Thanks to Fiolina and her battalion of relatives, my house stopped being mine a few weeks ago.
But the house was always crowded during the day and the bed uninhabitable at night. You see, Frida, Fiolina’s niece, started sleeping in our bed every afternoon, and at times she would join us in bed at night and sleep next to her aunt.
Almost every day, she would wet the bed making it impossible for me to sleep comfortably. Many were the nights I woke up and sat on the stool in our bedroom until morning.
So when KU opened last weekend, I could not wait to get a room and enjoy good sleep again. I boarded Msamaria Mwema in the evening the other Friday, arriving in Nairobi early Saturday morning, and headed straight to KU for registration.
My preferred roommate Wesonga had not arrived and, as a result, I could not pick a room early enough. Although I finished other registration processes by noon, I had to wait for Wesonga’s arrival. It was around 4pm when we walked to Nyayo hostels, where we had been assigned a room.
Now, for those of you who have never been to KU, Nyayo hostels are so far away you have to walk for over two kilometres, cross several streets, roundabouts, and a railway line. In fact, if the KU folklore is true, Kenyatta University and Nyayo hostels are in different counties!
We entered the room, dropped our belongings and went to KM for supper. I had missed Ugali HoHo and so we walked to Blessed Restaurant, where, surprisingly, Wesonga blessed me by paying for the food. My only fear is that he will keep on reminding me of this for the entire session.
From Blessed, we walked to Kwa Mbugus pub, where Wesonga bought me several cups of Keg. The place was lively with loud reggae music.
Later on, Wesonga joined other students in playing some game they called Pull. He tried to teach me the game but I could not concentrate, my mind having been designed for more intellectually involving games like Draft.
There was a problem
Although I was broke, I also bought him two cups. It was around 10pm when we walked to our room in Nyayo Hostel. But there was a problem: we could not remember whether our room was in Nyayo 3 or Nyayo 4.
When we finally found our abode room and set the bed to sleep. Just because he had bought me supper and beer, Wesonga insisted on taking the lower bed and sent me to the upper decker.
As you know, most of my bedding that I usually use in KU is now being used by the Battalion at home. As a result I had only carried one blanket.
As Wesonga spread several sheets, I jumped onto my mattress and covered myself with the blanket.
Having not slept the previous night, and since I was a little “toxic”, I knew I would soon be dead asleep. This was not to be. A few minutes after I covered myself, I felt something walk on my body and bite me. It was some insect and as I moved my hand to push it away, I felt another one on my feet.
Soon they were all over me. “Siafu!” I shouted, jumping out of bed.
Wesonga laughed out loud. I begged him to lend me one sheet and I went back to sleep. But after about half an hour, the insects attacked again.
Wesonga too had also been attacked. “Sio siafu, ni bedbugs,” he said getting out of bed.
We left our room to borrow Doom but met many other students in the corridor complaining of the same.
“Kwani kina nani walikuwa wanalalia hizi mattresses,” our neigbour asked. “Ni kama hizi kunguni zimetumwa!”
“Please help us with Doom,” Wesonga begged.
“Doom haiwezani na hizi, labda maji moto.”
We went to his room and found that he had heated water in a jug which he was using to scald the bedbugs on his mattress.
“Si that will make your mattress wet?” I wondered.
“A wet mattress is better than a bedbug-infested-bed!” he replied.
We borrowed a heater and used the same strategy to kill the bedbugs. It was not easy to sleep since we did not kill many of them.
Early Sunday morning, we went to the janitor’s office to report our woes. There were many of us waiting at his office when we arrived.
“What is it? I thought I gave all of you rooms yesterday?” he asked as he sat down.
“Kunguni zinatumaliza!” said Wesonga, scratching his back.
“Kunguni? What is that?” the janitor asked.
“Bedbugs,” said our neighbour, “the mattresses and beds you gave us are full of kunguni.”
“Hatujalala!” I added.
“Poleni,” the janitor said, unmoved. “Kwani mlikuja hapa kusoma ama kulala? This should help you read.”
“Wewe wacha madharau!” our neighbour shouted at him.
“Anyway that’s not a big problem,” he said, “kuna jua kali leo, wote anikeni blanket zenu nje kunguni zitachomwa zikufe. Jioni mtaletewa dawa.”
We all trooped to our rooms to get our bedding out. I carried mine to the entrance of Nyayo 4, when I met Anne and Njoki, my classmates.
“Eh, Dre, kwani umekojoa kwa malazi ndio unaanika?” Njoki asked, causing loud laughter from other students.
“Ni hizo pompe ulikunywa Kwa Mbugus zimefanya ukojoe kwa malazi,” Anne added.
That evening, someone came to fumigate our rooms. I thought I would have a better night but this was not to be. That night, they attacked more viciously as if they were angry at me for denying them food. Wesonga seemed to be faring better.
“Ni wewe hukuoga,” he told me when I asked him. “Bedbugs hazipendi mtu msafi,” he said amidst loud laughter. But an hour later, he too could not sleep and he joined me in heating water to scald them.
We also had to air our bedding the next day before we went to class. They were fewer that night and we have been airing our bedding every day since then.
If you remember, I had promised Fiolina that she would visit me in KU this session. I hope by the time she comes, my bedding will be kunguni-free. Otherwise these bloodsuckers will kill us!