The journey to this place has been an eventful one to say the least. Everyone has their own version of how they came to be here. In the end it does not matter. We are all stuck here for whatever years the course you are pursuing dictates. Thing is, we are a bit different from your average university.
And before I go into the negative details of what makes it a university with a difference, I will be fair and talk of the good. There is some good in everything after all. (This is turning out to be harder than I thought but I will come up with something)
2. Being in the middle of nowhere, when students are disgruntled, they will not terrorize innocent drivers and vandalize big shops. Only innocent mama mbogas may suffer.
3. Water never ever runs out (at least for the time I have been here). Comes with the rivers and dams…
5. You come here and the distance makes people at home miss you and pamper you a bit more than if you went home every weekend. Plus I get to see wildlife on my way to school. How many people can say that! (Now I’m trying too hard.)
Let me just go into the negative issues and just to make it clear, I am not complaining. I am stating facts.
The first thing that hit me when I landed here was how far away from civilization main campus is. When I say far, I mean exactly that; 35 kilometres from the nearest town, Eldoret. This fact alone brings with it a myriad of issues. One of which led to the strike of 2009.
You can imagine this girl, then a 19 year-old freshman with no geographical expertise of the Uasin Gishu County, thrown in the middle of a strike. Calls could not go through. Girls ran helter-skelter banging doors claiming that the administration had released a memo ordering students out of the campus.
Before all this, I was locked in my room as a ‘Kamukunji’ was going on. Students had boycotted classes because one of us had met his death in a demonstration the previous day, a demonstration against fare. Let me not even go into this. Point is, all this goes back to the distance issue.
The other thing is how different everything is carried out here. Can you believe there is no perimeter fence that can actually give you an idea of how big or small the university land is? Yeah. So basically every day, there are repercussions of that. For instance, we walk alongside cows on our way to lectures. Some day last year my friend stepped on cow dung on the footpath. Poor girl had to go back and take a shower and change; and am not kidding by the way.
The other is the sporadic returns of ‘Mashoka’. This is the mysterious character(s) that delights in slashing people in the night. He resurfaces every academic year and maims students.
The hostels take years to be constructed. Next to the one I reside in, there is one that is yet to be finished since the early 1990s. Result? Hundreds of students end up ‘pirating’ and basically earning the title of IDP.
Let’s not go into the offices. The speed at which they do stuff could put a snail to shame. Especially the lower offices in the administration, read Housekeeper’s office. This particular semester, like every other student without connections, I made an endless queue at this particular office. First, she comes in late, 9 a.m. then before an hour is done; she closes for tea. Before you have even finished dusting off your behind from sitting on the floor, she has gone for lunch! The icing on the cake is how early she will close when all is said and done.
Supposing you make it to the end of the line, you are very lucky if she does not open her book and come up with the fakest reason for you not to get a room. Let’s just say you need a lot of grace to make it here. Then more grace to deal with your friends who need a place to sleep.
Everything is hustle. I will be right back.