The Highs and Lows of My Life in Campus

The highs:

First day in campus- definitely a life changing moment. I was so excited to be joining campus, though the queues to register and what not were the longest I’d ever seen. Campus meant new relationships, another chance to shine academically, the pursuit of computer studies, fashion etc. campus was everything.

Numerous crushes. I think I lead the list of the highest number of boys I have crushed on. And when they responded I was the happiest. At least for the week or two that it lasted.

Babaroa announcement in 2008. Babaroa is the award for being top of the class for your course. What do you know, working hard actually pays off. I was a diligent student in the first year and was rewarded with a trophy, certificate and 10K in cash. I bought a phone, Nokla 95, which was stolen from my room about a year later. Sadly, Babaroa has eluded me in subsequent years. Blame it on my competitive class.

Nokla N95

Writing/blogging contract- this came in June 2009. I signed a contract that would pay me about 10K thereof per month, and they used to delay payment, so after three or so months, you got yourself a nice fat cheque. For a student, 30k or more of your own cash, awesome. Sadly, it was not renewed come June this year.

Hanging out with my friends. One night in particular stands out, sometime when we were in third year. It’s my first ever twitpic.

My crew

The class trip to coast in third year. Our trips are purely un-academic.

Traveling to Uganda in September this year. I just packed my bags, called my ex-high schoolmate over there and off I went. I used my own hard-earned cash 🙂

Internal attachment (internship in campus) at the beginning of 2009. It was the most idle time of my life. I watched so many movies and series.

The day I bought Z (sometime in 2009). Z is my laptop.

Zee

The day my blog got a mention in Zuqka.

Getting a place for internship at the beginning of this year was not hard. In fact, I had two offers and I chose the better one. Turns out everyone else who was interning there knew somebody, but my papers spoke for me.

And now I have two job offers out of .ke, of course am yet to do even do my exams, let alone graduate. Decisions, decisions, don’t know which job to take. Hope I make the right choice.

The lows:

Having this fight in third year. I still bear the scars 😦

Soon after, somebody stole my Nokla and wallet. They didn’t just take the cash, they took the wallet and all my IDs, school, national, ATM card etc. I had to struggle to replace them. And I know it’s those chicks in the next room who took my stuff. Am watching you, if you’re reading this.

Every year, whenever the Babaroa list is out, and everyone is making comments like “Savvy, am sure you’re getting it again” and I just wish I’d never got it in the first place so guys don’t have to remind me every time of my earlier successful days 🙂

I’ve ever had a bad experience with Naps. First and last time to take it. Enough said.

Had a disastrous last day at work during my internship (Jan-April 2010). Almost got in the middle of some office politics, ended up not going home that night and got lectured the following day by my dad. He said stuff like, “if you want to get married, just tell us. You’re an adult now.” I’d never felt more of a kid.

Also during internship, I met a tweep who borrowed me my savings, to invest or so, I was stupid and all yeah. Anyway, it was hell getting it back but after a long struggle bravely borne, he finally MPESAd me the cash and I erased him from my phonebook. So long, sucker.

During internship yet again, I went to Naivasha for a weekend, and on my way back, my wallet was nicked by a pickpocket. I had to start replacing IDs and ATM cards all over again.

Last month, I’d just had a new Nokia C3 for about six days when yet again I was pick pocketed.

And so many more, the good and the bad, these are just but a few highlights of my adventurous life in JKUAT.

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Harambee Stars Vs Ugandan Cranes

Do you remember this post? I had no choice but to be in church on Saturday morning. I prepared and was in church by 10 a.m., which was a little late because the lecture theater where the services where being held was full. You know how lecture theaters are? Entrance is at the front and if you have to make a quick exit, that’s the place to sit. I was hoping that my fashionably late entrance would be noted by whoever was watching and nobody would ask me later why I hadn’t been to church.


Lecture theater looks almost like this one



I sneaked out just before the main preaching started, because once the speaker of the day is given time, he takes as much time as he wants. He could preach for 3 hours if he wanted and that would mean missing the Harambee Stars match. I’d bet heavily on the game: I was going to change my twitter name from Savvy Kenya to Savvy Uganda, and possibly my nationality too if the stars lost to the Cranes.

Having left church around noon, and changed from my dress to jeans and carried a borrowed vuvuzela, I got into a matatu around 1p.m. to town. Now, my small brother who’s blowing the vuvuzela below was in possession of the tickets and had been at the stadium since noon. He was giving us (my other bro and I) one hour to get to the stadium or he’d sell our tickets. I kept telling him am almost in town even when I was stuck in traffic because the Chinese constructors (contractors?)had decided Saturday was the best time to divert traffic to roadside paths.
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My small bro

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By the time I finally got to the stadium, it was 3.30pm and my brothers were already inside. Somehow, we managed to communicate and they wrapped my ticket around a small flag they’d bought and threw it over the wall of the stadium. Of course, there were few spiderman wannabes who scaled the wall but since I had my ticket no need to resort to desperate measures. The queues were long and so winding, but hey, am a chick so I just smiled at some guy and he let me cut the queue. He later told me he’ll be my husband and I said yeah, we’ll get married for sure.

I finally got into the packed stadium. Somehow, I found my brothers and abandoned ‘my husband’ because chicks were getting preferential treatment getting in. You just stand next to a cop and he ushers you in.

The packed stadium



I don’t want to get into details of the match, I tweeted so much during the match keeping guys updated because the match wasn’t being shown live. Thanks to greed KFL/FKL/KFF or whatever the match organizers are called who were asking for so much money even the state corporation KBC could not afford it. Needless to say, Kenya’s Harambee Stars were dominant and we had very many scoring chances. The energy of the fans was awesome even if the Ugandan fans refused to participate in the Mexican wave. They did later though. And they were very many. They came in like 20 or so buses, I hear.

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Ugandan Fans at the other end of the field in yellow

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The match ended in a nil-nil draw which means Kenya is at the bottom of the group. The other countries include Uganda, which leads the group with 4 points, followed by Guinea Bissau which has 3 points, then Angola which has 3 points too but an inferior goal difference, and there we are at the bottom with 1 point.

I eagerly await the return match, which is sadly not until next year October (7th I think). I wonder if I can make it to Kampala, I don’t even know where I’ll be at that time.

Meanwhile, you can read about the other matches I have previously attended here (AFC Leopards vs Gor Mahia), here (Harambee Stars Vs Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions), here (A disappointed Harambee Stars fan), here (Kenya Vs Mozambique, a 2-1 victory) or here (Harambee Stars Vs Tunisia, a loss!).

P.S. Doing a post you may want to read tomorrow. Let’s meet right here.

Tales From Kampala – The Final Part

This post is continued from here Part II

Part III: Kampala Night Life As I Saw It

So I know most of my readers have been waiting for tales from Kampala’s clubs and am sorry to disappoint you, I didn’t club much. However, all is not lost. That Friday evening, we dressed up to go out. I’ve never been the type to take three hours of preparation just to go out; am more of clean pair of jeans, matching top and some cash. Anyway, that night I took about 2 hours: from matching nail polish to shaved eyebrows to dresses and high heels, I was finally ready to hit the town.

Garden City at Night

We took a boda boda (motorbike) to Garden City. Garden City is a mall. That boda boda ride turned out to be one of my highlights of the trip to Uganda. You haven’t been in Kampala if you’ve not taken a boda boda, helmet-less and in a short dress being blown by the wind (while M.T’s dress couldn’t even be blown by the wind, it was that short and she was that tall), negotiating potholes while you hold on for dear life, and when you finally join the main road, you cruise past cars, weaving dangerously in and out traffic, and being stalked by at least half a dozen other boda boda riders telling M.T she has nice thighs.

At some point, we jumped the red light and then had this black car following us; the boda boda guy slowed down while the car caught up with us, and they guys inside lowered their window and hooted at us and said something like “ You chicks are so hot, you’re going to blow up Kampala.” Okay, I just assume that is what they were saying in Luganda. Or something similar. Anyway, they had intentions and I don’t think they were good intentions and we told our boda boda guy to hurry up, we didn’t want to end up in a slaughterhouse with ritual marks on our bodies when we are finally found floating on River Nile.

Garden City at night

We finally made it to Garden City safely, paid our fare and headed to Allegators. It’s in every sense of the word, a gaming center. It had video games, pool, etc and a bowling alley.

Notice anything? Bowling? It was on my to-do list, remember? One more thing off my list, thanks to a Ugandan blogger (seriously, he’s good. Good in writing, I mean.). Read his sleek and wild blog here.

Bowling looks easy, but after 3 attempts of clean misses, I was almost giving up. I was pissed, I took the ball, tested it for weight, cursed it, removed my high heels, focused on those pins and sent the ball down the lane. I hit ¾ of those pins. I was so proud! M.T on the other hand, was having lots of success, finishing up the game in one throw.

a bowling alley

From Garden City, we were a crew of about six and some wanted to go home and others to go dancing. A compromise was struck; pass by the club for one more drink and then the supermarket for a mzinga (a 750ml of something strong- Ugandans also say mzinga, FYI ) and then go home. That’s how we stopped at Fat Boys and Just Kickin that’s next door. There was a mandatory security search, I was starting to complain when I was reminded of that World Cup bombing. M.T and I got some Redds in plastic cups from Just Kickin, got some chips and liver somewhere along the way too and with a mzinga safely in the car and diluting the Redds, we retired for the night.

Waragi

Saturday morning was spent catching up on sleep and preparing for lunch; which we finally had at 3.00 p.m. I had planned on going sightseeing and swimming in the lake in the afternoon but it rained and I just wanted to stay in bed. M.T and I spent the time catching up; and reminiscing our high school mischief. We were classmates in high school, just in case I haven’t mentioned that before.

We may have had a house party invite that Saturday night, but then there was no electricity at our host’s house, so we just ended up passing by the supermarket and picking up a bottle of waragi (whose remaining contents I still have in my room as I type this) and having a quiet candle lit evening. Waragi is Uganda gin (chang’aa) and it’s pronounced waraji. I remember tweeting a little and fell asleep while tweeting. I was woken up at a quarter past six; I had to catch my bus back to Nairobi at 7 a.m. that Sunday morning.

-The End of Tales From Kampala-

Tales From Kampala – Part Two

Cont’d From Part One

Part Two: Friday in Kampala

My friend strode in, looked around and was leaving when I called out to her. Thank God she didn’t go into “Savvy you’ve grown fat!” she was more of “Savvy you have changed.” Changed is good, changed is polite and unmalicious. She told me you have to manually select your network for your phone(s) to work in Uganda. Safaricom has partnered with UTL and MTN, and Zain KE with Celtel-Uganda. We then left to take a taxi to her place.

When I say taxi, I don’t mean a cab. Ugandans call their matatus taxis. And they are in no way pimped or in good condition, like you find the matatus in Kenya are.

Ugandan Taxi

Kenyan matatus are sometimes pimped with graffiti, loud music systems and flashing lights.

A pimped Kenyan Matatu

One thing I realized after landing in Kampala is its friendliness. I don’t mean everyone rushing to say hi and welcome to Uganda kind of way. I mean I felt like I belonged. There is no feeling of being foreign, maybe I’m Ugandan and I don’t know it. I fit right in. Of course the currency was confusing, and I had to pay for anything by first calculating its value in Kenyan shillings.

M.T (my friend) led me to her hostel around the Makerere area; she goes to campus there. I was planning to do some catching up on sleep in the morning hours and some shopping later in the afternoon, but it was not to be. The shopping happened but the morning beauty sleep didn’t. I hollad up a friend around 9 a.m. after I had showered and freshened up and he invited us for breakfast at his house. M.T and I were up for a hearty breakfast with our friend whom we’ll call Mr. Sweet Teeth. He sometimes has tea and toast with his sugar.

His friend dropped us off at the Omuna Market around noon so we could do some shopping. He was an interesting guy with an accent I couldn’t place; it wasn’t European or American, or Kenya, Tanzanian, Ugandan or Rwandan. It’s just an African accent.

We first passed by this supermarket that would blind you with it’s sheer brilliantness. Those colours almost gave me a headache.

Blinding colours supermarket

Shopping is hard work people. Finding the right shoe or dress or jeans took us the whole afternoon of walking around downtown Kampala. The sellers sometimes grabbed your hand calling you “sister, sister”. Our tempers were running short when this guy grabbed my friend. She turned to him, “What? what do you want?”

“I want you.” he said while grabbing his crotch.

“Do I look your type now?” she had on a full blast Ugandan accent. “Do I look your type?”

The guy was still leering at her so she said, “leave me alone, you have a small &*#@”. That shut him up.

By the time we left the market, it was almost 6 p.m and it was time to get ready for Kampala night life.

To be Cont’d

P.S. Idd was on Friday in Uganda. How is that possible? I thought the moon appears the same time in Kenya as it does in Uganda. Now you wish you were Ugandan, huh? That was one holiday gone like that. Idd in Kenya happened on Saturday, FYI.

Tales From Kampala- Part One

Part One: From Nairobi to Kampala By Bus

The actual journey began when a particular deuce bag (excuse my strong language) who had owed me money for a long time suddenly MPESAd me. I was so ecstatic, I went and withdrew all of it, booked a bus ticket (return) to Kampala, and called my parents and told them I was going to Naivasha for the weekend for a JKUSO youth leadership training retreat thing. JKUSO is the students’ union in which I represent my department.

To travel within East Africa and Southern Sudan, you don’t need to have a passport; a temporary permit that takes 5 min to obtain and is valid for a year will do. I got all this done, packed a bag, had a coffee date (I don’t know how this is relevant) and boarded the bus at Akamba Booking Station in Nairobi at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday the 9th September, 2010.

It was a warlaloh restaurant; does this pattern mean anything?

Akamba unveiled these pretty looking buses during the World Cup which they used to transport guys from East Africa to South Africa. After that journey, you’d wish you had no back. And no ass. Seriously.

Travelling at night is really not that much fun because there is nothing to see. My Chinese ipod (chipod) died after 3 hours. You can’t read a book because…well, because it’s dark. I don’t like conversing with my fellow passengers, besides it’s at night. So I tweeted (Follow me on twitter) till my phone battery died.

The only excitement of the night was when we stopped at the border at Busia, around 3 a.m. I was made to understand there is another crossing point at Malaba and I don’t where else. Anyway, after our stopovers at Naivasha, Nakuru, Kericho, and Kisumu we made a final stop while in Kenya at Busia. Busia is a town at the border that has spilled to both sides (both Uganda and Kenya) but I think it’s more in Kenya than in Uganda.

At the border, we were directed to the immigration department. You fill these Kenya-exit and Uganda-entry forms that the officers don’t even glance at, they just look at your permit and stamp and swish you away. At least that is what happened to me on the Kenyan side. On the Ugandan side, this Ugandan officer who was tall, dark and handsome asked me how long I was going to stay in Uganda. I told him about a week; and he wondered aloud if that was long enough to get me a Ugandan boyfriend. I should have asked for his number.

At this point, I finally dozed off and woke up in Uganda, when we were crossing the Nile River. It was so wide I wondered if we were crossing a lake at some point. It was still early dawn and I couldn’t manage any pictures; besides my phone was dead. I called my friend with my other phone; she was my classmate and friend in high school and was to be my host; she promised she’d be waiting for me by 7am at Akamba Bus Station in Kampala.

The Nile River; I took the picture on my way back

At one point in the journey during the night (I think at Kisumu) the light was on in the bus and cockroaches scrambled to hide! There were at the edges of the seats and by the window sills. Cockroaches in a whole Akamba bus??? I couldn’t freaking believe it. Isn’t there something called fumigation? Unfortunately, I forgot to complain about it later and I didn’t observe any during the return journey. The next time am in town, I’ll pass by their offices and give them a piece of my mind.

We finally got to Kampala around 7 a.m. on Friday morning and I got off the bus and tried to call my friend. Nothing. Calls can’t go through, I don’t have Ugandan money (my pal told me it’s better to change money inland), and even if I did, I didn’t know which airtime to buy. You’d think I’d be stranded but not me; I asked the guy who was working at the Akamba canteen in the passenger lounge to call my pal for me. He did in exchange for Kshs.100 or an equivalent Ushs. 2500 airtime.

Around 8 a.m. my tall pal strolled in, looked around and was almost walking away. I had changed that much since high school.

To be Cont’d.

P.S.

Travelling to Uganda alone means I have struck one more thing off my to-do list. I’m doing well enough, I guess.