Sunday 29 October 2023

My £1 Scholarship


I was thinking this morning..... I gained admission to the University of Benin in 1987 and was very excited as I arrived at the main gate of Ugbowo campus. My euphoria soon turned sour weeks later as I began having challenges paying all the bills. With two of us in the university, my parents were doing their best.

It was all joy, when my dad came home that sunny afternoon in August of 1988 and announced that my Scholarship by the Oil Company has been approved. We celebrated because it was a lifeline and an assurance that I will be completing my university education. The scholarship value was N1,500. Yes, One thousand, five hundred naira only.

From the N1,500, I was able to pay for my tuition, accommodation, feeding for the month and still able to send N500 back home. What was left was to be my allowance for another 3 months. I remember writing a letter back home giving account of my scholarship money. A letter that has become famous within my family, just for laughs. I had penned down amongst other words, 'I received the money and had to buy a table fan because the room is hot. I was forced to buy shirts (2). I won't be able to send back the money expected because I will not have enough. I would've soaked o, but unfortunately, my garri has finished.... Your son, Weyimi.'

That was the year 1988. Today, my siblings will laugh at me for the audacity to use the scholarship money to buy shirts. I was lost in thought on Friday when I heard a British pound sterling (£) now sells for N1,500. I imagined how my scholarship money in 1988 that we celebrated, amounts to just £1 today (the exchange rate then was N4.5 to $1).

While the equivalent of one pound today will pay my 3 years university tuition fees in 1988, it can't buy a single textbook today. The value of £1 today could feed me a whole year in 1988 but can buy a tin of sardine today. There are people that killed for N1,500 in 1988 but today, that amount (£1) can only buy a roll of toilet paper.

Do not stress, fight or kill for money, but rather strive to serve people, so you won't regret it in the process of time. Like in Gen 47:15, money will fail but your service to humanity and God will never fail. Remember my £1 scholarship.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey

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