There three things that are lovely about Campus life actually four, free food, cheaper booze, a place to sleep and freedom. You can walk into any room in your floor and demand for food, or eggs, or cooking oil or a handful of omena or brown looking maize or sorghum flour at no cost. Hell you can offer to do dishes, give stories with sexual undertones or those highlighting problems you collectively face for a plate of ugali. People want to belong, want to feel that problems are communal, there’s nothing that binds people more tightly than strife. I’m sorry I digress.
So this day, I’m visiting a friend of mine in an upper floor room. We are telling stories of how hard our third year is. I’m using perfect similes, metaphors, irony and stylistic devices second only to Shakespeare’s. I’m feeling alive. Subtle too because I’m as hungry as a wolf, my last proper meal being two days ago when I stole tomatoes from the nearby tuckshop and sold them for a fortune, and went to the mess to buy CMB. ( chapo mbili beans). So I’m waiting for this guy to cook but he thinks I’m out sharing my problems.
He finally after eternity begins to Cook, rice? one of my favourites. Tomatoes bingo! cooking oil, perfect.
To my utter horror, he pours two cups of rice in the sufuria, and places it on his cooking coil (a comrade’s most valued electronic) he proceeds to cut the tomatoes as the rice heats, no water, nothing! for like ten minutes, he then adds, tomatoes to the rice and stirs vigorously, adds a cooking oil, stirs again then finally adds cold water.
Well I have eaten many bad things all my life, kunde sprayed with eggs, Omena and their ammonia, rice with cabbage, ugali with fried dhania, boiled potatoes with boiled njugu, raw sweet potatoes I’ve had spaghetti cooked together with kales, kales! foods that giant worms in my tummy frown upon, but this, this was new. This was a toxin from hell whose effects can haunt generations to come.
I shot out of room faster than I had come, feigning sleep and thanked him profusely for his hospitality. My stomach grumbling (we call it borborygmi), tears welling in my eyes, a lump in my throat and closed the door slowly.
I could swear I heard him burst into laughter.