I have always been a victim of technology and I wonder why. Before I joined college I was restless as a chicken about to lay an egg, and the venue to do so being unavailable. I visited almost all colleges within 100 square miles of my neighbourhood. You probably think I failed because a good thing sells itself, or so they say in Swahili (Chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza). But I did not fail. It’s just a matter of which family tree you sprout from. Every college I went to was asking for so many shillings that I was always dazed when I left the campus. You also think that I was a yokel, couldn’t just use the Internet to visit their websites. Actually, we might say so. I was really a yokel, but I also love travelling and I wanted to make sure that the environment of my would-be college was pleasant.

During one of these college tours, I visited a certain college which had a campus and offices in the capital. It was situated on the 17th floor, if my memory serves me right. I had always not been a great fan of lifts, or elevators, since I watched a movie called “Speed”, and actually I had never used a lift except once and that was almost a decade before when I held on to my father’s jacket as the lift seemed to sink and rise no matter whether it was going up or down. I was so afraid of the lift getting stuck or its brakes failing and therefore dropping you at a speed I could not imagine. So I was in a building called Viewpark Towers, except there was no view and no park. All you could see was a congested city from the top, untidy and smoked out – here meaning with a lot of air pollution. After leaving my ID at the reception, I took for the stairs and the receptionist called me back to say that I could use the lift since I had told him my destination was the seventeenth floor. I shook my head casually as if I knew all about lifts and stairs and everything about skyscrapers.

So I started doing the stairs and meeting lazy folks on every floor waiting for that moving house. They would watch me with a keen interest as if they were the most civilised beings on earth, or as if they were waiting for THEIR invention called the lift. This was especially so when I had done more than five floors and sweat started trickling down my face, and being a young male, hankies were a feminine thing. Up and up I went. I met no one on the stairs and this just tells you how Africans are: you invent something for them and they act like they invented it. Climbing stairs is a very good form of exercise, which they actually don’t know. Even that fellow who was just going a floor above or below would just wait for the lift.

When I finally reached the seventeenth floor I was soaked in sweat. I asked around and I was directed to one of their offices. The moment I reached there I decided that this was not my type of college. I heard the officials whisper among themselves that I was naive. It was all because I had failed to use the lift. I felt no one was more naive than these fellows who may be felt that naive was such a vocabulary that I couldn’t figure it out. I decided to go to a neighbouring country to college and it was a fine experience; plus it was so cheap for a person from my background.

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