As explained earlier, my health hadn’t been on top form for some weeks now. I was in hospital twice for two very different and coincidental reasons. Fortunately I did get to go home for a week between admissions. It was the week beginning the 22nd of February, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I had been invited to a school to talk to kids ranging from 11 – 13 years of age. I’d never done it before, was a nervous wreck and wasn’t yet at 100% health. But I still wasn’t going to miss it for anything.
It was worth every second.
These kids got me talking about things I hardly ever think of. They asked questions some of my closest friends wouldn’t have the guts to. I never thought I’d find such mental stimulation from children literally half my age. I was in my element.
The school in question, St Benet Biscops Catholic Academy , is in Newcastle, just over an hours journey from my humble abode. So I got up early, went through my notes, set off with time to spare, got stuck in traffic and arrived 30 minutes late. -_- . Life right? Nevertheless, the staff were more than accommodating. I was introduced to a few of the “who’s who’s”, and got shown to what would be my class for the day. And then the wonders began.
The kids filed in, clearly more nervous than I was. And once seated, I began my unrehearsed opening monologue. Now all four 1 hour sessions began pretty much the same way and that’s honestly how I remember them. The first session was a group of Year 7’s and then three sessions with Year 9’s.
So my “opening monologue” was a brief summary of who I was Pre-injury, how the accident happened and my life Post-injury: time in hospital till now. I kept it brief so they’d have more time to ask questions. They did not disappoint. I got asked everything from my favourite basketball team to what was most difficult in my life Post-injury. I got asked how I felt straight after the accident, what physically hurt the most, how people’s perception of me changed and how I handled it. I even got asked how my life goals have changed compared to Pre-injury. I mean, these kids were making me reflect on aspects of my life I didn’t know existed. After each session I found myself assessing major life decisions and perspectives, and these guys were just casually bombarding me with Piers Morgan/Oprah Winfrey/Larry King style questions before they moved on to P.E or lunch break or something of the sort. I still can’t get over how intuitive the kids were, especially with the questions that were informed by things I’d said earlier. One girl asked if I missed home (Nigeria) and planned to go back. One of the simplest and most complicated answers I had to squeeze into coherent sentences.Obviously I played it cool like this was all an everyday thing for me, but I definitely left the school that day more enlightened and yet curious about the experiences I had perviously thought I was so familiar with.
I’ll definitely be returning as soon as they’ll have me, and I’ll surely be talking to school kids more often in the future.