She thought the lecture room had migrated, indeed she was lost. I always thought it was only toddlers who could get lost. The other groups I had exempted from not getting lost were those who take the M-Pigs to parliament because of unemployment, the members who belong to the Drunkards Association who mistake enguuli for bushera, the villagers who thought bulbs were calabashes and the whites whose pride is in seeing Africa lagging behind.
Little did I know that I risked being charged with forgetting to include university freshers on my list. This lackadaisical mistake I’d committed would actually incite the police into a ‘shoot-to-kill’ operation.
I’ll never forget the day my bosom friend, Eric attended a year three class on his first day at Makerere university. A slim lady Professor with glasses that seemed heavier than her was the one in the lecture room. Eric told me that he kept gazing at her waiting for the glasses to overpower the wiry woman.
Eric didn’t pick anything from the lecture; not even the topic; not even the course. The only thing he learnt was that he was lost.
This reminded me the day Susan almost missed an exam. She looked for the lower lecture theatre at the then faculty of arts for half an hour.
She rotated around the same place in both clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. She then moved upstairs and downstairs. She could not find the theatre. She thought it had migrated. She then realized she was lost.
I can write thousands of such experiences. But in this series, it is as important to a fresher as salary increment is to Makerere university dons and primary teachers.
To understand that being lost is not abnormal. Blessed, therefore, are the freshers who will heed to my sweet PLAN B prescription;
- Asking for direction is neither illegal nor subject to taxation. No one will charge you under the Public Order Management Bill for not seeking Kayihura’s permission to stop any person and politely sing, “Excuse me, hi, can you please help direct me to the dean’s office”. And by the way Makerere students are as helpful as statehouse is to Luwero war veterans. And I’m not saying you will be given sacks of money for seeking help when lost. What I mean is that they will give you free services, no terms, no conditions. Students do not behave like Maria Kiwanuka, who thinks it’s wise to tax water and paraffin.
- Get used to your college during orientation. It is too much high school swagger that makes most of you shun orientation. But of course, that swagger ends up getting you into more troubles than those in the office of the Prime Minister.
- Know a few of your course mates and give them a call whenever you are lost. Just load ‘pakalost’(not pakalast because it no longer lasts ever since the warid-airtel. Looks like the bride secured a high interest loan from loan sharks to throw a party and perhaps pay dowry).
- Police. If you choose not to obey the above plan B rules, I can bet my father-in-law’s herd that you will get lost, but even then, I have another option for you. If you forget all the places at Makerere, be sharp enough to remember the police station. Once you realize that you are lost run faster than Kiprotich and report yourself to the police or ask any policeman you see around to lead you to the police. There, you’ll be picked after radio announcements and you will automatically be deported.
Until then, Kam Sam rebukes the spirit of being lost.