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Life in Agbaje Hostel, University of Ibadan: A Tale of Friendship and Challenges

Navigating Through Adversity in the University Environment

By Emmanuel OjenikePublished 2 months ago 7 min read
3

I stayed in Agbaje Hostel, University of Ibadan while I was a student. The rooms on each floor were built in a way that they were opposite each other in a long row and two wings to represent a column on each floor. They had eight rooms. The long row was demarcated into two to have distinct wings, and they all had their kitchens. Our hostel was built in a large fenced compound, and when I got admission and was allocated to the hostel, I thought it was a sort of an estate. Whenever I walked out from my hostel, through the inner gate that had my hostel and one other, a round and short woman would yell, "Hey, fine girl, come and buy earpiece. I get an original one."

Some students will ignore her, while others will smile back at her, gesturing that they are not interested. Students always gathered around her wooden kiosk and haggled for the prices of different phone accessories.

There were five hostels in the entire compound, three female and two male. We would pass through the walkway of the two male hostels while we walked back from classes. My friend told me how the girls were catcalled and demeaned, and I thought it was a joke.

After a class, I sashayed home with my classmates. I was in the middle of my two friends, Juliet and Sharon, who were by my side. From a few kilometers away, we could hear noises from students in one of the hostels, Adeyemi Hostel. "What's happening?" Juliet asked, taking glances at each one of us.

My palms gestured openly in the air, raising up my shoulders, while Sharon stared confusingly. We were almost there and could now hear their voices clearly.

"Orobo, see as you fat. Go and lose weight," one said in Pidgin.

Others laughed, and they continued mocking the chubby girl that walked past. She was ahead of us. I could feel the girl getting embarrassed immediately I saw her trip on a stone and almost fall. The boys laughed, peeping through the netted windows of their rooms.

We were almost there, and they had stopped as we got closer.

"Hey, fine girl, which department are you in?" one asked.

"It's like you're mad?" Juliet replied.

She said it with her finger positioned towards her head to indicate that he was not mentally okay. One person clapped. "Hah, if they're talking about fine girls, would this one be counted? Look at her big eyes and her mouth wide as a breakable plate," a voice said.

"Yaay!" they chorused, cheering him on.

"And she is more ugly," another said.

"Yepa!" they cheered on.

"I would need a pillowcase to cover this girl's eyes while I have sex with her. She is extremely ugly. Look at how her friends are prettier than her," another said.

"Yaay!"

Juliet stared at me, expecting me to say something, but I ignored her, and my eyes moved to Sharon's face, but she wasn't looking either. She kept a straight face, and we continued walking without uttering a word till we got to the kiosk of the woman that sold phone accessories.

"Fine girl, do you want to buy an earpiece?" the shop woman asked, trying to touch Juliet , but ended up grabbing her.

Juliet pushed her, and she staggered, falling down on the table. "Jesus!" everybody shouted.

I looked at Juliet , expecting her to stop and say sorry, but she kept walking to the hostel. I knew she was angry. A man ran towards Juliet , and before we could come to her help, he had held Juliet 's clothes and slapped her so hard. The slap thundered so loud, it made her head spin, and I imagined stars blinking out from her eyes.

Juliet grabbed his shirt, which was buttoned, and she quickly pulled it down, tearing the shirt while the buttons scattered on the ground. I saw tears trickle down her cheeks as she muttered unknown words to the man. The woman had stood up and ran towards us to fight Juliet back, but I held her tightly. Sharon assisted me, and we begged her to calm down.

The man had pinned Juliet 's neck and was almost choking her. I squinted at Sharon to calm the woman, and I swallowed my saliva as I walked towards the man to beg him. People had gathered around and cussed out on Juliet . I begged them to calm down and explained that Juliet wasn't in a good mood when it happened. My eyes still blinked towards Sharon while she still held the woman and calmed her down. Students stood there, holding their phones in the air. I guessed they were trying to make a video, and in no time, our argument would surface on social media, making us objects of mockery. I was relieved when the man finally heeded my plea and released her. Juliet heaved heavily, looking exhausted. Her face had turned red and solemn, and tears still clung to her natural lashes. I knew not to touch her, as she might transfer her aggression towards me. The woman had finally heard Sharon's pleas and walked back to her shop.

I felt exhausted getting back to the hostel and laid on my bed. I would wake up and blend the pepper and tomatoes I had bought in the morning but didn't cook when the impromptu class was scheduled. I lay on the bed with my back resting and my face upward, staring at the upper bunk, and in no time, my eyes closed, and I dozed off.

I was awoken by noises in the hostel. "They have stolen my laptop," a girl cried.

I stood up from the bed and walked towards the door with my eyes still blurry. Standing at the door, I stared and felt pity for her, while her friends held and consoled her.

The whole scenario ended, and I walked to the kitchen with my blender. I bent to blend my tomatoes, and in a few minutes, a girl joined me. I noticed her footsteps, looked up, greeted her, and she responded with a smile. It seemed like she needed my greetings to be comfortable around me.

"There are a lot of thieves in this hostel. They even steal pants. I can't cope," she said, adding the Yoruba at the end.

"I have also heard a lot, but I pray not to experience it," I replied.

"I hope not. Even the nicest person experiences it, but God is our protector," she said.

Her face looked expressionless and wrinkled. I nodded.

I was done blending my tomatoes and pepper and poured it into the pot, then placed it on the hot plate to allow it to steam. I looked around, but she had left the kitchen. She would have helped me watch over my pot of stew while I kept the utensils in my room and returned quickly. Since she wasn't around, I decided to estimate for myself and promised that I wouldn't take more than three minutes. I walked into my room, dropped the utensils, and made to walk back, but Juliet stood in front of my door.

"Hey, Juliet ," I said.

"Don't try that thing you did today ever again in your life! From today, you are canceled as my friend," she said and walked away.

I stood at the door with my hands on its edges, shocked. Other students stared at us, and I couldn't say anything until she walked back to her room. I sighed and remembered that my stew was on the stove. Ah, I hope it hasn't burnt, I thought and quickened my pace to the kitchen.

On the floor, all that remained of my pot was burnt residue, and the bottom had been scraped with an iron spoon.

shouted as my mouth stood agape.

Short Story
3

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  • Hafiz Riaz Hussain2 months ago

    Thank you for subscribing and liking my work. I want you to continue appreciating my work

  • Test2 months ago

    Well written! Good job!

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