THE EXCHANGE

This piece was inspired by the BBC’s sex for grades video. I hope everyone who has been a victim of sexual harassment in exchange for grades, get the healing that they deserve.

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“How far na? You don see your result? Omo e be like say most people bang o”

Oge shrugged, she couldn’t be bothered by what Lilian had just said. She knew she wasn’t on that table at all. She ended the call to continue watching Tinsel.  She would check her result whenever she deems fit. She is yet to understand how people manage to fail in a federal university, especially the ladies who have everything they need to bag good grades.

She reached for a pack of Benson & Hedges on the dining table and as she lit a stick, she took a walk down memory lane. She remembered how she had written JAMB four times before she could gain admission to the University of Benin. She swore by her mother’s grave that she was going to study very hard, get a first class and make her late mom proud. She had tasted poverty first hand when her dad suddenly lost his job at the local refinery, and she was determined to get out of the hole poverty had boxed her into. Her melancholic nature came to life as she strategized on how she was going to do side businesses after lectures and burn the midnight candle, just so she can make ends meet while being a top student in her department.

The first semester rolled off very quickly but after her exams, she was quite confident that sleeping for less than four hours every day would pay off.  After her last paper, she went straight to the chapel and joined other dancing students who had come to thank God for the amazing results they believed Him for.

The day the results were released, Oge ran braless to the faculty to join the crowd of students struggling to check their results on the notice board. When she finally fought her way to the front, she nearly had a heart attack from the result staring back at her – five B’s and two missing scripts. She returned to her hostel down casted.

“Oge, no be your fault, those two courses wey you fail so, no be book dem dey use pass dem o” Lilian attempted to console her. “Wetin dem dey use pass am again, I go do pass myself?” she barked at her friend. “This one na coded gist o, but I hear say Prof Egbegbe dey like make them settle am first, if you get luck, e fit be money he go ask, if not na toto o”

That was four years ago, when she was such a naive young girl. Now, she knows better than to try to pass any course on her own. At first, she used to cry whenever she had to sleep with any of the randy lecturers for good grades, but as time went by, she only closes her eyes and imagines herself in a top executive meeting of an oil and gas company deliberating on management matters. She enjoys her time in utopia and pays no mind to the grunts from the old men, till they are done.  She knew she had to do these to lay the foundation for the good life she desired after school. Who will employ her if she comes out with a third class because she couldn’t just do a few rounds? No employer cares about what value you have to offer if your connection or good grades doesn’t get you past the door first. She cannot afford to be foolish and compare herself to senator’s children who already have secure jobs waiting for them when they graduate.

Oge thought of her mother and a feeling of sadness washed over her. She was such a good woman, but what did life reward her with? A broke philandering husband who turned her into a punching bag. She remembered how industrious and full of integrity her mom was. “Life dey mysterious my daughter, but I know say if we do good for here, God go reward us for heaven” her mother had said many times. Unfortunately, she has no plan to walk in her mother’s shoes, she would rather enjoy life to the fullest here and care less about what is waiting for her at the other side.

“Oge baby, I gave you an A as promised, let’s meet at our usual spot, there is this amazon style I want to show you” Dr James’ message jolted her back to the present and she couldn’t stop the smile that spread across her face. 

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5 Replies to “THE EXCHANGE”

  1. Afolayan Bukola says: Reply

    Nice one Wunmi. So much depth in this and I think I must have giggled alittle when Oge had to run “braless” to check her results…..#ShedonknowWaisgoingon ??… For your first fiction, I’ll say it’s a good read. ❤️

    1. Omowunmi Fatogun says: Reply

      Thanks Bukky! ???

  2. Ife aka spiffy says: Reply

    Loooooove it!! And the details!??

  3. Ife aka Spiffy says: Reply

    Looove it!! And the details!!??

  4. Wow! Beautiful writ…
    Someday, there would be answers to why integrity brings much pain.

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