The Kenya Human Rights Run Essay Competition.
One dull day before we broke for August holidays , I was sick and had permission out of school. In the afternoon , I had felt a bit of myself though bored I had just resorted to relaxing in the living room when my sister popped in from school . She had a page from the dailies which beared an essay competition sponsored by a national human rights organization . She was quick to persuade and encourage me to try it out “ for fortune comes once in every mans life,” as she said to create emphasis and to perhaps add some weight .Okay I was already at home with it and i wondered why she was being too generous with her words. Anyway they served to propel my morale to higher levels. I was indeed a great fun of writing . In a dink of a second I was down to serious business. Surprisingly enough I had five full fullscaps as I penned off! I smiled as a matter of appreciation to my efforts . I also remembered to murmur a hearty congratulatory message to myself . She helped me check out and correct petty mistakes ,grammar and spelling . After two days I settled down on it to write the final copy. I had participated in the primary schools` category. The topic was ; “Human rights and governance in Kenyan schools”. A very sensitive one. This competition was an encouraging one for there was some good cash for the top three nationwide at each category . I made sure that I was through and posted my work long before the deadline was overdue to avoid penalization due to lateness. I never discussed this matter with anybody else at home and even at school apart from my mother and sister who had brought in the idea .She had also tried out her fate in the secondary schools category.
The issue of having participated in essay writing competition was not such a matter to keep lingering over in anticipation of the possibility of the results turn out. With this fact at the helm of my mind I resolved to forget about the matter only to follow-up later on. I had successfully done my part and therefore let the Almighty work out his will. School went on and as the junior students closed school for August holidays the seniors ;class seven and eight; were obliged to remain in school for a three weeks tuition coaching. This period was strenuous and needed determination and well set strategy .At times I would come across a given new concept in a subject that would make me feel that I was not fully prepared to tackle the exam that was forthcoming. ;Kenya certificate of primary education; I gathered enough knowledge and sat down to scrutinise the concept in pursuit of its deepness. I would thus be at home with it and the fear was hence dispelled.
The second week after opening for third term, I thought was a pretty good time for me . One fine Wednesday as I entered school, with a good cool blazing of the early morning September winds . Although I was a bit late for school I was not carried away. Students expressed excitement on their faces and chatted happily grouped in clusters of three to four as they did the early morning manual work. My presence drew all their attention as what they were doing approached a sudden stand still. Their was confused noise of cheering and yelling as agood number of them made their way in majestic steps towards my direction . “What a heroic welcome?” I questioned myself. I was totally in the dark of all this occurrences . “We`ve just seen your name in today`s daily nation having been position three in an essay competition,” they chorused with excitement some coming in late as if to create sweet melodic rhythm just like the early morning weaver birds. “The name of our school is also written below your name ,”a sharp childish and clear voice noted shortly afterwards. They all laughed loud .”Shh! shh! Shh!,” I had to silence them so that they hear me . I cleared my throat like a respectable member of parliament preparing to give his winning speech then explained distinctly of how I had come across the essay competition . The full details not leaving out the fat prize attached to it. My heart palpitated anxiously as I waited for their reaction . I could read from their faces that they were still attentive , wanting to hear more!.
During the class hours for that day , I could not settle down to read especially during prep lessons . This I attributed to the over excitement in me . Scarcely had the bell for morning lessons to commence sounded when our teacher of English ; who was in school that early and had heard of the good news; requested i meet her. I moved at a speed that would have made a chameleon a long – race champion towards the staff room . No sooner had I made for the door than I saw her having seen me , smile appreciatively expressing a pearl of white teeth and expressed a firm “congratulations Tonny.” She had just wanted to open the news to me and thank me for a job well done. “How did you happen to come by the essay competition?” .She was already opening a conversation . I was good at it . “Okay , my sister had given me an extract from the daily nation which contained it . I studied it keenly and settled down on it . As I finished I realized that I had made it and handed it over to her to help with corrections which she did with approval . She`s also good at English .”I had said all this to prevent all possible questions from the teacher who was just too eager to know almost every detail of it. She shook my hand discreetly with loveliness and saw me off to class promising to call me later in the day for more discussion. “Have a nice day dear boy’’ she said to wish me well before we parted ways. “Thank you madam ,” I remembered to be kind and appreciative too.
As lessons began for that day I noticed all eyes on me. For a moment I thought it was as if everybody wanted to sit next to me to help budget the cash to come. The day was a nice one, having received a hundred and one congratulations for what I considered not very great for such recognition. Coming to the mathematics lesson, the teacher was quick to pick on me to work out sums on the wall board. “This is a great young man”, he said to cheer me up. “Imagine he already has his names appearing in the newspaper yet mine has never surfaced there for all these years”, he added I think to make his remarks sound more appealing and compelling. Students hissed.
*An Excerpt from SEVERAL YEARS: Winston Eboyi Tony