It’s 5:21am, yes 5:21am, one of the government school busses is already full. Pupils from various schools are already lined up. Those that arrive before 5am depending on the situation are certain of having seats. For the rest of the others, standing all through the journey is the only option. You may not want to blame the kids because with just One Leone (NLe 1), they’d comfortably or uncomfortably make the journey. In all of this, I am particular about the wellbeing of the very pupils. I am in no way putting this piece together as a Medical Expert. At least, Sierra Leone’s College of Medicine knows that I am not one of them, save for the USL fraternity. Let’s talk more about the pupils and the timing of waking up very early.

With today’s globe that is fully booked in managing and or mismanaging the new-new media, I see more of challenges if not negatives in all of this narrative. First, almost every other pupil today has a smartphone or at least has access to one if not more. That in itself is more like a disservice. There are homes where such devices are used with little or no supervision. With that, navigating online is more like time wasting. You can imagine how much time we all tend to spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and now TikTok? It could be huge…

Like I said, for most of the pupils and maybe some elderly, it’s more of time wasting and so with the urge to get up before 5am each day, the concentration mentality in schools could have some issues. Growing up, I do not remember waking up anytime before 6:30am. I always do between 7am and get ready for school latest 7:30-8am. I was never late. Never! Now, I know that my experience has to do with Lungi, Sierra Leone and so the narrations may not be the same.

Freetown is home to millions, we all know. Transportation constraints are therefore understandable even where we could do more. To me, a child that does not get the required amount of sleep is likely not to get some encouraging concentration. Even for adults (depending on how the systems may have been programmed), less sleep could sometimes be counterproductive. If you are not a Sheku Putka Kamara type (spending the rest of the day and night without sleeping), the results may not be apt. This is why I wish to draw the attention of all and sundry to this topical issue. For ages, we have almost made it a non-issue, but maybe it’s time to break the ceiling.

There are people that could put up arguments about the traffic in Freetown and clearly, they’d have a point. For all pupils who are expected to wake up before 5/6am each day, I am tempted to inquire if they really have time to sleep. For example, my eldest son (9) is likely not to sleep early anytime he’s around me. To him, whatever satisfaction he gets in my presence, that’s a story for another day.

However, I’d always make sure that he gets some bedtime latest 10pm each day. This is because, his school is just at the back of our house. He has a duty to wake up latest 7:30am, each day. At least, that’s more than 8 hours’ rest. Situations may not be the same, but let’s try to help our kiddos. They need such grooming. A kid that wakes up before 5/6am each day should have time to rest. He or she may have toiled the whole day in school and so if there’s little or no parental monitoring, it could be telling.

I want to believe that this should make sense to some of us? Let’s talk more on this in subsequent editions then. And hey, November and December are almost here. With the inevitable festivities and the like, we all should be vigilant please. See ya!