As a first year student (fresher) at Egerton University, I was fairly inexperienced in various things. Unlike the tradition of staying with fellow freshers, I was cast into a room to share with fourth year students. At first, there was the usual uneasiness that accompanies testing of new waters, which is usually characterized by too much politeness. Things got less uncomfortable when the politeness ended, and the real life started. Fresh and a bit naive, my mind was not yet exposed to the strange workings of campus life.
In most social settings, any eventuality that comprises an older and a younger generation, the older generation, maybe by virtue of age, and not necessarily experience, always seem predisposed to give advice to the younger generation. This advice is usually on sex and relationships and on very rare occasions, education. The advice is mostly based on their experience and is mostly bad, it is better if you do the exact opposite and safe if you take your own advice.
My forth year roommates were eager to teach the new blood the modus operandi of campus life. One was an avid conversationalist and who took no pains to explain even the obvious. He therefore enriched my vocabulary with the then new campus slang and coinages. Box, Roach, Exile, were the most emphasized terminologies with acronyms such as CDF coming a distant second. Also impressed upon me were stereotypes on a wide array of issues that include but are not limited to communities, women, soccer, sex, and career choices.
True to what they said and after garnering experience, I consider myself an authority worthy of instilling the same knowledge to future “freshers” in our institutions of higher learning. As I came to learn, our ladies hostels were the ones labeled “box.” The movement of one from his room to any given “box” with the intention of charming, seducing, begging or groveling for a lady’s hand in courtship is referred to as “roaching.” And upon successful roaching, the now courting couple would wish to seal the deal by enjoying the forbidden fruits. To do this, they would need an ambience whose attainment is usually obstructed by the ever present roommates. It is this dilemma that gave birth to the “exile” concept. Exile means giving due notice to your roommates for them to make arrangements to vacate the premises on the material day. Who cares where they will sleep?
Some terms were however educational. For instance, the very important acronym, CDF, means a totally different thing to the university students. To the larger Kenyan society, CDF means the Constituency Development Fund. This is the fund that has financed the education of the majority of poor students in campus. But to students, CDF acquired a different meaning altogether. When it is said immediately our transcripts have been released, it actually means that the recipient scored mostly C’s, D’s and F’s during that semester. When expressed near a lecturer, it does not mean that the said lecturer is in the committee disbursing the constitution development fund. It rather means that the lecturer in question is predisposed to giving students C’s D’s and F’s.
That is all for today…