LOSE AND DEATH SERVED IN ONE PLATE.

Being a campus student is never easy. It takes a lot of patience and determination in order to make it out, in one piece. Whatever goes on inside university walls, is never told. It remains engraved in the minds of young graduands, whose only yearning is to make it in life, hoping to reduce the number of those already tarmacking in search of jobs that they’ve been working so hard for. An education mind is not enough to keep one going, in these institutions.

The whole phase and glamour of being in university has drastically disintegrated, with the increase in death cases of university students. Recently, universities are no longer the safe haven for education, but dens where many students, either make it out having not achieved much, or in coffins.

The whole hype of celebrating that one has managed to get into campus, looking forward to having a great time while there and later on graduate and get white collar jobs, are proving not to exist anymore, should be simmered down a notch, with many venturing into self-employment.

With the increase in use of social media, a day does not pass by, without having to hear of a student who passed excellently in campus, but is jobless, leaving a hopeless life, contrary to what they were made to believe that all you need is that degree and you will be good to go. This calls for a refocus on when the rain started beating university students who are faced with ‘a thousand ways to die’, each day. Let me pull out the understanding cards and lay them out for you on the table, so that we can see the actual image of how comrades escape death narrowly with each passing day, cite the deep magic to you, of how things are.

Insecurity is the biggest issue. Here, you can get mugged, stabbed to death and if lucky, sustain fatal injuries, getting raped and molested. As a student, you get to live in fear, for you do not know what will happen to you once you step out, fear that you might not make it back alive. In such a situation, it will also affect your concentration in class, which spells out, dismal academic performance.

Just the other day, betting sites were shut down by the government, and perhaps it might help reduce the menace and addiction that highly affects comrades. We have witnessed and heard of students who committed suicide after having lost a bet that they had placed all their fees, rent, and pocket money on, only to be disappointed and what they result to, is suicide.

Relationship issues are very common, among young people who as a matter of fact, are in the bracket of being in campus. Love gone sour, where one partner is brutally murdered, in cold blood after misunderstandings brought about by the inability to handle rejection mostly.

Drugs are an impasse that many students peel off into, with all sorts of justification as to why they indulge, with many terming it as an opium that they use to elude the reality when nothing seems to be working out quite well and others, to forget their problems.

Loans are following comrades left , right and centre. The likes of Tala, Branch and the mother of them all, Helb. It is actually very enticing to obtain these loans, only for it to turn into a storm in a teacup, when one is unable to repay, and they all start cornering, coming at you like a dark horse threatening to enlist you with the CRB if you fail to pay by the stipulated date.

I cannot actually keep track of fellow students who we all started the same course, but they later on dropped out, with claims that is not what they wanted to pursue, it was just the grade that made them land where they did not want, others saying they are just there to make their parents happy since they were forced to do what they wanted not. Just like that, it becomes the last time to lay eyes on them.

A good number of the students struggle juggling between their studies and side hustles just to get the extra money for personal use, others to pay their school fees, all efforts to make it through the next day. For a student, money is never enough, kindly note this. When they say depression is real, it indeed is. An empty pocket, inadequate food, make an awful combination, worst bit is, with such problems it is hard to confide in somebody. When all of you are suffering from the same issues, with some looking down on you, as if your predicament is socially unacceptable, and they end up crucifying you, letting the world know of how you are in no position to cater for yourself, so an individual ends up being devastated and the next thing we know, they are no more.

Living in hostels is the most affordable form of accommodation many students can afford. Much as it helps save those extra coins, the bedbugs menace in some of these rooms is just horrendous and trust me these tiny fellas can really frustrate you, and this is one symbiotic relationship you cannot afford to live with.

Among the listed causes, I am sure many people are able to identify with one or two of the issues that affect university students. It is real, it is happening. Unless the issues are addressed with the seriousness that is needed, we will continue losing our students, day in, day out as we hide behind the curtains of them being the future leaders, mere hypocrisy! No one will be a leader once they are in a coffin, it is high time we wake up and face the bull by the horns.

Joyce Wachau Chege.

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Gloomy days.

Sometimes company is overdue, you start talking to the pictures on the wall. Somewhere along the lines, lonely thoughts, unsettled life, a turn in the trumps, becomes hard such that right there, is when it hits you, as you start noticing the perennial flowers growing into monstrous proportions, the light filtering through the drawn drapery, don’t do the trick anymore. Falling in a cauldron of glee and fright and to some extent, sensing and feeling every movement of molecules and displacement of air. Learning to live by the bare minimal, i mean, you can’t force, it can you?. It’s the holy grail that holds the 10 commandments of doing right by it. Kneeling by the bed praying and hoping that you get through it. And as those tears land on your cheeks, you earnestly hope for the better turn out of things.

Sorry.

My clock is ticking, time running out, I can feel life materializing out of my body, my bones are weak, you spaced up on calling me, yes? But it’s okay, I don’t bear any grudges. Maybe it was a good idea. I couldn’t bear to have had you hear me struggle to breathe, holding my mouth to prevent the whimpers from escaping. My body sweating profusely, wishing you were here with me. Looking back at everything that reminds me of you. My mind is a typical macabre of loneliness and reminiscence . The machine is beeping and blowing my mind off. And all I can think is you.
Who’s gonna walk you through the dark side of the morning?
Who’s gonna rock you when the sun won’t let you sleep? If you wake up and find me gone, then know If I had this to do again , i would. I wouldn’t trade a thing.

Meted by respect.

Today as I prepare myself for work, it’s boringly quiet, and I can feel every bone in my body dragging. It’s a chilly morning as I walk through and across muddy puddles, jumping soggy pools with overgrown scattered grass. It’s a Tuesday morning, and mahn!was i glad Monday was over for some weird reasons. It is around 6:05am, not so dark, such that straight up ahead, I can notice a fire encompassed between 3 stones, traditional style, all under a kibanda, a guy and a lady standing on opposite sides. Kids stand by the kibanda, waiting for mandazi to be sold to them and then head to school. I sigh, knowing well I am not a breakfast person, but I love eating,though I have hardly added any weight for the last few months. I am in a cream trench coat, and if you look closely there’s a part slightly behind the armpit that has been sewed with a brown needle. I did do home science back in high school and I bloody hated anything associated with kushona. At times my mum will expect me to know some basic things , just because I did home science, well I am no fan.

I can feel some sourness on my palate, might be some wounds, and they make me feel uncomfortable.
Today, my mind is drifting off, to something that many often refer and look at, as a taboo. I mean what is wrong, with having a child at a young age? Fall in love while still young?
Ati kwani what age am I?.well I am 21 and after a few encounters with people from different walks of life and backgrounds, I have learnt to embrace and appreciate everyone with how they are.

Actually if at one point you ever pointed fingers at that one young girl, because she was pregnant at a young age, judged that bloke or chiq, for being gay, looked down on that couple for settling while young, judged those two lovers for being from different tribes, and all that falls into that bracket, how about a big shame on you!!(na uconoke muno). People so bitter, like they’ve been weaned on black powder!!

Just the other day we were at a baby shower, after we decided to surprise one of our friends who was expecting a baby soon, in, uhm the next one week that was following. We were all in high school together(Camaraderie).The most beautiful thing being that we might not keep in touch that often, but being brought together by such events, is so heart melting, bloody amazing.

By now I am already seated at my favourite seat kwa bus za Nawasuku. God bless them, they reduced the workload for the people of Mwihoko, by offering direct transportation all the way to town. And being the Kikuyu that I am, I am sure you all have these stereotypes ati ooh, sijui Kikuyu’s are thieves, anga mara ooh, we are misers, sijui what and what not.. Truth is, we ain’t thieves per say, we just now how to save and well, economical. So saving this extra coins that come with double transport, means a lot, and Nawasuku have saved us from the whole thing.
We are all excited, you can imagine a room with 9 ladies, oestrogen pumped, hyped and all dressed up in black and white. Yea I know it’s a bit dull for a baby shower, but the preparations were done on a short notice. 2 days, to be in specific and damn! We were proud of the accomplishment! We are huddled up around a glass table, and the chicken bucket from Chicken inn is placed on the table, as well as a mouth watering cake, written “Baby Boy” on it,after our girl’s boyfriend welcomes us. And well, we make our selves comfortable. The Lady of the day is not in, she is at the clinic for a check up, and as we wait for her, we listen to music, so loud that it is deafening! But ain’t that what brought us here? To have a good time and make our girl appreciated?. “Leo itakua mazishi”, or whatever Khaligraph Jones means by that.

The guy disappears in the kitchen, and few minutes later, he has glasses in his hand, and it’s about to go down!! We hang the babies clothes raisonne around the house, setting the mood. He’s is so cooperative, and i am amazed. He makes as some popcorn and now the table is displayed with the goodies that we can’t wait to put in our mouths.
Kidogo kidogo, the metallic door opens, and there she stands, in a black dress, that is raised at the front due to the baby bump. She looks glowed up. Is this what pregnancy makes you look like? Then I wanna have me a baby too,, babe, can you see this?

By now, the bus is coming to a stop behind Eastmatt, and I can’t wait to get at the office and just get my ass down on the orthopedic chair.
She looks surprised, and she holds her hand against her maroon lips,I can’t recall if it was red or maroon,I am not so much into make up. The guy is on the other side of the room, looking at her,I concentrate more to see how he looks and smiles at her, so proudly that it makes me bash out and go ballistic on those who say love doesn’t exist. She looks at him, their eyes meet and lock and I can feel the love in the air. Ati how? Oh, c’mon if you are keen with small things that interest you, then you can even feel every single atom that makes up a moment. For a person who loves writing as I do, those are just some of the moments that you can’t fail to notice.

As she makes it slowly, to the chair we have reserved for her, her brother and sister follow her in, as we all hug and laugh out loud. As she sat, she places her hands on both sides of the sofa, and projects her bump forward, her legs apart, to increase surface area. We all break out in laughter due to the whole scenario. She doesn’t have swollen legs, but many do have them during pregnancies, it’s a “thing” a pregnancy thing. Yea, she also says she craves for some alcohol, but in her condition, she can’t. Haiya,I forgot to tell you we had a bottle of alcohol on the table also, I don’t know the name, I dunno about this things, but as I said, there’s joy in appreciating the different ways in which people choose to enjoy and indulge themselves. It must be hard for her! I can’t imagine with how I love indomie , it is right there in front of me, but I can’t eat, how now?..so that makes me understand her situation.

We all want to touch her belly. It’s round, and under the fingers, it feels hard, tight as a sunbaked flint hide, yet so fragile, so smooth, making her stay in a position with her legs slightly open to give room for the bump to easily balance. Her guy is on one of the side of the chair, holding her shoulders and caressing her every now and then, running his hands up and down her shoulder, smiling so widely, gestures that portray so much , even without speaking. After all, every man to his poison, and I can bet a dollar for a cent that they both belong to each other wholeheartedly. They constantly refer to each other as babe, when they are requesting each other for something. It hits me, that she once has told me to hold on to my man(and I conclude for myself,yes, some real ones are as rare as snake tits. Ama you’v seen some? Personally I haven’t) and it all dawns on me hard, like an outsized cannonball . And right there, she proves it all succinctly. Classical mannerisms of living by what you preach.

To cut this lengthy spiel short, with time, i have been learning and still learning a lot. Respecting other people’s decisions and way of life is very crucial. Who are you to judge? Isn’t that the part where we go to church sit on the pews and the anointed men of God preach and proclaim “leave judging to God, for He alone has the power to do so?” What gives you the right to point fingers at others, just because they live by different principles? So what if one got pregnant at an early age? Got divorced and had to walk away from everything built for so long? Dropped out of school and the only thing they know is how to hustle? One is from a single parent, something they had no control over? One can not bear a child, despite the many times they’ve tried? No one has the right to judge, and as they say, if you are not a sinner, how about you be the first to cast a stone??
Life offers us different things, served in different plates, and the least we can do, is appreciate it.

Respect is very key.

Bad timing!

So, today in the bus, I sat next to the conductor, purposely to see if I would get myself the new notes. Ou! For those who are not from Kenya, we have this new currencies and damn! Do they look pretty!.

Unfortunately, I noticed that from all the notes he had in his hands, there was no new note! You can imagine the disappointment!. Deep down I was like, “Yani andu aya othe me bathi-ini gutire mundu uma na noti njeru?. Koguo ni kuga ithui othe gutiri mundu we mbere ta muhuko wa shati” meaning, ” you mean all these people in the bus, and yet no of them had the new currencies! So it means none of us is “well equipped with the new currency ”

So sad, right?

Well, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, or so they say. My whole predicament changed when j got into the office, and some shouted” guys, I have the new Ksh1000 and Ksh500,check it out” and my oh my, did I get up from my seat just to literally touch and feel what others are feeling.

Wait, I actually took a photo of the two notes, so that I can console myself, well, at least before I put my hands on my own notes.

The Ksh500

The Ksh1000

Now, to be brutally honest, I think the 1000 note is way too over crowded. It has too much images, for it’s small size, which now equals to that one of a dollar. The only good thing being, it can easily fit in a purse or wallet without any crumpling.

If you see all the notes together, they are so colorful, with many making fun that they look like concert tickets.

So, am just waiting to get my own notes, and have a slice of this pie that many are laying their hands on.

BEACON OF LIGHT, FOR THE NEEDY STUDENTS OF KIRWARA BOYS HIGH SCHOOL.

BY WACHAU CHEGE.

Needy students from Kirwara Boys, have benefited from the proceeds of an annual walk organised by a Catholic cleric to raise school fees for them.

Speaking to MyGov,Rev. Fr. Paul Mwangi, a chaplain who doubles up as a teacher at the school, said he was touched by the plight of the learners who were constantly being sent home due to lack of school fees.
The cleric said, “it is heartbreaking to see my students being sent home due to fee deficits and i decided to organise the charitable walk to bail them out of this predicament’.

The walk which is held every year, for the last 5 years, covers 25km, from Thika to the school, with parents, sponsors, teachers, students and the community at large willingly taking part.
As the proprietor and coordinator of this program, he further explains that the identified needy students are awarded Sh25,000 for scoring an A and Sh4,000 for C- and above.

‘To whom much is given, much is also taken, and the right to this sponsorship is immediately revoked when the student is caught indulging in indiscipline cases’, the priest said.

“Mr. John Mbai, the CEC Health and Sanitation, Murang’a County, is a figure I highly acknowledge, for his support throughout the course, since the very beginning” spells out Fr. Mwangi.

He added that pillars who see to the success of this program are the parents, who are the backbone, organizations, and banks around the community. Integrating the community has helped set up a bank account, thus mobilizing funds and distributing money remains to be transparent.

The school also runs a canteen which has generated approximately Sh300,000 last term, and they are looking forward to raise a target of Sh1m by the end of the year.

Expressing the setbacks that heavily affect the program, Fr. Mwangi sadly says, ” Most of those who pledge to contribute, never keep their word. The coming of the new free education has also made parents a bit reluctant to part with money. ”
He further said, ‘Many students are benefiting from this program and on the other end of the spectrum, 65% of the students have been going to university and the 35% to good polytechnics. The walk, being Christian based, teaches the ideology about perseverance, and that nothing comes easy. One has to work for it.

Looking at the fact that his time in the school is soon coming to an end, Fr. Mwangi expresses his sentiments and prospects as being, “my prayer is that money collection for the walk is entrenched in the school fees, at least Sh500 per term, an issue I have proposed to the board, meaning the walk is kept alive in the future. ”

Students running, for a good course, despite the heavy outpour.

Fr. Paul Mwangi addressing the students.

Kirwara Boys walking, along Thika-Gatanga road.

Teachers not left behind, as they support their students.

One of those days.

Today, today happens to just be one of those days that I honestly loath. Stockholm syndrome! The time my body is wearing the big pants and calling the shot, making me look stupid and lacking propriety with people and just keeping to myself is the best I can afford. I barely slept during the night. Spending almost the entire time awake, and yes it’s because it is that time of the month. You are now on the know! I feel like my insides are being torn apart, the pain in my lower abdomen is unbearable, and I curse myself for being born a girl, well, at least just for this period. I am gritting my teeth and wincing in the dark, reenacting all sorts of positions, to help reduce the pain. I coil in a foetus position, holding my stomach, rubbing and deft flicking with the wrist, see if it is going to work some magic, but still, zilch results.
I take my phone, his name is the first in my message wall, and I align my fingers on the keyboard. He must be asleep, but I take my chances. His presence, I crave for, because I know it will work magic at least, somehow somewhat. I can feel the letters vibrating under my touch, as I writhe in so much pain. I wanna be in his arms, being cuddled and held. It makes me feel safe and I love it. No, scratch that, I love him. I curse under my breath endlessly, the pain increasing with every second. i can feel the hot matter down there, and it sickens me to the very core. I now get the urge to go to the toilet real bad, tears are brimming and soon I will be crying. I don’t want to disturb anyone, so the lights remain out, but I bring to life the one on my phone. Am at the top deck of the bunk bed, so I take my my time to get down. I wince, the floor is cold, I curl my toes, trying to adjust and soon as I get it, I open the door, but it squeaks as I turn the handle and I leave it open . So, how about I leave the out the part of all the business I did in there. But getting out of there, leaves me with some butt pain. Damn! I get back in the room, checks whether he replied. No reply. Yap! He must be sleeping. I reach out for my water bottle, and fetch some water, to swallow some painkillers, then it hits me, they no longer work on me!, I become frustrated but still proceed to have them, taking chances, I call it.

And now, I don’t even have the strength to continue writing this……..