I have friends in all 4 or so public universities in the country, and I’ve asked them for comparisons, so I’m sure when I say this; the first year halls in tech were not made for regular-sized people.

Apparently, when the rooms were built in 1960 or whenever, they were meant to hold one student each. After a while, more people started schooling. Did the university say,”Oh, let’s build another set of rooms for these people who are paying money,”? No, no. They made them two-in-a-room. Then admissions increased even MORE. “Oh let’s push four of them in one room. They’ll fit.” Like sardines.

The first time I entered my room, I was with my dad, carrying all of my one suitcase at my back. I’d asked for another suitcase, and all I got was, “No, no. What do you need two suitcases for? Push the things inside, it will fit.” Adults eh. I climbed stairs upon stairs that would not end.

 I wasn’t expecting the room to be anything special, because the hall did not look like much on the outside, and I was told the room cost 600 cedis. I have a sister in Legon paying 2,700 for some azonto room, so I’d really lowered my expectations as I entered for the first time. I did not think I could be disappointed.

I was wrong.

The room was the size of the trotro we had sat in to come here. And I counted two bunk beds. Two. So four people. Four people in this space? I didn’t know if the previous occupants had scraped off the paint and taken it with them, but the place looked only half painted. And I thought I saw a rat. An actual live rat merrily running in the room.

 Was this…was this prison? Had my father brought me here for some crime I’d committed?

Even my father was confused. My father is forever saying, “As a boy, you are going to be a man. You must learn to endure hardship!” But he saw the place and I could tell he was shaken deep in his soul. He muttered something like, “Ei but tech,” under his breath so I wouldn’t hear. I heard it anyway. Yes, Father. You’re leaving me in this cell for a year. Have you seen? Let me go to Legon, you said no.

Honestly, I’d resigned myself to my fate; I was desensitized. I’d already entered the communal washroom for the floor on the way to the room. The way that place looked eh, it had made me fearful. Someone had done creative art with feaces on the toilet door, and the bathroom floor looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a month. This wasn’t even possible because school had re-opened that week. After seeing the washroom, it couldn’t have gotten any worse, so I was prepared.

Also, I can’t say this was the worst washroom I’d ever seen. I’d been in a boys’ boarding school for 3 years, so I’ve seen some horrifying things. (I could only imagine the horror for those rich children who came from white schools like GIS and TIS.)

It still irritated me, though, thinking about it. This was supposed to be the university, where I enjoyed a wonderful social life and found many girls and gymmed and got body. Things were not starting on a good note. And the funny thing was, my friends in the upper levels told me that my hall, Republic hall, was a pretty good choice. So there were places worse than this? Yesu.

My father was suddenly in a hurry to leave. I could tell he felt very bad about the place, so I used the guilt to tap into some extra 100 cedis bi, because the way things were looking, I was going to need money. Plus I was on the 5th floor.

 I should mention here that I am terrified of heights. Not a little afraid, terrified. You know those pictures you see on Facebook where they write things like “Would you walk across this loose plank 100ft in the air to save your girlfriend?” You’ll see boys commenting “Oh yes! I’ll do it for you!” as they tag their girlfriends.

When I see those pictures, I laugh. I should walk on a piece of wood in the air to come and save you?

 Haha. Please you will die.

So here I was just thinking how much weight I would lose going up and down everyday. I already weighed just above 50kg. I couldn’t enter the 40s again.

I could see that one of the beds was laid, so someone was already in. Maybe he had seen the place and fled; I couldn’t blame him. I sat down on the mattress (some parts had been chewed. By what???) and waited for my roommates. After what I’d experienced with the room, I didn’t want to have expectations about them.