CAMPUS DIARY

Even campus students need a good credit rating

Perpetual borrowing means one is bound to need help from a creditor

In Summary

• Students tend to always have an unpaid debt, so it is wise to treat lenders carefully

Students mill around the main entrance to the Technical University of Mombasa
Students mill around the main entrance to the Technical University of Mombasa
Image: STEVE MOKAYA

There’s a song that goes, “Lakini mke wako, anapenda kutangatanga. Hata majirani wakimwona, wanasema: ‘Fungeni milango anakuja!’” If my interpretation of these lyrics is correct, the woman always went to borrow from neighbours and they were tired of her constant visits.

Kevin, a campus student, is a perpetual borrower. Like the woman referred to in that song, every time you get a call from him, you can be sure he will ask you for money. At the local kibandaski, where students go for meals, he always has an unpaid debt. Nobody in his circle of friends really understands where he takes the money he asks for, but he claims to run a clothing business as a side-hustle.

Recently, he called one of his friends, asking for a soft loan. “I want to buy new stock for my shop and I have a shortfall of Sh500. I’ll repay you by Friday,” he said. The friend half-heartedly sent him the money, giving him the benefit of doubt. When Kevin hadn’t repaid the money by Friday, he did not bother explaining why. He only told his friend he would pay him a day later, when the friend made a follow-up.

As was expected, Kevin did not refund the money. He dodged subsequent calls.

As fate would have it, Kevin fell ill. Once again, he found himself in need of cash for his medical expenses. He went back to the friend he had been ignoring, who couldn’t hide how startled he was that a person who hadn’t repaid a debt was asking for more money. Eventually, he got the help he needed from someone else, but we hope that taught him a lesson: a good credit rating is invaluable.