My Gar(ish) Valentine

Back in high school it was pretty fad to have girlfriends in all the schools in all the regions.

Heck! We were santaclausians and we were the dons of the cape. Don’t really care what those boys in the school with the underpass road think but yes, we had our own swag.

Ask the girls at Gey Hey (Wesley Girls High School) or those at Syte (Mfantsiman Girls) or Holy Co and even as far as AbuGiss (Aburi Girls Senior High) and you will know that Adisco (Adisadel College) boys are the toast of these girls’ schools.

February 14 is a date that doesn’t go unnoticed. Boys save for the date right from the Christmas holidays and some boys even have to take care of multiple girlfriends.

So it was time to hoard the pocket money and for those of us whose school fees were handed to us to pay in cash it was a blessing. We just took the school bill apart and took out unnecessary fees and justified it by not paying. It usually got us into trouble with the school administration but then just enough for us to get money to replace what we had taken out by soliciting for more money during the term for textbooks and extra classes.

Days to the event, boys took exeats to Accra to order cakes from Bake Shop etc to be delivered on Valentine’s Day. Some even ordered it during the vacation.

Others ordered Mr PostMan cards (very huge cards) to be added to the cakes and hampers for the girls.

Apparently the girls also did same for their boyfriends and it was a big deal then.

Not to get even a card on Valentine’s Day in Adisadel College meant you were a social outcast. It was a very big deal. On Valentine’s Day, all day cards, hampers and parcels kept coming in, mostly delivered by courier.

Mind you, this was at a time when the post office (snail mail) was still open and courier service was new and pretty expensive. The difference was that for your valentine card to get in you had to post it three days early and that meant that it could either arrive early or arrive late.

In Adisco effect meant everything.

Even with the courier, to get one from DHL you were ‘oga’ (big man) and the more affluent boys did.

On valentine’s day even though the day went as a normal day with normal activities, there was some kind of tension in the air and it was the tension of competition because boys were looking out for who will get the most cards for that year and be the ‘ultimate male’ for the year. This was a title with bragging rights for a whole year till the next Valentine’s Day.

The title usually went to one of the handsome more affluent boys of ‘good pedigree’ in the school.

So whilst the cards keep coming in left right centre, some of us who did not expect anything just went about our normal day activities. So imagine my surprise when I was told whilst on the basketball court after siesta that I had a visitor.

Upon enquiries as to who it was, I learnt that it was a girl I had known whilst growing up and have had the longest crush on ever. Wow! Was this coincidence that today of all days she would come looking for me?

The junior boy who brought the news also indicated that she was carrying a parcel in a red plastic bag. And that she wasn’t alone.


Usually girls who delivered their own parcels didn’t come alone but were accompanied by a friend. So this one di333r, I was certain it was very important.

Furthermore, this is a girl who was known to be a recluse and hardly ever leaves her school premises when school was in session. What will compel her to leave her school to come to mine, Adisadel College, on that particular day.  Was she finally coming to tell me how she felt about me?

Imagine my excitement.

Now loads of thoughts run through my head as I left the basketball court all sweaty to talk to this girl and her friend.

Did I have to do a quick run to the dorm and take a shower first?

Do I send a junior boy to get me a change of clothes so at least I look a bit presentable?

Do I just get a towel on any of the drying lines on the way to where they were waiting and wipe some of the sweat off me?

Did I stink on account of sweating?

My palms were wet, how would they feel if I shook their hands?

Being a shy person, what will I say when I met them? Hello or hi?

Wow! A myriad of thoughts.

Finally I decided, she’s seen me in my best and in my worst so well, who cares anyways, let me go see her like that.

So I bravely got down the stairs from the upper school to the lower school ( I was in Aglionby House and they were waiting under the trees at LeMaire). Thoughts still run in my head as I walked on the pavement to meet them.

The gentlemanliness of Adisco boys is unparalleled anywhere, at least they had been given seats under the shade of the trees so I just walked up to them and said hello. The smiles that met me even made me more hopeful. These were very pretty girls and her friend was as pretty as she was if not even more.

Proper introductions were done and then we exchanged the usual how are you doing. All around us, people were carrying teddy bears, cakes and cards and we talked about how Valentine’s Day was in both our respective schools. It wasn’t as bad for the girls as it was for the boys.

According to them, it was only the girls who saw themselves as the crème de la crème who when they didn’t get any cards felt badly about it. It was a competition there too.

All the while, I was eyeing the plastic bag at her feet wondering when we were going to get to the point when she tells me what is on her mind and hands over the red bag and its contents.

Each time there was a stall in the conversation the girls looked at each other and a look passed between them I could not understand. When will they just take me out of my misery so I could head out back to the court to get back to play basketball.
So finally my crush got to tell me why she was visiting on that crucial day. She had been taken ill with malaria and had gone home and when she was coming back to school, my mother had given the parcel to be given to me.

My first notion was to be disappointed it was not from her. So I said thank you, called a junior boy to come get it and take it to my dorm whilst I went ahead to see the girls off.

Being too late to get to the basketball court I was anxious to see what was in the parcel. In parting, the girls had said something about the plastic bag not being the original container of the package but since I didn’t know what it was I wasn’t paying attention.

It was only when I got to the dorm that I realized that truly I should have paid attention. My boys had spread out the contents of the parcel as was done with all parcels. And there was a deathly silence waiting for me to get back to claim it.

So I walk straight to the parcel that I know is mine and open the plastic bag only to see that there was another plastic bag inside. Now I understood the repackaging.

Diving straight into what lay inside the parcel; I wondered what my mother would have sent me on this Valentine’s Day?  I love my mother and I think she is the wisest woman on earth.

Anxiety and disappointment was pushing me to open the parcel quickly. Disappointment that the parcel was not directly from my crush and anxious to know what my mother had sent.
Now you are anxious to know too.

Well my mother had sent me just 2 American tins of gari.

Yes Gari!

Cassava gari aka students’ companion, yes Gari.

When everybody was getting cakes, cards, hampers and parcels, I got gari.

Boys laughed at me really hard that day but only until it was discovered that somebody had eaten the insides of a perfectly untouched chocolate cake.

How that happened, we have never found out till date but the owner of the cake was mighty pissed.

But that was my gari(ish) valentine’s day. The same gari saved me and my dorm mates from hunger and starvation when it was announced impromptu that we were going to say in school for another week so we could be registered for our final exams.  People had eaten all their food with vacation in mind and I happen to just have 2 American tins of gari.

Thank God for moms after all. They are the best.


4 Responses to “My Gar(ish) Valentine”

  1. yaatekyiwaa Says:

    Hahahaha. I was anxious about what was in the bag the whole time I was reading

  2. Hehehehe…..kw3 eno easy ooo

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