A hostel in Buea
By Sandrine Ndukong
Blessing Gooh, 22, a university student, has been renting at Untarred Malingo (Bond Street) in Buea for over two years.
Blessing’s generosity has seen her becoming a humanitarian in the fight against hunger in her hostel. She says most of her hostel mates depend on her for daily bread.
Each time she prepares food which can take her several days, she ends up “sharing with them who comes begging saying they have nothing in their rooms to eat”.
Blessing’s kind-heartedness is likely affecting negatively as she sometimes prepares food and shares all of it to her neighbours.
“Sometime I sleep without food because my neighbours have begged all the food I cooked,” she says.
Unfortunately for her, whenever she is hungry and the very people who used to troupe in when they sensed food in her pot will not return the favour.
“I don’t know how to beg,” she says, so she prefers to sleep without eating but her neighbours do.
Apart from hunger, Blessing says there is high level of stealing whereby a shoe can’t be dried outside without eyes on it.
“When you air your dresses or shoes in the dry line you make sure you seat to watch it because they disappear when you aren’t there.”
These acts from men and women from the underworld have become a source of quarrelling in the hostel.
“Stealing of shoes and dresses has caused a lot of quarrels and disorder in the hostel,” she adds.
She is a student and sometimes she needs to study but loud music emanating from other rooms can’t allow her.
She says they play music with loud speaker, making every place noisy. Even to sleep under such circumstances is still problematic.
“Whenever there are exams preparation and I complain to them, they will give a listening ear but do the same thing the next day.”
With all these challenges, she keeps clinging to the compound. That is because it has constant water, unlike other hostels where students go miles to get the liquid.
Meanwhile, for Wirba Princely, a 26-year-old student living at Chief Street, Molyko, life in his hostel is maturely-boring.
“I stay in a hostel for months without seeing my neighbours, not to talk of having a problem with them,” he says. “Everyone is on his or her own lane and this makes the hostel so boring.”
When everyone comes back from school, they go straight to their rooms and this has made him not to know his neighbours.
And there are times he has nothing to eat, and despite knowing that his neighbour has prepared food, he still can’t go there to beg since they don’t associate with each other. For the time he has stayed in the hostel, it is just once that he sat and discussed with his hostel mates and that was when their landlord called for a general meeting.
Unlike Blessing, who talks of “action against hunger, and Princely, who decries his mates’ maturity, Seglena Bipnida sees hostel life very interesting.
The student of the University of Buea lives at Dirty South, a locality in Buea. In Seglena’s hostel, a lot unites them than could separate them.
“In my hostel, every Monday, we clean the compound, go for sports, and contribute Money prepares something nice and share like a family,” she says.
Whenever they have misunderstandings in the hostel, they always gather and resolve them, ensuring each person explains his or her own side of the story. And at the close of each university semester, they organise a party and celebrate together.