For Garissa University College

I imagine that some of the students killed and injured at Garissa University College hated school. They attended school because their parents wanted it, because they had no other plans, because their friends were there. I imagine that some of them loved exams. They loved the thrill of pitting their minds against tricksy questions. I imagine some were falling in love, others falling in lust, and that both met on fields of vulnerable hearts and hungry bodies. I imagine that some had learned to stay up all night, talking, studying, dreaming, worrying, praying.

I imagine some students never completed their homework. I imagine others had learned the best way to copy from their friends. I imagine others worked collaboratively: they imagined together, thought together, studied together, solved problems together, and got confused together.

I imagine many students imagined their futures. Some with dread, as they were their families’ “hopes.” Some with the hope that they would be able to travel, to move elsewhere in Africa or to the Middle East or to China or to anywhere but Kenya. Some imagined that Kenya’s new county structure would enable them to become public servants. Some imagined that the county structure would give them easy access to power.

I imagine some, perhaps many, were struggling to imagine futures.

I imagine some were struggling with depression. They didn’t know why but they couldn’t get out of bed. They had lost focus. They felt sad or angry or irritated. They felt suicidal. They had not yet found language to describe their symptoms.

I imagine some read GUC’s General Information with a mocking smile.

What to do in case of arrest. The University authorities shall not protect or cause any immunity from arrest and prosecution if a student breaks the law within or outside the University. Individual students(s) arrested will be responsible for their own defense, payment of fines, bails etc. However in case of arrest, students should notify the office of the Security Officer.

Fire Breakout

The University shall organize drills to make students be aware on what to do in case of fire. The following should however be noted in case of fire breakout:

  • Sound an alarm and shout Fire! Fire!
  • Evacuate the building quickly but calmly through the nearest exit. Do not stop for personal belongings.
  • Close the door behind you and move to a safe and open ground.
  • Shout fire! Fire! If other occupants of the building have not noticed the fire. Blare the siren if it is near.
  • If you have any burns, move to the dispensary for assistance.
  • Do not go back to the building until it has been declared safe.

I imagine that, like many typical college students, some felt invulnerable. I imagine others felt vulnerable. I imagine some were scared. I imagine others bluffed courage. I imagine some had found their niche. I imagine many others were still searching.

I imagine life-long friendships had been formed, or were being formed.

And while some might have imagined what they would do should the school be attacked, I imagine they thought the prospect was remote.

I do not know any of the students who have died—at least 70. Nor do I know any of the injured or still missing. I spent 15 years in university settings, as a student and teacher.

I join those mourning the dead.

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