“A real waterfall? A real-life waterfall?!” Iphie jumped up, hands on hips, “It’s not true Ada or whatever your name is! There is NO waterfall in Nigeria! It’s only in America and London that you can find things like that! I’m going to another seat, Gennie! Bisi! Let’s go! I don’t have time to sit with people who are not intelligent!” She picked up her school bag and stomped away.
Ada stared at her, her mouth wide open. Suddenly she heard someone laughing behind her. She turned around to see a girl with nice chuku and colourful glass beads that danced as she laughed. She was shaking and wiping tears from her eyes. The name on her tag read ‘Joy’
“Close your mouth joor!’ The girl named Joy said. “Don’t mind her! She doesn’t know anything. She’s a stupid girl. Miss Suo said she’s a fool that doesn’t know that she’s a fool” she laughed harder.
Ada’s eyes opened wider than her mouth.
The girls in this school are mean. I don’t like this school. She thought
“Joy! Iphie is not stupid! YOU are stupid!” the one named Bisi shouted from the back of the class, pointing her forefinger at Joy. “Everybody knows there’s no real waterfall in Nigeria!” She had a huge scowl on her face.
Joy laughed harder. “Chicken Brain!”
“Who are you calling Chicken Brain?!” Bisi jumped up, hands on hips. Ada looked from one girl to the other.
Joy clapped her hands and laughed harder “No one! I’m just singing a song” and she sang to the tune of ‘Old MacDonalds Had a Farm’
Someone has a chicken brain, chicken chicken brain (2x)
With a cuckoo here and a cuckoo there
Here a cuckoo, there a cuckoo, everywhere a cuckoo
Someone has a chicken brain, chicken chicken brain
Everyone in the class burst into laughter. Bisi’s eyes immediately filled with tears.
“Girls are so stupid.” A boy sitting directly behind Ada said to his neighbour and they laughed too. Ada stared at the boy. His name was Osa.
They are all mean. They are all mean. They won’t stop insulting themselves. I don’t like this school
Suddenly the laughing stopped abruptly, and all the girls and boys sat up and faced the front of the class. The class was so quiet that you could hear the sound of Bisi’s angry breaths from the back.
Ada turned slowly away from Osa back to the front of the class. She looked at the classroom door. A woman stood there. She was a tall skinny woman with tight chuku that drew her tiny eyes towards her hair, lips that were so thin they looked like two lines drawn with a very sharp pencil and a pointed nose with a shiny tip. She was frowning so much that her eyebrows were almost touching. She looked like a bird, a very angry bird.
“Good morning Ms. Emem” The class chorused.
“Stand up all of you, raise your hands, close your eyes and open your mouth! You’ll stay in that position for 10 minutes!”
Through half-shut eyes, Ada watched as the rest of the class quickly obeyed the teacher. Ms. Emem walked round the class immediately, her heels tapping hard against the floor as she slapped backs, raised hands higher in the air, making sure they all obeyed her instructions.
“My class is always the noisiest class in the whole school.” She muttered as she walked to her desk. “Stupid children”
Ada squeezed her eyes shut as she walked past her.
I don’t like this school
Her eyes twitched and lips trembled. She didn’t want to cry, she knew the other kids would laugh at her. I don’t like this school. I want to go back to my old school. I don’t like this school. I don’t like it.
“Sit!!” Ms. Emem barked from her chair and they hurriedly put their hands down and thanked her. When she sat on her chair, Ada felt something. It was a piece of paper. A note. She turned back and looked around. No one was looking at her, no one smiled. She wondered how the paper got to her chair and who put it there. Slowly she unfolded it and read:
There are waterfalls in Nigeria.
Meet me at the library by 12.
Don’t be Late.
to be continued …