” I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” 1 Corinthians 3:6
Planted. 02-14-2002 11:31am. Dansoman, Ghana.
Just about three hundred students lined up in front of a white building characterized by towers and a glass dome. The sun was high up in the sky and it caused the flagstaff pole to cast a huge shadow of the flag of the Swince school on the tiled ground area.
“We are the Swince.
Sweet Influences ever since
Nineteen thirty three…”
The students belted out the lines to their melodious school anthem. Next, they sang “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er The Sun” and closed the morning assembly with “O Morning Star”. They then marched to their classrooms to begin the day’s lessons.
In Tey’s class for that day, Mr. Adjetey looked at the time on his watch and unconsciously tapped his foot. He walked slowly from one side of the room to the other. His students were late again. Assembly had been over for a good fifteen minutes. The sound of children’s voices filled the hallway and one by one, they filed into the room. He knew each of their names simply because he was lucky to be the teacher of a small class of twenty two. His frown deepened and his hands fingered the plastic ruler in his pocket. It would serve some good use right now before his lesson started. The young children filed in and found their seats behind fairly old wooden tables covered with pen-marks, caricatures, writings and stripes of dried white-out. Benjamin Asante, the shortest and most troublesome student in the class, immediately began to rock his chair as soon as he sat on it. This made Mr. Adjetey’s temper rise and he began to bellow at top volume.
His words were inconsequential though because just at that moment, the headmistress walked past the Faith Followers 612 classroom. She was accompanied by what seemed like a new student and her mother. Mr. Adjetey gave his pupils a sheepish look and lowered the plastic ruler in his hands. He walked to the door to greet Mrs. Prempeh, proprietor and headmistress of The Swince School. The headmistress and her subordinate spoke in hushed tones in the hallway and the twenty-two pupils perceived that as their go-ahead to begin discussing the unfamiliar visitor among each other.
The hard wooden seats hurt her behind. Swince believed that there were certain body postures that were not conducive for learning. Thus soft, cushioned seats could not be used in the classrooms because there were said to be too comfortable and more suited for entertainment. Maria was convinced that Swince was worse than any military academy but she had never attended another school so she could not do a just comparison.
“I just wanna go home,” she mumbled. But where was home? A voice asked her. She fumbled with her notebooks and shuffled her way towards Grace 4006. This class was being held at the very top of the dome and it was being taught by old Mrs. Ladson. Maria could not stand her slow way of speaking and heavy Ewe accent. It was a lovely spot to hold a class, the top of the dome was glass and that day the sky was a bright blue baby with specks of white clouds- perfect.
“Bring out your homework as soon as you step in,” Mrs.Ladson was speaking as the students trickled into her class. She was speaking to no one in particular, as was her habit. She had written enough on the blackboard to have them copying notes till the end of the lesson, plus she had stacks of printed homework sheets for them to take home. Work, work, work. Maria could really live without it.
The young man in a fitted brown suit felt his lips moving before he became aware that his spirit was praying. ‘Rev. Abiodun?” He heard a Ghanaian voice mispronouncing his name. He looked up into the smiling face of Mrs. Prempeh. ‘Yes? Hello, I’m Ife Abiodun and this is –” he started a quick introduction but Mrs. Prempeh cut him. “We’re running a bit late, forgive us.” She said. “If you would follow me now to our Auditorium of Lights, that would be great.” Her unrelenting eyes revealed that her offer was more of a command than a request. Ife Abiodun and the ladies who had accompanied him on this visit to Swince got up and followed Mrs. Prempeh’s quick footsteps. They followed her up some stairs, down a corridor, took a sharp left and then down a ramp into a room that could seat at most two hundred, lavishly decorated with bright chandeliers, a stage and a podium as well as state of the art speakers and sound equipment.
A grateful Maria was then hurried out of her classroom with her classmates. She could not believe her good luck. All classes had been abruptly halted for an important symposium with the reverend minister from Lagos, Nigeria. Reverend Ife Abiodun was the founder of Everlife Ministries and Missions. He had been requesting to speak with the students of Swince for the past three years. Under Mrs. Prempeh’s strict bird watch, very few ministers were allowed to speak with her precious protege. She had sensed something about Reverend Abiodun seeing his seventh letter to the school. His persistence had woken her up and convinced her that he might be sent from God. Her close adviser and second-in-command at Swince, Falcon, had given his consent. The huge grey bird with dark circles round his eyes sometimes resembled an owl. He was wise and old and dependable. Loyal in every situation and loving and honest like no other. Abiodun had gratefully accepted the invite and flown to Accra, Ghana as quickly as the airline services in West Africa could arrange for. There was a word in his heart, aflame like a fire and how would they hear if there was no preacher?