By ABDULROSHEED Aishah
Water Scarcity has been a challenge embattling students residing in the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) halls of residence. This issue taught me a lesson that touched my heart in the Kwankwasiyya hostel.
If I wasn’t familiar with the complaints of fellow students in other hostels, I would have concluded that my hostel is the worst in terms of water supply. I would have thought Kwankwasiyya is the only hostel where the water in supply can barely satisfy a room, less of the whole hostel.
I resumed as a new student (Jambito) of UDUS, after a long and stressful journey from my hometown in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara state. I was tired and stressed-out when we touched down at the Seat of the Caliphate. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait for long at the park as my sister came to pick me up on time. From there, we headed to her hostel (Kwankwasiyya). Had I not followed her, I might not have this story to tell.
Getting to the hostel, I felt at home on her bunk bed, expecting her to get me water to freshen up before doing any other thing. Unfortunately, she stepped in, gently, like a Chelsea fan who has just watched their team suffer a humiliating defeat at the hands of a bottom-placed opponent, only to tell me that there was no water in the whole hostel. She explained that there was barely water to cook, let alone bathe. Her words irritated and surprised me to the extent that I mumbled that this is not what the universities I watch in movies look like.
The next day, there was still no water in our hostel—a situation that forced me go to the confirmation hall without having a bath. I also had to settle for bread and soft drinks as breakfast due to the lack of water. It was infuriating. That was when I started to realize why Danfodites called this milieu trenches.
Luckily, I was able to collect my confirmation letter that day, unlike many freshers that spent days, even weeks, in the process of collecting it. While I rested in the room, I noticed some students standing beside the tap, fetching water. I was very happy to see water in Kwankwasiyya for the first time. Although I joined the queue without delay, I was unable to fetch water that day because it had not gotten to my turn when the tap stopped running. For an hour, the tap produced no water and went to bed, again, without eating cooked food.
I narrated the scenario to my sister when she came back. However, I was shocked that she was not surprised. She said that was how they survived in Kwankwasiyya.
I would later find out that the norm in this hostel is that the respective rooms will queue with their buckets to fetch water. Once it’s the turn of any room, the occupants of the room will fetch to their satisfaction before any other room gets a drop. Even if they do not fill up their buckets by the time the taps stopped flowing, they continued the next day.
One fateful day, I queued with my bucket in the second line. Then I observed that an occupant of a particular room was fetching several buckets. I suggested that we take turns but they rejected my opinion. One sister replied to me in pidgin that ‘na kwankwasiyya we dey’. This is their common slang in the hostel. It means that it’s only in Kwankwasiyya they don’t rotate individually while fetching water.
Fetching water became a hard chore for every student like me, who cannot shout or engage in any form of violence.
I believe that students will be glad and grateful if the management can come to our aid and repair the damaged sources of water in the Kwankwasiyya hall of residence. The available reservoir water fails to serve its purpose because we cannot cook with it due to its dirtiness. If it can be covered and renovated, perhaps, we will be able to use it for every domestic chore—cooking, washing and others.
It will also be helpful if the hostel’s matron mediates and make amends to the modus-operandi of fetching water in the hall as the popular practice there can lead to enmity and the spread of hatred amongst students of the same hostel.