Campus is a pretty interesting place to be, not until one runs broke. When poverty strikes, you have no plan for lunch nor supper and survival is only at the mercy of extra porridge nights.
Porridge nights are not only interesting but also hunger-saving. During the nights, porridge is cooked at a given hall - depending on who the organizers are. There is usually music for people to dance to but what usually gets some out of bed, especially on those pocket-empty nights, is the hunger that sends them porridge-hunting.
Two or three cups of porridge accompanied with popcorn can get one going for at least a night and part of the next day.
Upon arrival at the porridge night venue, there is that one friend whom it maybe your first time seeing, who hands you a disposable cup containing content that you only discover to be liquor after failing at the first attempt to sip. But if you sip from it for a while, then you are assured of dancing the entire night.
Then there is that clique of “big boys” with whom you jump energetically as you sing the cultural anthems.
During my first porridge night, I left my room for Mary Stuart to grab myself a cup of porridge and a slice of bread to eat, for I was damn hungry. I noticed an immediate neighbor with a bottle of torero (liquor) and a pack of cigarettes. Pretending not to have noticed him, I kept eating my porridge to fight off my hunger.
This neighbour couldn’t let me eat my porridge in peace. He somehow managed to pull off a conversation and narrated to me his ordeal. He said he was a second year student and had come to forget the stress of a paper he was retaking.
“I am a second-year student. Last semester, our lecturer gave us an option to either hand in our course work by email or using the MUELE platform, but after handing in the work, he might have been stressed out by his girlfriend and he rejected the work of all those that submitted by email. So. I am retaking but I am here to enjoy. I will think about that later,” he said with an alcohol odour coming out of his mouth. He then lit his cigarette and joined the dancing circle.
At the porridge night, some come to dance, to relax and others to eat the porridge. To me, it is a hunger saver.
After the deejay said goodbye that night, I pushed myself to Lumumba hoping for a better tomorrow.