Yvonne Nelson

Yvonne Nelson’s book delves into various aspects of her life, recounting both captivating childhood memories and the tumultuous experiences she faced during her time at Aggrey Memorial Senior High School.

One particular incident that struck a chord with readers was the resounding slap she received from the headmaster, solely based on her appearance.

Describing the vivid details of the encounter, Yvonne shared her struggles with boarding life and the strict regulations regarding students’ hairstyles.

She revealed that it was deemed offensive to keep one’s hair untidy, which ultimately led to the headmaster’s physical reprimand.

“As a final year student, I found it challenging to comply with the rules of maintaining neatly styled hair while eagerly anticipating the opportunity to perm or braid it outside of school. Unfortunately, this desire for self-expression resulted in my worst memory at Aggrey Memorial,” Yvonne Nelson recalled.

She continued, “On the eve of my departure from school, the headmaster bestowed upon me an unforgettable experience—a resounding slap. The reason behind his actions was my supposedly ‘bushy’ hair. Students were not permitted to wear their natural hair beyond a specific length. However, the final year girls, myself included, preserved our hair in anticipation of styling it later. Little did I know that this act would attract my worst nightmare in the school.”

Yvonne Nelson also detailed the unfavorable conditions she faced as a boarding student, particularly in relation to the school’s dining hall.

“To say that the food was terrible would be an understatement when it came to describing the situation at Aggrey Memorial. We even gave one of the soups a nickname, ‘moftoto.’ Whether it was groundnut or palm nut soup, it was so diluted that if you peered into it, you could see your own reflection. After a few minutes of being left untouched, the soup would settle in layers—water on top and particles beneath. It became a sort of scientific experiment whose results we didn’t benefit from. Recalling some of those memories from the dining hall still makes me grimace,” Yvonne shared.

She continued, “A friend once discovered a toenail in the kenkey he was eating, while another student found a cockroach wing in her food. These anecdotes regarding boarding school food are far from pleasant, but Aggrey Memorial took it to a whole new level.”

Yvonne Nelson went on to describe the challenges faced in terms of hygiene and facilities as a result of overcrowding.

“Our digestive systems struggled to extract the nutrients our teenage bodies needed, leaving us with the task of disposing of the rest. This led to another adventure—the oversubscribed toilet and bath facilities, which made maintaining sanitary conditions nearly impossible. Sometimes we were forced to bathe outdoors. And the only way to avoid smelling as if we had swum in the toilet was to resort to what we called ‘take away,'” she recounted.

These circumstances pushed some of Yvonne’s peers to seek transfers to other schools.

“Many students couldn’t endure the harsh conditions, including my best friend at the time, Fianko Bossman, who expressed his inability to cope and found an opportunity to leave for Pope John Secondary and Minor Seminary in Koforidua before our second year. Another close friend, Laurina Mensah, departed before we reached our final year when her mother came to take her to Italy. From that point on, I lost track of her,” Yvonne reflected.

She added, “For those of us without an alternative, we were faced with two choices—either give up or make the best of the situation. I chose the latter. I wasn’t an exceptional student academically, just hanging in there, knowing that my soul, mind, and heart had already departed from the school.”