Well, this post goes out to all the male students in our public campuses and a few in our private campuses. I am a brother speaking for you. We have remained silent for too long and it is time we raised our voices! Comrades riaaah!
I am writing this post on an empty stomach. You see, this afternoon after washing my dirty laundry (overdue for a week. Maybe 2) I embarked on an hour long project of cooking ndengu. I did this using gas. Very Big Mistake, as I have come to learn now. You see ndengu require a lot of cooking time before they finally decide to take a bow. So after 1 hour of boiling the hard headed grains, my ndengu finally gave in. I did not know the toll these ndengu had taken on my gas.
This evening, being Easter Sunday, I decide to celebrate. As a bachelor, meat is a truly rare commodity in my house. And in many other houses where my species exist. I substitute those few proteins in meat by embarking on an egg collecting expedition every Saturday. So today, for the 3rd time this semester I had some meat in my house. I swaggered into my bedsitter and happily got ready to boil this meat. Boil is what we do. I turn on the gas and a lazy hazy flame is what I get. I panicked knowing the end is nigh. So I hurriedly place the sufuria on the meko and pray that the lazy flames can get the job done… they don’t. They flutter for a few more minutes, teasing my anxiety and then die; as if they were never there. As I type this, a sufuria of meat that cost me 50 bob is drowning in some tomato water!
Which brings me to my inspiration. I just realized that being a bachelor is one thing. But being a bachelor, who is a campus student, living alone, is another. I have done some historical (hii story, hizi story, story zetu you get the drift) research from the stories I’ve had with mates and concluded this is how we live, or rather exist:
1. In the morning a bachelor student wakes up and doesn’t spread the bed. You only spread the bed the one time your mother visits, which is never. You go to the sufuria that cooked last night’s ugali and take that half you had spared for this morning. You then boil some water and throw in some color of some kind, mostly always black. If you think meat is rare, you know nothing about milk. Black tea+ugali is usually the expected breakfast.
2. You will walk to campus mostly. Whether you live a kilometre away or you live in Tanzania, you will walk to school. No exceptions. That is why we always have rubber shoes.
3. The food from the cafeteria, mess or pavilion is too expensive for a bachelor student. How can they sell ugali at 20 bob? We will buy ugali at nothing more than 10 bob!! That is why that backstreet “hotel” is our “food court”. Mine is called Baraka Rescue. Any legitimate bachelor student in Rongai knows the place. They sell beans, ndengu, veg (mboga), chapati and ugali at 40 bob. That’s what I’m talking about!!
These people we need them, sometimes. But they make the life of a bachelor student all the more difficult. They show up when you do not have much but your ugali flour. Sometimes even the ugali flour is not there. If you see a bachelor student asking for a kaloan, this is most likely what happened. Most bachelor students have more loans than the government. From M-shwari, to their friends, to their local shopkeeper and even these girlfriends. Sigh!
Let it be known that a bachelor student loves food, but hates the kitchen. They will cook their ugali using the same sufuria for a week until the girlfriend comes to clean things up. Utensils just pile in the sink and some find space on the floor. A cup can be used to drink tea, brush teeth, beat an egg at lunch time and drink water. It’s not laziness, but economising on the water and soap. If you want to find some weird food combinations go to a bachelor student’s house. Combinations like ugali and salted water, ugali and an avocado, ugali and carrots, ugali and ugali.. the list is endless. There is always some culinary creativity depending on what is available when.
If there are people that deserve some crazy respect, they are the bachelor students. If you see one losing weight, there is more than meets the eye. Now to deal with my empty stomach I will eat raw spaghetti and wash it down with some water.