I reflect on the things I learned in primary school and see how so relevant they are to life today. Primary school was fun — I played football to a stupor. There was nothing else to do apart from playing football. Often I got flogged for coming back late. But we kept playing all the same. Well, you may jump the school fence and enter the nearby GRA to get fruits (mango, almond etc) but that was not my thing.
Most of the songs we sang in primary school, we sang out of point. The words were incorrect. Some I later learned only when I had a son and had to teach him some rhyme schemes. Did we care? Nah. Life was beautiful.
We all waited to sing “Now The Day Is Over”. Believe me, that was the only line that was correct. Do not ask me what the other lines were. We just knew that when we are told to sing it then it is exactly 1:30pm. The other song was at the end of the term — “Holiday Holiday Holiday. Holiday Come And Let Us Go”. When we sang it after the end of exams, it meant the term had ended. On the other hand, you really do not want to know what we sang as the other lines 😂😎
Life in Immaculate Conception Primary School, Ikot Ansa, Calabar was great. We did not know what we did not know. Again, did we care? Nah. But to put it in context, what should a 6–10-year-old care so much about in life? We just enjoyed our lives as they were. Simple, uncoordinated but eventful.
Fun fact — most of us did not even know the name of our school talkless of the spelling. Why should we? All of us had a code name for the school — we just called it “Immacu”✌ That was it.
We were about 60 in each class. Primary 1 had from A-G. Same for the other classes. So the school in my time easily had more than 3,000 pupils. Rambunctious kids. Always available to play. Our greatest feat was our ability to mispronounce words. We did not know what we did not know. Ignorance was bliss….then.
One thing that struck me was a simple prayer we said in primary school. This was one of the few things that we got the words right. It was a prayer of gratefulness. A word of thanksgiving. A word in season. A word out of season.
It goes thus…
Some have food but cannot eat.
Some can eat but have no food.
We have food and we can eat.
Glory be to thee Oh Lord.
That is it.
We have food and we can eat.
Praise The Lord.
It is not a comparative prayer. It is a prayer of thanksgiving. Why? Because you can have food and may not be able to eat for many reasons. As a child, you may not understand it because everything is working well in your body and your parents take care of most of the other issues of life.
Though I had a glimpse of having food and not being able to eat in 1989. I was sick unto death. All the lucozade I wanted was in front of me but boy, I was ill to the bones. I have a question for 1980s parents…why was it that it was only when we were ill that glucose and lucozade would appear? When we are ok, the thing was like attapiapia, you never gave us 🤷♂️🤦♂️👀). Anyway, do not answer as time has passed.
Now as a parent, who takes kids from time to time to hospitals and one who has roamed many wards in hospitals (I am not a doctor but have been there for evangelism/prayers for the sick), I know what it is to have good health. Infact it is a privilege to be hungry because it means something is working well in your body.
Thank you Lord for making me hungry.
Thank you Lord for giving me food to quench that hunger.
And even when I may not have food to quench my hunger.
I still thank you for making me hungry.
We have food and we can eat. Glory to /God in the highest. Amen.
I wonder why we throw away the basics. Maybe because we have grown. We should grow with the basics intact. We should not grow away from the basics. For in them, the issues of life are contained.
I end with the words of Solomon, in Proverbs 30: 7–9
Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord?
or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.
May the good Lord in His infinite mercies help us to be grateful for all that He has done for us. Amen.
Gabriel E. Omin