Read Time:2 Minute, 41 Second [Class 3 Printing Fee]
He stood in a tired uniform well ironed and tucked
And his shorts fusiform
Today was exams day and he couldn’t wait to write

He walked to him Mum for the usual morning blessings
She tried to tell him that he probably should stay home
He bowed his head and she threw her eyes away
They both knew why… why it was best to stay

But he knew what to say…
What to tell his teacher’s cane and his mates who might laugh again
Of why he will write but can’t pay

His Mother knew it would be another day when her second child
Will end education and chase after life around the traffic light
She sensed the aroma of history repeating itself today
And tried harder to keep him at home
But the little boy went to school
Ready to tell all about why he will write but can’t pay

They were many kids seated in arranged rows and columns
He saw the blank desk. It was Obvious Kweku wouldn’t come
One by one, the teacher inspected their printing-fee receipts
Some showed a full year, others for the term…
And he sat there, hoping to do magic

At last the teacher got to his desk
Every child was watching with their faces covered with laughs
It was an old story: he would be thrown out again
“Show me your receipt”, the Teacher requested
“If you don’t have go home”, a boy retorted
“No printing fee, no paper”, another dared to shout
…And now, they all teased

“I’m sorry you will have to go home” said the Teacher
He stood up, opened his mouth as if to cry then shut it
“Go on, do you have anything to say?” Teacher urged

In tears, he closed his eyes, clapped both palms together
And like a humble prayer, he said:

“I don’t want to be like Kwabena, my elder brother
Who lost his education a day like this
His daily bread is now oven by the red light on the street”

“I don’t want my mother to keep wishing for graduates
Yet crying to for the fact that she can’t afford one
I don’t want any of my mates here think me dumb
Because I have not the chance to prove myself”

“Don’t talk of my father, he is long resting and heaven is far away
He too had a task for me: “Become an engineer!”
Please Sir, Allow me education and one day we both won’t regret”

This minute, you are deleting a future
This minute, you can create a destiny
This minute break the rules to make an engineer and Heaven will smile.
This is my humble plea”

He opened his eyes to his ultimate dismay every eye was flooding
The teary teacher apologized and promised him his help

Later at home, his Mum, took the exams question paper
In a gentle voice, she asked, “how did you do it?”

Now he is a civil engineering student
An award winning poet
…and the author of this particular piece

Written by: Oppong Clifford Benjamin
Edited by: Kukogho Iruesiri Samson

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