On the first day I stepped on campus, I felt like I was breathing in a different kind of fresh air. Makerere University had always been my dream university. I
couldn’t compare the excitement I had to anything. My parents drove me to the hostel I had earlier earlier booked -a certain Douglas Villa, I checked in and to my dismay the custodian couldn’t allow me to sleep in because I hadn’t completed the hostel fee.
“Nyabo, we’re sorry but unless you complete the whole fee, you can’t sleep in.” the custodian looked me dead in the eye
“B-but I i i paid b-booking fee…” I stammered
My excited heart started pumping slower every second that passed. I couldn’t imagine going back home till Dad collects the remaining fee. I walked slowly back to my dad’s car waiting outside the fence and blew him the “good news”.
“Shaaa…can’t they be patient till we bring the balance? ” Dad asked
“They’ve said I only sleep in if I complete the fee”
“Go talk to them politely until they allow you to sleep over. I’m not taking you back home ” dad relaxed on his seat
Honestly my dad’s attitude towards this whole issue surprised me. Initially I thought he’d just ask me to just hop into the car and we head back home. The Lord must have been with me that day. I quickly walked back to the custodian’s office hoping to convince him and I stay. The little voice in me was speaking to me, “you better be good at your convincing skills because there’s no way you’re going back home and miss the bazaar and fresher’s ball.” With this, I gathered all my courage and knocked at the custodian’s office door once again. I entered and somehow managed to convince him. Lord Jesus, happiness was me and I was happiness. I almost swept my chin down on the floor as a sign of appreciation to the custodian. I gave him a firm handshake and at this moment, if he had asked for a hug, I swear I would have given it to him.But all in all, up today I still believe it’s not me who convinced him but rather my inner little voice.
My excitement levels shot up again. I walked, (almost running) back to my dad’s car. I simply asked them to help me carry my things to my room and I carried the mattress myself. I reached the room and guess what, my roomate hadn’t yet arrived. I saw this as an opportunity to maximize my room madness before my unknown roommate comes back.
After a few minutes of mother navigating the room, testing the comfortability of the bed and making sure the place was “good enough ” for her daughter, we said sweet goodbyes and my parents left.
“Now, let the madness begin!” I said to myself. I quickly organized my things and ran to campus for bazaar at Mitchell hall. The life I had imagined the whole vacation was now right in front of me. Vendors were everywhere, the music was welcoming, generally everything looked beautiful. I disturbed vendors asking them about their products, tried on shoes, sprayed some perfume on myself but in the end, I wasn’t going to buy anything. I loused around till 8:46pm, and decided to leave lest kikoni thugs rob me of my Samsung Pocket Duos phone on my way back . Fellows had already told me about the experienced thugs around this place. One once told me that after bashing you and taking your phone, the thugs go ahead to escort you to your hostel and you give them the charger too.
“If you don’t have what the thief wants to steal, you’ll still get slapped for that reason” a kikoni resident once told me
I slowly walked to the main gate and then jumped on a boda boda back to the hostel. The streets of kikoni were still as alive as I had earlier left them. “This is the only place a campuser can reside” I thought to myself
It was time to think about what to have for super.I walked along the road and guess what, I saw this busy place selling roadside food. It wasn’t any food but the mighty rolex. I approached to place my order and I noticed the stall was surrounded by only boys. Something wasn’t right here! Across the rolex stall, there was a group of girls that looked like they were waiting for something. I didn’t mind anyone’s business, I ordered my two eggs and one chapatti rolex. I made it clear to the rolex guy that I want the cabbage, onions and tomatoes added raw.
After everything was ready, I walked back to my room ready to munch on my rolex. I later learnt that at a chapatti stall, girls don’t approach, they instead send the boys and they stand across the road to await delivery of their rolexes.
As I opened the door to my room, something appeared unusual . My bed was bare, the room looked empty. I moved closer to take a clear look. My heart started racing, my eyes teary, my knees failing. THEY HAD ROBBED ME! Everything was gone but the thief was kind enough to leave me only a mattress and a bare pillow. The walls of the room started closing in, it felt smaller by the minute. I dropped the rolex, quickly searched around the room to make sure I’m not hallucinating. I looked under the bed,in the closet and above the curtain box. My friend, I tell you there was nothing!
The universe seemed to be moving round and round. I slapped myself on the cheek ,again to make sure I’m still not hallucinating . The reality slowly sunk in that they had robbed me.
“Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry.. ” I told myself
I ran to the custodian’s office on that instant. I reported my misfortune but the custodian couldn’t believe me. I explained everything in detail. He then asked we first go to the room and he witnesses with his own eyes. It was true, THEY HAD ROBBED ME! The custodian suggested we do an immediate search in all rooms that night.
We quickly started on the search room after room, but I tell you, we didn’t recover anything. My eyes become more teary with every room we checked. The more we checked, the more desperate I become. I thought of what I was to tell my parents if they called to check on me. By the end of the search, I’d made up my mind on calling my parents. The custodian advised me to stay calm and we see what we can do tomorrow.
I picked up my phone, looked at my mother’s contact for about five minutes, cooking up a lie I would tell her about the tragic incident. I don’t know how I gathered the courage but I ended up calling her. She quarrelled, yelled, and asked me random questions that I didn’t hear or answer. I tried to explain to her but she seemed not to understand the language I was speaking. I was already crying and somewhere along the tearful conversation, I had my mum say “tomorrow, just carry all the remaining belongings and come back home”
That is when I understood that there was no more hostel life for me. The next day I rolled my mattress,carried it in one hand, caught my pillow in another and painfully left the hostel. I boarded a taxi to the new taxi park, then another one from there to home. While in the taxi, I imagined my mum had called for a clan meeting to welcome me with some strokes of the cane. How could I lose my belongings on the first day at campus? That was the end of me and hostel life. Guess who missed the rest of the bazaar! Me. Guess who missed the freshers’ ball! Again ME.