You know I studied from ‘outside countries’, right? (By outside countries I mean Uganda, I just want to make it seem cool.) My command of the English language is not pathetic at all and when I decide to forge an accent, trust me, an English man is no match. It is this very attitude that led to my downfall.
At the start of varsity, I realised I was the best English speaker in the class and apparently the coolest guy too. So I made the most of this. Everyone would look at me like I was from some special place, so I had to act like it (I don’t like disappointing people.)
Let it be known that still on the path of coolness, I told people I don’t understand Kinyarwanda and I only speak English because apparently I was born in the “USA.” Even a student with no pen who saw me with two pens in an exam would rather die than ask for one. Apparently he would need two days to construct the sentence “could I borrow your other pen”.
Soon I became the measure of coolness in my class and first year as well. But you see, coolness and books do not often agree – the time came when I had to do a CAT (Continuous Assessment Test). It was Engineering Math. Yes, that super hard one.
Spending buckets of time being cool and texting in class, I hardly ever heard anything the lecturer said. A few weeks later, the results came out and OMG!! I was one of, if not the worst performers. To be sincere I don’t recall seeing any paper with marks below mine.
My parents hearing of this wasn’t an option as they would skin me alive. So I thought real hard and finally decided to go see the lecturer. I planned on telling him I was sick that day and was therefore incapable of performing well and needed another test.
I quickly rushed to his office to address my plea. After two knocks, he let me in. I started the accent thing, making the poor man ‘pardon’ my every word. Desperate times will make you do anything - I put my stupidity behind and begged in a language we both understood –Kinyarwanda!
I begged using words even I didn’t know I knew. I think I even used Kinyarwanda proverbs in the mix. But utter misery was when I realised that half the class was outside the door, stunned by the American boy who spoke Kinyarwanda better than them. Laugh out loud is what they did.