Each morning, Rose walks to university hall of residence. Her mission; to tell those who care that her journey to university had been a rough one.
Rose, 20, lost her father nine years ago, when rebels of the Lord Resistance Movement (LRA) invaded their home town in Gulu. In the carnage that followed, hundreds of civilians were killed, among them her father.
Since then, her mother has had the sole responsibility of bringing up the children, as well as looking after other members of the family.
At Makerere this week tests resumed after a long weekend. I too had exams.
I incured a lot of expenses while photocopying my notes but have no option. Busy photocopying, I heard the same Rose, who is also in her first year, cracking a joke that she simply came to campus to pass.
But instead of going to the library to read and increase her chances of passing with good grades, she loiters and gossips with her friends.
Rose explains that reading hard and passing are two different things altogether.
“My mission here is to pass first and later in life to try and understand things. My lecturer has promised to help me and sail through the exams,” Rose says excitedly.
“Who will help and give you free marks if you don’t work hard?” I asked her one day. We have since become enemies for my daring to ask what she termed foolish question.
During exams this week, I saw Rose stuck. I thought of the lecturer who had promised to help her sail through. But how?
On her answer sheet, Rose has not written much. How with unanswered questions can one pass exams? The answer hardly bares thinking about.
The things we’ll do in pursuit of ‘academic excellence’.