Hello. Hello. I've been incredibly regular lately. You must be worried. Even if you aren't it doesn't matter because Papa Afam, is worried enough for all of you. The other day he returned to his hypothesis that I'm a drug addict, or at the very least casual drug user. I'm starting to think that I've gone about things the wrong way. You see, for much of my life, I was obsessed with the idea of being the perfect child, so when he was watching I would act a certain way, and whenever he wasn't I would act a different way. So I suppose the death of the facade has led to a certain friction. What he once thought was a Developmental Economist, has turned into a blogger seemingly overnight. He must be confused.
We'll return to that dynamic later because I don't want to talk about that right now. I promised the people at Bonas MacFarlane that I'd give them a good old blog-a-dub-dub. I try to be a man of my word, and so I shall.
Bonas MacFarlane is:
London's best tutorial service - according to Tatler
London's leading educational agency - according to the London Evening Standard
A top London tutoring agency - according to the Times
While all of this is true, and brilliant it is also restrictive. When you call Bonas MacFarlane a tutorial service, you're restricting them. It would be a similar thing if I called Mr Biggs the best meat pie manufacturers in Nigeria. You would instantly think that the only thing that Mr Biggs did that was worthy of note, was make fantastic meat pies. However those familiar with the epicness of Mr. Biggs, would ask, "but what of their scotch eggs, and sausage rolls, and their jollof rice." We must do the same thing here, for Bonas MacFarlane do not just provide a tutorial service, they do the whole shebang.
Say you wanted to move your child to boarding school in England. Say you wanted them to end up in a good boarding school, with grounds, and activities, and sports teams and facilities, not some foundation centre with 6 class rooms and 12 teachers to their name. Say you wanted your child to go to a prestigious school like Eton, Cheltenham College, Cheltenham Ladies College, Charterhouse, or Benenden but you didn't quite know how to go about it because you don't understand the British and their stiff upper lip, and their double entendres.
What I mean by their double entendres is that, a British school might tell you that it is highly unlikely that your child will make the cut. This means that your child will not get in. The typical Nigerian parent, equates that to God will make a way. They'll go to the mountain of fire to bind and cast any unfavourable spirits that linger about them, and then they'll start paying their tithes with immediate alacrity.
The thing is, most of the time, the reason that your child doesn't get in isn't that they aren't clever enough, but that they're ill - prepared. If you go through Bonas MacFarlane, they ensure, that you and your mini you know exactly what you both need to do to make the cut. And the tests are culturally biased! Yes! When I did the Oundle exam, I saw hellfire. In the general knowledge section of their exam paper, I, Afam, the incredibly widely read, found that I KNEW NOTHING!!! Now I am not a dunce, so when I open a paper and know nothing you better believe that there's a problem. They were asking me about Queen Mary of this, and the war of the that, and who said religion is the opium of the masses (I thought it was Hitler). But I, Afam, was not to be deterred for even with a very fat zero in that section I got in and you wouldn't believe what they said in the acceptance letter. They said, Afam Bewbew scored very highly in the Geography and Economics sections of the entrance exam, but performed very woefully in the General Knowledge section. It is based on his excellence in the prior two sections, that we have decided to offer him a place in our school.
At the time I had the following conversation with myself in my head.
Enter Afam and Afamistic Afam
Afam: Shit! I knew I failed that part of the exam but they didn't really have to call me out on it like that. Papa Afam's going to have my neck.
A.A: What the devil are you sounding apologetic for?
Afam: But I failed. Failure is bad.
A.A: And how the devil were you supposed to succeed? Did they tell you that they'd be listing a number of "famous quotes" and asking you to identify their speakers.
Afam: No… but… the result is the same. I failed. I am a failure. They should have asked me who said "No victor, no vanquished."
Yakubu Gowon at the end of the Nigerian Civil war.
A.A: They didn't even try to ask you the Gettysburg address that you crammed in a panic because you knew that they did not fear God!
Afam: That's a little bit extreme.
A.A: Shut up! That's what they call an academic surprise!
Another great problem faced by Nigerian parents who send their children to the abroad, is the lack of guardians. Sometimes you can't make the trip out every exeat or half term, so Bonas MacFarlane helps you get guardians who live in decent places and have similarly aged children. They make sure that when your child goes to England, they are immersed in English culture.
Bonas MacFarlane also offers mentorship services, where they provide your child with both an academic tutor and a life coach so that they stay firmly on the straight and narrow, because contrary to public belief it isn't all about the academics. A lot of the time your child is a jalopy, a tokunbo (a lemon), a broken down vehicle that needs to be pushed to its destination. You cannot flog it there, or yell it there. You've got to put your back into it and push it there. Those who send their children away to school are often too far away to do any real pushing. Of course we must accept that not all children are the same. Some require no hand at all, but some others require an entourage to ensure their wellness. And some will do passably well without the guiding hand of a parent, but do you not always wonder if they would have done a little bit better if you'd been there, or if they'd had people firmly in their corner pulling the best out of them? Parents want to know that they've done everything for their children. Do you think sending sending your child 6000 kilometres away and only seeing them once a term is everything? Of course you're busy! But if you can afford to ensure that your child has a reasonably strong support system then why don't you?
All of this is relevant because Bonas MacFarlane just opened an office in Nigeria!! That's great isn't it? It's really the perfect marriage! In Nigeria we've got tiger mums who're determined to wring the best out of their children. Bonas MacFarlane's one of the best wringers out there, and that sounds to me like a match made in heaven. Their launch was held at the WheatBaker hotel in Ikoyi on Wednesday, and I was there.
|That's their logo on a banner. The picture's a little bit noisy, but the lighting was terrible you photography and I don't like using my flash.|
Now you're probably wondering, not why I was there, but why I'm blogging about it. I'll tell you honestly. I would have benefitted from a Bonas MacFarlane. Of course I did well enough, but I could have done better. These aren't regrets, these are lessons. If anyone ever asks me whether or not they should be used, my answer will probably always be yes if they can afford it. There are no half measures with children. You must go all in! You must put all your eggs in that genetic basket.
|And this is the Administrator: Mrs Nicole Ndaomi.|
For those of you who aren't Nigerian, you must realise that we are the creators of the newest time zone: the BMT. That is the Black Man's time Zone. It really isn't specific, but it means that you must give two hours of leeway if you're expecting a typical Nigerian to actually turn up for something. I'm not advertising a racial stereotype here. I'm just saying that if the country with the most black people in the world is filled with people who regard the time set for an appointment as the time to begin getting ready for the appointment, then the average must be skewed. However Tiger Mums do not joke about their children. It's Ivy League, Russel Group, or we'll get you a tutor and a psychologist and try again next year.
|Then Papa Afam walked in and gave me the side eye of life. I wanted to enter the ground. It's a little bit like being a pole dancer and letting your dad watch you do it. It's horrifying.|
|And here's them answering questions.|
|Mrs Ifeyinwa Ighodalo was there. She didn't stay for very long but, it was informative enough that she left better off than she was when she went in.|
|See this mummy! Ah! Ah! Nude pumps, with the nude chanel bag.|
|Mama Afam, and Mama Afam number two. It was Mama Afam number 2 that advised me to reduce my vulgarity. And I did. But the way things are going I'll probably return to my vulgar ways soon. Lagos is grating.|
|Here we've got Mrs Joke Chukwuma, the founder of the Children's International School in Lekki, and Mrs Angela Adebayo, the former first lady of Ekiti State.|
|That's another Channel bag. These mums don't take it easy but I suppose they don't have to. When your child's in a £30,000 a year school, you've got enough in the bank to splash on a new Chanel bag.|
|Channels interviewing Mr Bonas. I'm a little worried that my hairline will end up like his before I'm 30. Here's hoping eh?|
|Here's Mama Afam, being interviewed by some reporters. Like I said it was well covered.|
|There was a saxophonist on deck. I didn't like the way he played to be honest. There was more embellishment than actual tune. Some people like that sort of thing but I don't. His redness is overpowering, and those shoes belong in hell.|
|HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! These volunteers though! The one making the angry eyes is Omowunmi...|
|The management team.|
|The team that put the event together. Bravo!!!|
It was a great event, and I'm sure they'll do well. Something a lot of people don't know about sending children away is that they are very much children when you send the bulk of them away, so they might stray. They might forget. Furthermore, when you know nothing of where you're sending them all for the sake of getting a foreign education, you cannot relate with the problems they face, and when they of tell you of their problems, you may be disbelieving.
A lot of parents believe that if a school got a child that wasn't yours to Cambridge or Harvard, then the school must be brilliant for theirs. News flash! It isn't. It isn't a case of goose and gander here, you need to know which school or university, will be the perfect fit. In conclusion, if you were going to a foreign land, and you knew no one, and you didn't speak the language, wouldn't you hire a translator and a guide to help you?
ps. To get in touch with the folks at Bonas MacFarlane email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com