It’s been a rough few days and I couldn’t write anything since the last post, I’m better now and like I promised, I will be sharing updates on my life and one of them is finally going for National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
I finished my first degree in the summer of 2011 and then began the long game of Tag with NYSC and like Jerry from the movie (played by Jeremy Renner) I was never tagged. My dad wanted me to come back to Nigeria for NYSC but I had just started a new job and earning beautiful British pounds so of course I wasn’t thinking about coming to Nigeria to serve, especially after all the horror stories I heard about camp.
Fast forward to 2017, I had been back home for a few months and this came up again, after convincing myself it was a necessary criteria for the future in case I get the urge to run for office, also getting a job with good pay without NYSC certificate is like asking Thanos not to snap his fingers. So, I finally agreed to go for the next batch to the delight of my father (RIP Slay Daddy).
After a few problematic days, I was all registered, I was the ideal candidate, I just wanted to be posted anywhere and get the full Nigerian experience until tragedy struck, my dad died on the 22nd of December and my plans changed. I couldn’t leave my mum alone, so after a few abracadabras, I was posted to Ondo state, this was to enable me be around my mum throughout this period (which ended up not as we planned but it was okay in the end). My cousin had just finished NYSC so she had useful tips on what to pack and expect, she was a bit extra but her advice was really helpful.
Pro tip: Camp is 3 weeks that will feel like ages but still faster than you can imagine when you get into the groove of things, do not over pack before you become a target of career thieves. If you’re the beverages and snacks person (garri, plantain chips, Milo, milk etc.) please pack enough. Don’t also forget disinfectant, this is ESSENTIAL!! Oh you also need money, A LOT OF MONEY!! Pack about 3 plain clothes as well, because every Sunday, up until evening parade is mufti day.
December 16th was camp resumption, your girl, armed with all the sage advice, food and money, set out for Iseyin, Oyo state for her 3 weeks orientation programme popularly referred to as camp. Chai I suffered this day ehn, I got to Iseyin a few minutes before 11pm and that was not even the bad thing, the bad thing was that as I handed my documents to the police officer at the gate, he said “ah you’re not supposed to be here o”. I was like “what is doing this one?” Actually, he was right, it turned out that camp details were changed the day before but never got updated on my portal, a few people also got text messages but your beloved wasn’t counted worthy.
So we (the few of us who got there late) were told that a number of people had showed up that day and as it was still early, left for the Ede camp, I was upset because I had passed through Osun State to get to Oyo state. We got processed to spend the night there and my year-long journey of servicing my fatherland sort of commenced.
Sidebar: The Iseyin Camp was a delight, clean showers with proper fixtures and running water, I can see you wondering how this is a delight but trust me it is! Ede camp was great once I found a hidden bathroom block people rarely used.
The next day we (about 15 people) started our journey to Ede, Osun State, we got there and restarted our NYSC journey, this time in the right place. I was told to go get my hostel allocation to enable me drop my suitcase and for easy registration process. I did that and carried my mattress on my head as I dragged my life support with me (yes the contents of that suitcase saved me). I found my bunk, dropped off the suitcase and headed to the registration grounds.
I think the process was easy for me as a foreign student, I had to make a few photocopies because the usual Nigerian factor set in, the person who attended to me was kind enough to explain that they were supposed to have the document but had run out, so I offered to make copies to quicken the process. I was finally registered, informed that I was in Platoon 6 and I set out to collect the NYSC kit. This one angers me anytime I think about it and I’ll tell you why. During the registration process for NYSC, there was a page dedicated to inputting your measurements for the uniform as well as shoe size, so imagine my shock when I didn’t see a prepackaged kit with my name on it!! I know you’re laughing at me but that’s exactly what I thought. So here I was wondering how I was going to lift my oversize boots with insides that felt like walking on gravel or how I would perform the miracle of making this obvious undersized khaki fit my round buttocks. See, whoever is in charge of the NYSC kit should be flogged with pepper infused pankere because that thing is just ridiculous and I heard it’s made in Nigeria, sigh let me just peem.
Camp was an interesting experience, I was platoon 6 kitchen director, we peeled Yams until we had calluses and our backs ached, picked a bag of beans and plucked Ewedu but the camaraderie cannot be traded for anything. I made wonderful friends doing this duty, from fellow Corps Members to kitchen staff.
I joined in the marching from the first day, it was intense but I loved it, everyone was surprised that I could march that good, my police father blood shined through, OMO OLOPA!! However, on the day of the competition, I voluntarily dropped out as our numbers had gone up because of korofos who wanted to match by fire by force, we ended up being 6th or 7th.
I was head cheerleader for our volleyball team, I shouted until I was hoarse and yes we won the competition. I attended almost all the training sessions and was in charge of ensuring that the morale was never down, I even recruited people to join my cheering squad.
I registered for the leather-works when the SAED (Skills Acquisition & Entrepreneurship Department) started. I made a velvet clutch and Ankara themed fascinator. It was really fulfilling creating it from scratch.
I was also room leader and our block won the neatest and best block on the 1st week. I was the countdown queen; I knew exactly how many days and hours we had left in camp. I fell ill a few times, my BP was 160/100 at one point and I had to be put on bed rest. The doctors at the clinic knew me, I met an amazing doctor I wished I chyked Dr Wash, holla at me boo!
Side bar: I was informed before I got here that NYSC tries to give as much care as they can for little illnesses but if it is major, fam! you’re going home as nobody wants to be liable for anything. So this informed my approach to early morning jogging and exercises, I walked and did the exercises at my own pace before it would become a case of “I thy know”. So please don’t go and form Jackie Chan at camp because OYO!!
Let me give you people small gist about the demonic tailor I had the misfortune of giving my khaki to fix, this woman collected 4K from me that she was going to buy material to make the trousers fit and ended up using scraps, I was livid, I was that Corps Member who was waiting for tailor at Mami market on Jungle day, I had to pay another person 2k to fix the mess she did.
Pro tip: if you are on the plus size side, please manage your khaki as much as you can in camp and then sew a new one once it’s done. The money I spent fixing mine would’ve sewn two trousers. Don’t be like me, Ji ma sun!!
Jungle day came and because I had fully imbibed the “I cannot come and go and kill myself” I declined when the Man o war Commander asked me to go under that tyre and barbed wire underground thing, she was taken aback and asked me to leave if I wasn’t going to participate. I gladly walked until one of her aides said to hang around and walk with them to the Jungle. We sang and jogged (I walked) to the Jungle and the Nigerian movie started. I climbed 2 of the obstacles, fell over on one of them and decided to people watch instead. Some people who had no business climbing anything decided to be baddo and let’s just say I saw a few of male underwear that day hehehehe. There were shouts and a few scrapes but it was an enjoyable day. Took loads of photos and created beautiful memories.
Carnival/Bonfire was great as well, as the girl who loves sleep more than anything, I was in my bed during bon fire but we heard the usal bonfire night gists, people having sex in the gutter and all kinds of debauchery you can imagine. I enjoyed the Carnival or rather the last bit of it as I was stuck in the kitchen that day, it was an amazing day because no white and white that day!
Camp ended and I was posted to Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko. My time at the university was eye-opening, I got to see how the Nigerian university system worked and I will talk about it sometime here. I made wonderful friends in Camp and I still try to keep in touch with them, I had a clique of amazing girls, Zainab, Legbal, Austina and Joy, it was great hanging out with them and they made the time there bearable, love you girls. Ari my camp husband, he’s an amazing man who shames me with his keeping in touch skills. Shout out to my Platoon 6 peeps, Kitchen mama dey hail una!!!
That’s it people, the next post will be about what I learnt living alone in a small village (yes Akungba is a village you people should come and fight me).
I know this is not your typical end of the year post but guess what, I’m Quirkytims so we definitely not regular, bangdadadang!! If you’re feeling bad about this year and its failures, please click here and be encouraged.
May 2019 be good to you and yours, I know 2019 is just another year but unlike other years, you will discover your passion and it will bring satisfaction, fulfillment as well increase your account balance. Don’t forget to smile as you end this year, it makes your face light up and we know what a lit face does, it lights up another!
HAPPY NEW YEAR IN ADVANCE!!