He grew up determined to get an education

The problem was, he was born in a village far away from “civilization”

There was a primary and secondary school built in his village ages ago

Teachers just didn’t show up

The journey from their village to the main city was about two hours

The roads were terrible and the students were sparse

The only incentives they have to offer teachers were palm wine and palm oil

The school couldn’t afford Parent Teachers Association teachers because the parents were poor and couldn’t raise the money

He was very hard working and dedicated

But you only know what you are taught

For almost a year they didn’t have a principal

And then they got a new principal

The principal was a young man who joined the teaching service early

The principal took the school like his personal mission

He wanted to fix things

But he was met with full resistance by the teachers

The teachers like him were employed by the state’s board of education

They were civil servants

They had a fixed salary regardless of whether they do their jobs or not

He couldn’t hire or sack teachers

He could only hire PTA teachers which the school could not afford

Every day, the principal looked at the students and felt sorry for them

The teachers had a pre-arranged working condition with the previous principal

They came in twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays to teach the syllabus for the whole week

They arrived at noon and leave at 3pm claiming the roads were horrible

That was the student's reality

One day he went to see the principal, he wanted to know how much he would pay for his WAEC examination

The Principal broke the news to him

"You were the Head boy and the one the students here consider the most brilliant

But you cannot pass WAEC and you cannot proceed to a tertiary institution"


"You can neither speak nor write a correct sentence of English

This also affects your other subjects’

You are good in mathematics, physic, further mathematics, some aspects of Chemistry and (Some aspects of) Biology

You cannot move on without at least a credit in English

You need to consider your options"

He took it like a man

He had met students from secondary schools in the city and knew he didn’t measure up

What do I do sir?

The principal asked him if he would like to live with him and his five children

We live in a modest flat

My two boys have a room and my three girls have a room

You can move into the boys room

I will enroll you in a secondary school in town

You will start from senior secondary class 1

It would be a huge sacrifice of time but in three years, you will be ready to write WAEC

He told his parents

His parents agreed

He told his best friend

His best friend told his own parents too

His best friend’s parents agreed

The two of them went to the principal

He accepted them

Their parents loaded the principal’s station wagon with food stuff

The principal took them to his house

They were enrolled in a high school in the city

They faced their studies

The principal instructed that communication with them should only be in English language

Before long the whole house caught the fever

They struggled at first but within a year they caught on

They wrote WAEC twice

Both of them gained admission

He studied engineering, his best friend studied anatomy

He was an outstanding student

But his command of the English language was very poor

He could write better than he could speak

He met this lady while he was in 300L

She was absolutely beautiful

Many guys wanted to be with her

He also wanted to be with her

But he wouldn’t dare speak his local dialect to her

He had also learnt from experience that his spoken English was a turn off for every lady he had ever tried to talk to

He started going to her house with a friend

They somehow grew close

He would go to her house and help her fetch water, do her house chores

He didn’t mind that other guys would come around and assume he was her brother or relative

She called him “brother so and so”

She waited for him to speak up

He didn’t

Other admirers kept coming

She kept entertaining them

Eventually one kissed her while he was bringing in a bucket of water

The sight hit him like a sucker punch

He left

She became restless

He was a good man

He paid attention to her

He didn’t mind that they were in the university and people laughed at him for being so unmanly

He would fetch water for her every day, buy provisions, cook, see that all her needs were met

He was also her teacher

She was studying mathematics and he was a genius

She had grown to love and depend on him

She didn’t like how he left abruptly

She dressed up and went to his house

He welcomed her

She asked him what the problem was, “Why did you leave like that?”

He said it was nothing

He just didn’t want to come in between her and her kisser

She felt offended

She didn’t ask the guy to kiss her, the guy just did

And here she is in his house and his tone sounded as if she did something to offend him

They were not dating!

He didn’t ask her out

He didn’t profess his love

Was she supposed to just assume?

He still didn’t say a word

She left after an hour

They finished their final examinations

She went home

Her mother called her and asked her about her man

“Time and tide waits for no one”

You have graduated, it is time to marry!

She told her mother about him and what happened between them

Her mother was a highly urbanized woman

A socialite

She expected her mother to laugh it off and tell her to find a guy who was in her class

This guy was essentially a thorough village breed

Her mother watched her in awe

He fetched water, cook, ran errands, saw to your needs and didn’t mind what people were saying? And you let him go?

Do you think love is English?

Do you know how educated your father was?

Do you ever see him doting on me and being all romantic?

That guy is your man

How do we get him?

She told her mother his address

The next day, her mother went to meet his mother in his village

She said her daughter told her the role “Brother so and so” played in her survival in school and she felt compelled to come to the village and say thank you

“He was in the forest felling trees for firewood, that was what he sold to sponsor himself through school” said his mother

Her mother was even more encouraged

A dirt poor village boy sold firewood and used the money to take care of her rich city daughter!


They went to get him

Her mother told him to come to their house next Sunday, she wanted to organize a small party in his honour

He didn’t understand it

His entire family and the family of his best friend were invited

They went

The families wined and dined

Her mother told him in front of everybody, “My daughter loves you”

He looked at her

She looked at him

She nodded

He opened his arms

She ran into his embrace

Everybody cheered

They went for NYSC

He got a job as an engineer with a food processing company

She got a job as a teacher

One year later

They got married



PS: this event happened in 2005/2006

The marriage is now ten years

The man turned out to be a genius indeed and had been richly rewarded financially for his abilities

He consults for many factories and engineering companies

They have four children

She said she didn’t expect her mother to approve of him, even though she loved him, her mother’s approval and role in bringing them together gave her the full confidence to marry him

He said he wouldn’t have been able to speak up because he really didn’t know if she would accept him or not. They had been very close and she still had the room to entertain someone else. This confused him

She said it was the best marriage ever! He loved her and had stayed faithful to her since they were in 300L


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