The hostel movement exercise in College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL), which officially took place on 24th February, isn’t as easy as the term implies. It is one big day in the college because everybody is excited about their new room that all they want is for the room to be fit for their one year stay at any cost possible. It isn’t a simple task but it comes with enthusiasm accompanied by stress, apart from moving to your new room and having new roommates, you pay the price; this price depends on the quality of comfort you desire and can afford from the basics to the specifics. It’s not our fault that our counterparts in the main campus, Akoka don’t pay as much as we do, yet they get the basic amenities in their hostels, in our own case, the only legit thing we meet is — the room and maybe a door (usually without a lock).
You get to your new room and you have nothing to yourself except the space, door and mattress which is seriously bed bug infested and of low quality, we still have to pay the price to get the mattresses fumigated and fit for use. For some of us who have back pain, we also have to buy mattresses that won’t cause more injury to the back, these are the additional costs involved and yeah this is the comfort I am talking about.
I wonder what the hostel electricians do concerning basic electrical needs because on getting to the room, chances of meeting a working fan or sockets is very slim and when these things are unavailable, you have to get a new fan, pay to fix it in the room, pay for sockets as well as wires needed for the electrical work(s). We expect that even if we have to buy these things by ourselves, the hostel should pay for the workmanship.
No form of table or chair is met in the room (though some people luckily get chairs), no rack of any sort, no door lock and of course no door net. You may say door net is luxury and I agree because it may not be basic, we can decide to have mosquito nets, as it is, we buy every damn thing. The lockers are usually bad, the previous owners take away the rods and locks, which most times they probably fixed, and yes if you need your locker in good condition, you pay the price. The doors are in or close to shambles; we buy the desired locks and also pay to fix them.
I have never fixed anything for free in the hostel except for fluorescent which is one other thing the school gives, but thinking about the procedure to get it fixed will only make you buy from the market and pay the electrician to fix it, that’s the only fast way.
Apart from the electrical and carpentry works, bunks are usually unavailable, this is another major concern, BUNKS!!! In a school hostel, when a room has no bunks, the room is far from being arranged. A large number of the bunks are infested, after paying in one way or the other to get bunks done, we fumigate and flame the bunks to make them free from bedbugs to an extent. We do these things and some of us go down with Allergic Rhinitis (common cold caused by inhalation of substances that are toxic to the airway) and airway congestion.
General fumigation is usually done yearly, we are still expecting the date for the exercise in CMUL, while gathering this report, students expressed their feelings concerning this and many of them still wonder how big the bed bugs infestation will be this year because this has always been a big challenge in CMUL. Times when the fumigation was done, we still had everywhere as their breeding sites, classes, reading rooms and common rooms inclusive. “I don’t know how feasible the fumigation is this year” a student said, “I wonder if fumigation exercise is in the school’s plan” said another.
Furthermore, the stress involved isn’t a little one at all, we get all things done, we figure out how to solve problems encountered, people that cannot afford the extras are left with no choice than to borrow, or to stay in a room that isn’t so habitable for a student. Electrical works, carpentry, painting, fumigation, filling holes on the walls, getting bunks, fumigating and flaming and so on, all in one day. It is in every aspect draining and demanding, especially physically, mentally and financially.
These are basic things that I believe should come with a normal hostel bed space; bunk, mattress, lock, door, good walls and so on. This issue as a whole has been the order of the day for years now, I am in my 5th year in school which is 4th year in the college and it has never been better. We really do hope that someday, these things change in CMUL, we are very much hopeful and do believe that these things can be gotten and things will be better.