In a life where cooking coils, guaranteed water supply throughout the semester, guaranteed security and good neighborlyness are just but luxuries. A life spend between going to class and coming back to deal with the smoke that comes from the Jiko or the Stove especially for those who can’t afford a gas cooker. A life in which there’s a specified time that must get you in your room unless you want trouble with the landlord or the goons.
No one chooses this life willingly. They are usually compelled to resort to the kind of life. Circumstances and regulations make students choose the kind of life that renders them half students half villagers. It’s either because they fell in love, got married and bowed to the University rule that prohibits cohabitation within campus. …or a jealous roommate complaint to an old school custodian of the sound produced by the electronics in the room.
It’s either they did not have enough stamina to struggle, shove and heave on the accommodation queue and acquire a room within campus or they reported late due to financial constraints and hence could not acquire a room within the school. It’s either their room was given to another student who was able and willing to oil the custodians’ pockets or they neither had the will nor the oil with which they could oil the custodians’ pockets and get a room at the expense of another comrade.
They are more often than not referred to as ‘Diaspora Students’ to make them feel good. However, in reality, life is really hard on most of them. Pay them a visit and you will see the kind of struggles they go through. From sleeping close to the floor except for a carton and some few clothes to paying the rent with their bodies. From those who smell like jikos and stoves to those who crave for the smell of food. They have tales to tell but no one seems like willing to listen.
The students living in hostels outside the campus. The seemingly forgotten lot of Egertonians. The kind of students that must be struck by a tragedy to be remembered by both the University administration and the Student leadership. The students who are living double life for survival.
There are some who have, however, settled in and are in a way enjoying the life off-campus. They have taken the lessons of life positively. They have even vowed never to go back and stay in school. A visit to their hostels off-campus will tell you that they are not regretting their actions. This does not exclude them from the rampant insecurity that glares at the off-campus students.
To days after the demonstration, a drunkered was beaten back to his senses at Njokerio market after trying to rape a student. This shows that the message sent through the demonstration did not sink.
This, therefore, means that the University Administration should stop burying it’s head in the sand until a tragedy happens. It needs to come to the rescue of their students by either providing enough accommodation or security. I know they can’t single-handedly provide security to off-campus students but a cooperation with the Area Administration must be possible.
It’s also time the Students Leadership recognized the enormous population of students staying off-campus and fought for their representation in the Students’ Union. They need to realise that some of their votes come from the diaspora. Since the SUEU Constitution is being reviewed, an inclusion of a clause recognizing the representation of nonresident students will be of great value.
My call to the SUEU Chair Mr. Kivondo, his Vice Mr Masengeli, the Secretary General Mr. Ooko and their team is to ensure that at the end of their term, the SUEU constitution must have been approved by the University Senate with the clause recognizing the representation of nonresident students in it. I believe in you guys. You can make it!