FOR OUR SAKE, LET’S WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING KIMATHI

Do you remember the hopes you had when you finally learned you were coming to Kimathi university? The expectations and eagerness to explore campus life were limitless. I remember there was that one acceptace form in which one filled in which sport or activity interested them. It had just about every sport played in this country save for bano and kalongolongo. I was so enthusiastic when I ticked swimming as my hobby, I could already imagine myself diving in at the deep end of the cool, blue, highland waters and backstroking to and fro the shallow end. Well, it is okay to dream. That was, however, one of my shortest lived dreams. The moment I set foot in Kimathi, reality hit me so hard that I am still trying to recover, three years later. Was it so bad? Not if you ask the fourth years and fifth years. According to them, we found the university much better than it was when they reported.
As their story goes, once upon a time, RC was connected to the Old Admin blocks by a bushy path, which apparently was also a rendezvous of sorts for young lovers at twilight hours. I guess that’s because there must have been little to do in the evenings by means of recreation. Even laptops were much rarer back in the day, the school itself had only one tiny computer lab. So having a lover nearby came in handy whenever one had too much free time in their hands. Factor in the lack of consistent transportation into town, and Kimathi was a really dreary place. Back then our current VC had an office in the old administration block., the same building housing the old admin computer labs.
If you heard the whole story, you would agree with me that Kimathi has come quite a distance since then. But there is still a long way to go. I believe that somewhere in this world there are universities much worse off than we are. Universities with no basketball court, gym, football pitch, rugby pitch or any of the other amenities we take for granted. However, in our quest to develop as a university, we should forget that those universities even exist. One gets closer to number one by getting ahead of the person in front of them, not by staying in front of the person behind them. The bad news is that we are behind in almost every way you can possibly use to rank this country’s universities. The good news is that we have unlimited number of ways in which we can improve. Point out any one single thing in Kimathi at random and there’s at least one way in which it can be improved. That includes you, but we will talk about self-improvement later not here.
Taking this university to the next level is a lot of work, so where do we start? How about getting a new contractor for any future constructions in the university? I don’t know if you have noticed, but the current one is too damn slow. It is said better slow and sure, and I agree. But this particular contractor is not even sure of anything; do you remember those huge, ugly, gaping cracks in the RC walls? They managed to patch those up. Things seemed fine for a while, until cracks started showing up in the new mess too. It is hard to fathom how a building that is still being furnished can just start cracking on the walls or beams. Is it the quality of raw materials, poor workmanship or plain old carelessness during construction? This could just be my fears speaking, but something might be really wrong here, and it is foolishness for everyone to sit and wait for something serious to occur before taking action.
Things happen in Kimathi which leave us wondering. For example, we already have lectures being conducted in the new RC, the one still under construction. The area is still fenced which, if I remember correctly, used to mean that the enclosed area is a construction zone, where only authorized persons should enter and they should wear protective gear at all times. Of course you are authorized if your timetable says your classes are supposed to be there. Whether or not you are safe is what I do not know. Having worked as a manual labourer in construction sites, I know how little things cause the most damage. I once saw a carelessly placed nail go through someone’s foot Jesus’ crucifixion style, trust me it was not a pretty site. Did the university really not foresee this increased demand for classroom space? I realize that Prof. Kioni is very much aware of this need. Last year, in The Standard newspaper, he told a journalist that the major priority for the university is the construction of classrooms and other academic infrastructure. Can you hurry it up, sir? The new mess is beautiful and spacious, and we are grateful for it. But it is a mess not a classroom block; it has become quite difficult to learn from there, one cannot even hear the lecturer five seats from the front. It is as if there is always noise around, and why not? After all, a mess is more of a recreational area than anything else.
Hopefully, the good professor also identifies internet connectivity as an integral part of academic infrastructure. You will agree with me that we need a larger bandwidth and, even more importantly, a more robust network. There’s no need of having fifty computers in a computer lab when only a handful have internet access. About 70% of the time, when a student is in need of a computer, he/she is also in need of internet. And what is that thing that happens with the Wi-Fi, whereby a yellow warning appears at the signal strength icon and suddenly you are only connected to the network but have no internet access? Argh! I hate these things simply because as a student, I am useless without Google. I don’t have a problem with going to the library and grabbing a good reference material from which I can finish up my assignment. But where are the reference materials? They have all been borrowed and you can never find one when you need it. But our dear beloved Google is always there for us all when needed, omniscient and omnipresent, provided you have internet.
This article was not meant to be exhaustive; there are so many things that need to be improved in our university. All I know is that as long as we keep up our current pace, I will finish my fifth year and leave some things as I found them. That bothers me for a number of reasons, the least of which is not that I genuinely love Kimathi, if only because it will remain to be my university and in about two years will be my Alma Mater. It will always be a part of me. One important lesson I learnt in high school is: You cannot improve anything that you hate. So the first thing for all of us to do is start loving this university, with all its imperfections. After that, let’s all work together to improve it. I am optimistic that all the issues at hand, accommodation, transport, sports and recreational facilities, etc can be solved. It’ll take time and effort, but it’s worth it. Fast forward twenty or thirty years into the future, do you want your teenage kid to know you studied in Kimathi then find it only a little better than it is now? I don’t think so. Therefore, play your part, and if you do not know exactly what your part is, you really need help. Go and ask a friend. Students who fail to both identify and play their part, give incompetent and/or ineffective staff the permission and freedom to continue being incompetent. And then the same students walk around blaming everybody, from the VC through the student congress to the grounds-sweeper, when things don’t go right. Personally, I have always known my part but have been too ‘busy’ (read afraid) to play it. So far I have, without intending, been a part of the problem, but not anymore; henceforth I’ll play my part.
These are the things I want to see improve in Kimathi, you can list yours in the comments section below.

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7 thoughts on “FOR OUR SAKE, LET’S WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING KIMATHI”

  1. It’s only fair to give up on some places… like Kimathi
    University. It is our university, I really like it and
    would still do something to help her cause if I can
    but as of now it is beyond help and I doubt it will
    ever be (I’m not interested btw, just noting that).
    Those who’ve interacted with me this
    semester and generally the academic year know
    why I say this. Well, at the end of the day I’m just
    a student who’ll pass by the “Kwaheri” gate and go
    away but it is such attitudes that reflect why the
    university does not have a strong alumni
    association, has hardly made baby steps despite
    being around for quite some time now.
    It’s sad, that all these brains that flow in here just
    realize the sad truth as soon as they step in and
    well, wanajipatia shughuli. Just like the 2,000+ that
    joined Kimathi this semester. I am not
    discouraging anyone ( is one of the best
    engineering universities you can go to today after all) but mind
    your business when you set foot to this land that
    has ageing owners. Love yourself (really important),
    make merry, study, make great friends (they’ll
    always have your back and they matter more than
    anything you’ve ever known) and the best thing of
    all: look forward to leaving this place; the
    academic calendar (if it exists anyway) will always
    try to slow you down but that day will come.

    1. Well, I cannot fault you for looking out for yourself. And I agree, things have been going the wrong way for so long that it seems there’s no hope of rectification. But keeping going in that wrong direction even after realizing is wrong is what will surely perish us. All I want is to put in the minimal amount of effort towards this noble cause, just so I can be able to look at myself in the mirror and know I did not fail myself by not standing up for what I believe is right.

      1. There is no contribution one will make here to alleviate Kimathi’s constraints without being seen as a critic. We all know what happens to critics even when their motives are vested upon seeing the best for what they are fighting for. That knowledge itself is not fuel to our fire.
        Having said that, you shouldn’t feel guilty that you didn’t play your part. Already, our lives have so much disorder we can’t risk diving into waters that hold the unknown. It’s pointless to do what will cripple your development. But, having the motive to bail this situation out has already chased the guilt away.

      2. You are right, having the motive does work to assuage the guilt. But what is even better is having a goal for which you are ready and willing to sacrifice something. Whether the sacrifice is as insignificant as a few minutes daily or as dear as your life only affects the level of satisfaction you get from pursuing that goal. I think it is Mark Twain who said: The two important days in your life is the day you are born and the day you find out why. Well, I am still trying to find out why I was born, but I do know it was not just so I can go through life not making a positive difference whenever I can.

  2. ooh thats it…we need development in this our university…am made to believe that some universities have hostels accordating around 4000 students..kimathi barely accomodate a1k i guess…forced to go n luk accomodation our there where
    -insecurity a major issue.
    -other places power n water
    -health standards..
    -internet access..
    -library access at night…
    In those unis where most students reside in skul..they depend on skul wifi…..which is available all through the hostel..while in our own we need to go camping around the students center..
    Also i gues we shud have at least two student centers or lyk four common grounds to watch tv.lyk i a futball fanatic..we got to argue almost each wkd or midwks during capital cup n ucl..someone might lose some teeth there…wow..thanks n av a nyc day.
    #proud kimathi…civilian

    1. Reuben, thanks for providing that angle of looking at these issues, and even going ahead to list the ones affecting you. You are playing your part, letting the university know things are not okay.
      Good day to you too, comrade.

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