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The second month of the year is almost getting knocked out but not more than the gents are knocking down their counterparts. And that is just part of the story that everyone is interested in this month. The obsession with February is just on another level. Valentines fever has surpassed its expiry date and is still running rampant. Woi University has not been spared, suffering multiple casualties in its wake.

Yesterday as I was getting lost in the jungle that is the ladies’ hostels, I happened to meet fellow guys parading door by door. At one moment when someone’s woofer withered into silence, the sound of moaning and yelling rented the air. If you would have been there, you would be wishing you brought an earphone. What made it more awkward was that when I walked down the path leading into the hostel, some ladies I would see on the way would look at me and start smiling. As I entered, I would find some men knocking incessantly on the doors. So they would knock before they knocked? Philosophical mind of mine, what have I come here to do?

The madness would not stop there. Just as I thought I had had enough, (and I had heard enough surely), some mad man came looking through the keyholes of the rooms. In some rooms where the newspapers covering the glass above the doors were ripped, he would peep into the room. Peeping Tom would then throw some Government-prescribed “protection” through the space underneath the door. This behaviour I found almost animalistic yet in some rooms I heard laughter and praises being showered on the culprit. Welcome to the jungle, the place where you get nothing but “forest” [miti] and only animals that live in this “forest” matter.

I felt like some of the students; like I had fallen into an unfamiliar abyss [Kisiwa cha Malavidavi];only that we were being water boarded. During the Valentines period, it was fine since the memes had pre-warned us. When the weather became favourable for us singles, we thought the chapter had been closed. Those who had been in exile during that week were happy that the forty days of Njaanuary had finally ended. Just then a second wave of Valentines fever hit Woi University. Woi, woi, woi! You would be excused if you thought that was the sound of the end time trumpets, many of us fell for it too. Valentine has been extended and people are still “eating.” The exiles have no option but to go to the library, CU and other accommodating facilities. All in the name of Valentines!

Let us have a moment of silence for all those who have undergone the unmentionable rite of passage.

Now let us have a longer moment of silence for those who will be “giving new life” while their life will be taken away. All in the name of Valentines! They say that the bitterness of the music is always felt in the sole of the feet. Kupanda mchongoma kushuka ndio ngoma. Remember the end time music? When you are abandoned by the dude who came to eat, who will you blame? Will you ask the government for help (serikali saidia) or will you blame them for suggesting it to you by handing you the “protection”?

People, Valentine is gone. So is the innocence of some of you. And by extension, we’ve lost our innocence because we were dragged into your jungles. You sent some of us into exile. Now let bygones be bygones and invite us back into OUR rooms so that we can study.

To those who just can’t stop, take care and think about it first. Don’t rush to tear (rarua) into the meat of another whether or not you have won the protection, the protection itself can tear. Then you’ll have a hard time later tearing (rarua) the envelope with your HIV/AIDS status or stopping your baby from tearing down. Know that one way or another, it will end in tears.

Thank you.

*miti – Swahili word for trees. When used in sheng, it means sex.

*rarua – Swahili word for tear. Also used in the sexual context in some Sheng cliques.
*Kisiwa cha Malavidavi – translates to the sea of love.
*Njaanuary – a play on words to show how much there is no food/money/fees etc. come January. Also used here to mean the sexual “thirst”, similar to No Nut November.
*Feb-rarua – a play on words to combine February and the word rarua.
*Kupanda mchongoma kushuka ndio ngoma. – a saying that translates to climbing up a thorny tree is not as hard as climbing down. It means that things are always easier to start but hardest to complete. It could also be used to mean that when you begin anything, it will be fun but when you are faced with the consequences, it becomes a sorrowful occasion.
*serikali saidia – “Government please help” An infamous Kenyan saying where the citizens beg for the government for it’s assistance at times of crisis.

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