A fresher's tale of Makerere University's Mitchell Bazaar

Written by: 
Kabera Angel

The Mitchell Bazaar is a one-stop trade fair where new students can easily access cheap products such as mattresses, scholastic materials, among others.

By day, merchants are scattered allover under tents displaying all sorts of commodities ranging from toiletries to soft drinks and other beverages. A few health companies also set up their tents to offer free consultation services to the new and continuing students, especially in the field of sexual and reproductive health.

The bazaar is a hub of excitement and thrill. One cannot miss the humor at the contrast between the unapologetically secular DJs sending blasts of afro-pop music across the field, and the subtle gospel songs playing delicately with no intention to partake in any battle for an audience.

Sales associates scramble for students with high hopes of having a lion's share to support them. I think I will give this year's accolade to Lyca Mobile sales associates - I have never come across a more persistent lot than that one!

A handful of freshers walk into the Bazaar at a time reeking of curiosity and cluelessness with an extra bounce in their step, confident in their newly found freedom. One can clearly see the difference between a fresher and a continuing student. It is a beautiful thing to watch - the innocent osmosis of dreams and adventure - at the same time there is danger in this untamed wonder of theirs.

At dusk, the quadrangle transforms into an outdoor dance party. The starry night sky makes the best ceiling with a few complementary red florescent lights to set the mood. Miniskirts, ripped jeans and flashy chains are out, and the dancing shoes are on.

The fresh air is contaminated with youthful energy and sweat with heads bouncing and bodies moving to the beat of the chair-erecting tunes. In a corner, some freshers stand in shock, too stunned to speak and unware of what to do with this newly found freedom. These are eye-catching as they gradually let loose; transitioning from a few scoops of ice cream to  bottles of Nile Special.

By the end of the week, all curiosity has been fed and with certain amounts of restraint this is harmless. However, those who have fallen victim of extremism meet a more unfortunate end. That is the way of the world. The campus world!

As a fresher with a high affinity for studying people, my days at the Bazaar have been increasingly entertaining. I, for one, will not forget that particular Wednesday night when I carried my two left feet onto the dance floor without caring what next after a few shots of liquid boosted my courage.

I wonder what my Sunday School teachers would say but then again their opinions wouldn’t make any difference. At the end of the day, it is the memories that we are making that matter. Not many will have the privilege of telling tales of their nights at the Mitchell Hall Bazaar!