The Price of Independence as a Campus Student

Being in campus means a lot of things. In the chapter of residence you could be a commuter, squatter, refugee or bachelor/bachelorette. For the lucky few, they get to live in the school hostels.

The group that go back to their parents homes are the luckiest. They are the day scholars and everyone envies them. The boarders on the other hand, are taken to be the fellows with the most miserable life.

Housing in institutions of higher learning is a great challenge. We know this. Our parents know it. Heck, even the so-called professors conduct some research projects on the same.

A few people have no idea how things are run out here. These include freshers, those upgrading from a hostel setting to a single room or bed-sitter. They are clueless. This is where conmen come in to reap.

Ron has been living in the hostels for a semester now. Succumbing to pressure from most of his friends who are now ‘independent’ and live off-campus, he is on the lookout for a good place he can brag about.

He wanders off until he gets a vacant room. The person he meets at the gate, informs him that the room is booked although it hasn’t been paid for. He is taken for viewing and the place is nice. It would make do.

What he should do is pay before the other person and he gets to occupy it, the man tell him. Sweet deal.

Ron calls the number that the ‘caretaker’ has given to him and confirms that he can indeed get the room. One Mpesa transaction later, Ron is told to pass by majioni to take his receipt as ownership has been confirmed.

He chills at his friend’s place until around 5pm. When he gets to the building, he is directed to a different person as the caretaker, the real one. It sinks in, he paid for a non-existent room in the building!

Ron went to report at the local police station in the area. There are so many cases like this, he was told. That statement made him lose hope in the culprit ever being caught. He had no option but to let it go.

A similar case happened to Linda. She didn’t bother recording her case with the police. What would they do? Have they done anything in the past? One has to suck it up. Life is too short to be miserable.

Are you looking for a place to live as you pursue your studies in the campus of your choice? Not to worry.

Do a background check.

Ask your friends how they acquired their rooms. If they can, allow them to accompany you on your search.

Don’t trust everyone for information.

Walk into the building. Knock on the first door, the person responsible many a times lives there. If you cannot locate them, try the surrounding houses and compare notes. Everyone is out for themselves!

Paybill or Account Number.

A building that is run efficiently collects the rent and other bills in order. Don’t be fooled to send money to a personal Mpesa number in the name of ni ya mwenye nyumba.

Receipts, receipts, receipts!

Ensure the records of all your bills are well kept and you acquire them before mid month. In case of any problems, the papers will speak for themselves and you are at a lower risk of being exploited.

Looking for a house? Desperation is not part of getting one!

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