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THE SAD DOUBLE LIFE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS THAT PARENTS HAVE NEVER KNOWN ABOUT.


“We got to the check-in counter, and she suddenly burst in causing a scene. She demanded to know who I was and what I was doing with her husband,” she said.The man claimed he had no idea who the woman was, and in a bid to cut costs, he had just shared the taxi with her and split the fare.

“He proceeded to invite the wife for the alleged conference. I was left at the check-in desk. I turned around, took a taxi and headed home,” she said.If she makes so much money, why doesn’t she indulge herself? Maybe move to a better neighbourhood, buy a car or expensive clothes?

“Timing and planning. Right now the only source of income comes from my parents — or so they think. What I am doing now is primitive wealth accumulation. After my studies, and moving out of home, I will let loose,” she said. Till then, she said, she will keep doing what she does.“The only way they will find out about my other life is if I die, and they get contacted as the next of kin. But I won’t be around for the backlash,” she said.

But Lilian, a student at a private university on Thika Road, says poverty has driven her to do what she does. She said she was so poor she could
not afford cocaine. It wasn’t a great tragedy, though, because she could still smoke her friends’ bhang and get drunk on a “mzinga” – a 500ml bottle of an alcoholic spirit.
For a whole semester she wore someone else’s clothes so as to look nice and, on a couple of not-to-be-forgotten occasions, their bras and panties.

When a chance to attend a big shot’s party in a house in Nairobi’s Riverside Drive came up, Lilian could not let it pass.Today she is a regular at the place where she strip-dances and offers massage and sex.“In an ideal world, I wouldn’t be doing this. but it makes me pay my bills and live a good life,” Lilian told the Sunday Nation.

“Once I asked for supper and breakfast as payment. The man bought me chips and chicken. My friends keep on telling me that it’s a choice. What they don’t understand is that this is an obligation.”

Imelda says hers isn’t a phase in her life; it’s a lifestyle.“This is a lifestyle I have chosen for myself. I will sustain it for as long as I can,” she said.

Isn’t the soon-to-be lawyer afraid that maybe her other life might catch up with her? The dangers? Diseases? Her moral standing?“Over the years I have learnt a thing or two about taking care of myself,” she said. “When the time comes for me to move on to something else, I will. Bu, for now, I’m in it.”

“Don’t worry about us,” she added. “We are adults. We can take care of ourselves. There is another group mothers should be worried about.”The 5-ft7-in curvy girl with nearly flawless skin and short, curly hair casually hints at a possible successor. She has grown quite close to a girl she has known for nearly a year now.

Every three months, she comes over, and for two weeks, the duo has a time-share agreement on the single room. “She is a very clever girl. In April, she came over, and I was shocked to discover she, too, had her list of well-paying clients,” Imelda said.But there is a problem. The girl is a 15-year-old high school pupil.

At the close of every term, she tells her parents her grades are worse, and she needs holiday tuition. Gladly, the parents, who are large-scale farmers in the North Rift, send her the enrolment fees and pay for her hostel accommodation. As it turns out, there are no classes. The two weeks are spent “reconnecting” with clients. That’s the group Imelda wants parents to worry about.

Fr Dominic Wamugunda, the dean of students at the University of Nairobi where he also teaches sociology, says dealing with students leading a double life on campus is a major challenge.“It’s not a question of poverty because there are students who proceed within their limited means and succeed. There are many former students who are straightforward in the way they do things and have lived moral lives.”

He said a few other students are in it because society has openings for these kinds of activities. The social media, he noted, have opened young people to all kinds of behaviour patterns.“All of us must think together – my view is that we are all responsible. Students are in the experimentation stage.”

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