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Chuki knew that passing the “O” Level (Ordinary Level) Statistics paper was crucial to her dreams and future. The WAEC (West Africa Examinations Council) timetable said the exam would commence by 9:00 hours, and candidates should be seated by 8:00 hours to go through the formalities. She was on time.
Not that she had many options for cheating. She could abbreviate some formulae on the inner part of her hand and cover it with her black, long-sleeved blouse… Or on her thigh and wear a loose skirt… Or this, or that. She already knew she was a scaredy-cat. She had been brought up thinking that if you had not worked for something you were given, you might not really deserve it. Maame drummed it home, “Make sure you work hard, so you’ll be proud of your achievements. Otherwise, it would be difficult for you to face the person in the mirror”.
She had failed ‘O’ Level Mathematics twice. Then someone suggested that Statistics was better. That is why she paid Mr Amadi to teach her. And she took the lessons seriously. It’s just that for her, Mathematics was, officially, a troublesome subject no matter how she tackled it. In any case, for the past 5 months, she had been preparing for this exam, so she should be able to face it squarely.
During the paper, the boy sitting to her right managed to get her attention. He then shifted his writing, tilting it just in case she wanted to copy from him. The invigilators were chatting at the front. Yet she could not bring herself to copy from the paper so freely given.
After that paper, the boy found her by herself. She was delicately perched on a bench behind the hall. He tried to be gentle. “Hello, how was the paper?” Chuki spinelessly mumbled something like, “Uh, hello. It was ok.” Then he got serious. “It seems you were not calculating that much. How so?” “I did what I could,” she parried lamely. Confidently, he said, “That is why I signalled to you and even tilted my paper for you.” “Frankly, I can’t do it. No matter how difficult a paper is, I can’t copy in an exam.” Chuki shuddered at the thought.
Fast forward sixteen years. Chuki is on a university interview panel as it interviews a candidate for their faculty. Their candidate that morning is a man in his late thirties. He looks vaguely familiar, but she cannot place him. It’s the man who remembers eventually. After the interview, he contacts her, hoping she can help him. And they remembered the Statistics paper some 16 years ago. Then they exchange contacts promising to catch up with each other later. Look at Proverbs 16:33. It says, We may toss the coin and roll the dice, but God’s will is more magnificent than luck(The Passion Translation). In fact, the Message Bible is even more clear… God has the final say. Our hard work is still dependent upon God’s increase and favour. Many struggles over this concept, but it’s true.
Now to our story. You would want to know how a girl who failed Maths (twice) and maybe Statistics too becomes a university lecturer? And the brilliant boy is looking for a job? Stay tuned.