By Mouhcine Abdechchafi
By Mouhcine Abdechchafi
Morocco World News
Oujda, Morocco, March 19, 2013
I still remember that unforgettable day when I was having a good time with my peers in the neighborhoods of my small town Tidrin, which is located in Tinghir in the Southeast of Morocco. It was exactly 3:30 in the afternoon of a summer day. Because I had rid myself of that cruel teacher that used to punish me every single day for trivial reasons, my friends and I indulged in passing our pastime playing a popular game, which is football, and forgetting all that had to do with school, with its commitments, and its burdens.
Finished with that fun football match, my friends and I headed towards a small river near our town running with our bear feet and with our partly-torn plastic sandals in hand. Once we got there, we could not help diving into the warm waters of the river with a view to ridding ourselves of the sweat caused by our football match. Owing to the fact that I felt free because of the summer holidays, I suggested to my friends not to go back to our homes until we eat some grapes that were available in the fields at that moment. When I was eating the grapes, I heard a voice calling my name, but the problem is that the voice did not come from the world I belonged to at that time. It was from the tough, real world where there is less fun and more responsibilities. “Get up. It is 7:00, time to go to school,” My dear mother shouted.
I could not believe that it had been a mere dream. That left a bad impression in my soul. However, I realized there were no vacations and that the time for ripe grapes had not yet come. It was a cold winter day in which I could not leave my bed and I pulled closer my blanket, which was so warm.
I washed my face with some cold water and shivering hands. That shivering, of course, did not come only from the cold weather but also because of my fear of that violent teacher. My mother offered a humble breakfast that consisted of some olive-oil, tea, and some pieces of bread from the day before. Anyway, I could not manage to swallow even a mouthful because I remembered that I did not do the homework that the teacher asked us to do and that there was no way I would not receive several blows upon my small, soft hands. At any rate, I bid my mother good-bye and left my house.
On our way to school, I asked my friends if they had done that homework and the answer was “yes.” I asked them to give me their exercise copy-books to copy the answers, but because of their innocence they refused and said that the teacher asked us not to cheat. Then, I knew that they were going to enjoy seeing me being beaten down in front of the blackboard of that black classroom. We got in to the courtyard of the school and were asked by our teachers to get into our classes, asking one of the hardworking students to monitor us and write the names of the ones who make noise. Our teacher, just as the rest of the teachers, would stay in the staff-room for a long while to indulge in some chats, drink some tea, and smoke a cigarette to lower his depression and tension.
Finished with that long illegal rest, the teacher came in. We would stand every time he entered the class to show respect to someone who did not show us the least respect. He headed towards his desk which he would not leave till the session was over. That hardworking student handed him the list of those who were making noise. He called their names and asked them menacingly to step forward to the board. Unfortunately, I was one of them. He started beating us till we almost exhausted our tears and till our hands were like a rainbow with some red, green, and blue spots on them. Subsequently, we went back to our places. I thought that was all for that session before he asked those who did not do their homework to step up to the board again. Unluckily, I was again one of them.
Before beating us again, I started shedding tears for my hands were still aching such I felt my heart move from my chest to my hands. I thought even of fleeing, but I knew that it would just make things worse than they were. Because of my fear, I could not help stretching my hands for the teacher to punish them again. When I was shedding tears one more time, I saw that one of my friends was also crying and had even urinated in his clothes.
We got back to our places having a bad impression about teaching and teachers in general. As the teacher was explaining the lesson, and in a bid to make up for that bad day and save my reputation among my colleagues, I raised my hand, which was swollen by that time, to answer a question the teacher had asked. I had the right answer in mind, but because of fear, I forgot it and could not retrieve it at that moment. The teacher got closer to me. I thought that was an attempt to offer some help, but I was mistaken. He gave me a big slap to the extent that I thought I received a rocket to my face. Because of the strength of that slap and because everyone was looking at me, I blushed and thought that my face was bigger than anyone else’s in the classroom.
When the bell rang, I could not join my friends who were playing hide and seek in the courtyard. To punish me more and deprive me of my right of enjoying the recreation period, the teacher called me with an angry voice and asked me to go to one of the stores that was near the school in order to purchase a pack of cigarettes for him. On my way to that store, I thought of what had happened to me, asking myself whether or not I deserved it. I thought of informing my family about it, but I knew their reaction would not be better than that of my teacher. I was praying for God to avenge me because I knew I had nothing to do concerning that. I wished a big flood would come and demolish that school forever.
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