How I bungled my Arizona University degree!


Before taking Msamaria Mwema at the market center, I passed by Hitler’s to lighten my head for the long journey ahead.

Photo credit: John Nyaga | Nation Media Group

Last Sunday, I was going about my day, thinking about what time I would return at Hitler’s, when I was jolted by an SMS that said that those who would attend Jamhuri Day Celebrations the next day stood a chance to get a free university degree from Arizona.

 I considered this fake news, but when I saw the same post in two WhatsApp groups, I decided to call my brother Pius.

“It is true,” he said. “The government is going digital and is not leaving anyone behind.” 

 I told him I was considering travelling to Nairobi to attend. He added that he was also considering attending the celebrations. I asked him why, since he already has a degree. “Do you want to compare Arizona University and Maseno University where I went?” he asked me.

He was right: you needed a passport, visa and flight to Arizona while Maseno was a walking distance from Mwisho wa Lami! “The degrees on offers are in IT courses like AI, Machine Learning, Coding…,” he added

“That is great!” I said, and wondered why Artificial Insemination was considered an IT instead of an agricultural course. He laughed. “AI here means Artificial Intelligence, not Artificial Insemination!” 

I made a decision to travel to Nairobi immediately for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Some enemies of development may say that it was not worth it. I will remind them that I have travelled to KU countless times and spent a lot of money on fees but 13 years later, there is nothing to show for it.

I did not have any money but remembered the Hustler fund. They instantly gave me Sh3,000 to invest in my education, I dressed and left.

Before taking Msamaria Mwema at the market center, I passed by Hitler’s to lighten my head for the long journey ahead.

I must have gone to sleep as soon as the bus left Mwisho wa Lami, for next time I woke up, we were in Nakuru. Before we left Nakuru, I told the conductor that I needed to alight at Kangemi stage. He wondered why.

“It will be late at night and Kangemi may be dangerous,” he warned. “Do you have someone there?”. I told him that I had someone there. I did not tell him that the person was Xtash!

Past Naivasha, I started moving towards the door, and would remind the conductor every 10 minutes that I would alight at Kangemi. “Mzee Kangemi bado tuko mbali, tulia tutakushukisha,” he said. I hated what he said, especially him calling me old.

He kept his word. I had called Kangemi, I found a boda boda guy waiting for me, and he took me to Xtash’s place. Xtash was quite excited to see me. After charging my phone and buying some bundles I was surprised to find myself added to a WhatsApp Group called Arizona University 2022 Class.

Lots of messages were being sent to the group. One person said that we would be allowed to choose the degree we wanted; he shared all courses offered by Arizona University. I settled on a bachelor of science in Artificial Intelligence, Digital Transformation and Advanced Technical Coding.

Needless to say, we slept much later than the 2 am that I arrived at. When I woke up, the Arizona University WhatsApp group was buzzing with lots of activity.

A former student wrote that Arizona University was a renowned institution and unlike Kenyan universities that deliberately frustrated students, Arizona helped the learners to graduate as fast as possible.

“In fact, you can finish the short online courses and graduate today,” someone else posted. The whole idea of graduating excited me, and three people said they would appear at Nyayo Stadium in graduation gowns.

“Where can I get an Arizona University Graduation Gown for hire?” I type in the group. Several people answered me, I called one and he asked me to pick the gown along Luthuli Street, Nairobi City. I took another loan of Sh5,000 and left for town.

Being a holiday, Nairobi town was not very busy. We had agreed to meet in a certain green building along Luthuli Street. As I walked, I noticed many ladies around the street, most of them attractively dressed. There were more ladies as I climbed up the stairs to where we were to meet.

Those who know me know that I am a sharp guy. In fact, that morning I had read that the government would introduce coding as a mandatory subject. I was sure I would be picked as a teacher, given my ability to not only code messages but also decode them!

That moment I put this to use my coding skills and was able to decode the messages one of the ladies was sending me. I also sent her a coded message. With the gown person delaying by half an hour, I decided to engage the lady with whom we had exchanged several winks.

Without speaking, but using my coding and decoding skills, I followed her to the second floor. She opened a room and invited me. The room had one simple bed. We haggled sometimes about money.

Good people, that is the last thing I remember. I completely have no idea what happened next. Except that someone woke me up later on. I had difficulty seeing, and then difficulty knowing where I was. This was not all, I had little to nothing. My modern, stylish, expensive Green Kaunda suit was gone, my shoes, wallet, phone, bag, everything, gone.

I only had my worn-out underwear and torn vest. Whoever woke me up was literally chasing me. A good Samaritan gave me a lesso, and allowed me to borrow his phone, which I used to call Pius, who came to my rescue.

And that, friends and enemies, is how I lost out on graduating from Arizona University. To all who graduated from Arizona University, Nyayo Stadium Campus last Monday, congratulations!