She didn’t know. But still, she dreamed and she kept hope in her heart.


EPISODES: 2. 3. 4. 5. 6



SHE woke up that morning and there was gratitude in her heart. She was alive. That was enough. That was a new beginning. She opened her door, wincing at the creaking sound it made. She would oil the hinges, if she had oil to spare. But she didn’t. Not today.

The puddle had once again carpeted her frontage. She grimaced, wiggled her toes, and then sank her feet into the dirt brown water. It curled around her ankles and a floating leaf skirted in between her legs. She refused to think about it, her feet buried in muddy water and dirt, from gutters that had overfilled, scrubbing against her skin. Instead, she paddled forward, desperate the urinary.

She squatted over the hole on the cemented floor and lifted her nightdress, her breath held in as she relieved herself. Done, she jiggled and heaved up, then paddled back to her room. She would brave the bathroom later, when the sun returned with some warmth. Now though, she brushed her teeth and washed her face, changed to a day cotton dress and proceeded to light her kerosene stove.

Breakfast, and any other meal, was always what was available. She never thought about it, the lack of choices. She never saw that she had the right to complain. When a day brings with it what it wills, you take its offerings and do what you can.

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