After trusting university students and even those in secondary school with their tuition to take to the bank, some students divert it to guilty pleasures. They go shopping for room furnishings to impress their schoolmates or waste it away in betting and buying alcohol.
Okech says, while at university, he would party week in, week out. His favourite days were Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Mondays he went to Hi-Table bar for goodlyfe night and Tuesdays to Steak Out.
A few weeks to semester exams he had not cleared Shs150,000 of his hostel fees balance and Shs 600,000 for tuition.
“I invited the boys to Steak Out in Wandegeya and Hi-table and we wound up at Fatboyz in Kisementi. We spent lumpsums on each outing,” Okech says.
It was good feasting away but reality struck when the countdown to end of semester was drawing nigh.
“After four days of boozing, I sat by myself in the room whose fees I hadn’t cleared and thought of what I was up to. Two weeks to exams, I moved around asking for contribution from my friends but it was fruitless.
I could not even raise Shs50,000 from my friends on my first attempt. And I could not call home because it was my fate. On second attempt, two friends raised hostel fees; one raised Shs100,000 and the other Shs50,000,” he adds.
At least he managed to recover his mattress and suitcase which the custodian had confiscated. Next was the tug-of-war to look for Shs600,000 to enable him sit exams.
“I cannot disclose how I raised the balance but I did. I dashed and picked up the bank slip, paid the fees and got an examination card, two days to the exams,” says Okech.
Mukibi, a student at Makerere University Business School says that of Shs1.48m, his tuition for the course, he had used Shs600,000 to buy for his girlfriend a second hand laptop hoping to tell lies to the relatives and replace the lost amount. “At the beginning of semester, I would often use the money meant for tuition to buy alcohol for my friends and spoil my girlfriend too.
My cunning ways
With about a month to the end of semester, Mukibi could not call his parents because they were giving him money in installments to pay his tuition.
“I went to my cousins, sisters, uncles and friends lying to them that I had run out of upkeep; and it is only my working sister that I was honest with. I told her what my problem was and she gave me Shs180,000 and got the balance from unused upkeep, our parents had given me,” Mukibi says.”
He adds, sometimes he would sleep hungry not because he wanted but because he saved every penny he got from friends to raise the money he spent as result of exams drawing nearer each day that passed by.
“That is how I survived but it was not easy. No one should fall in that trap,” he advises.