MY NYSC CAMP STORY: OBUBRA CROSS RIVER STATE
If you're wondering where I've been for the past month then maybe you didn't read my last post or you don't follow me on Instagram @Princess Audu, what are you waiting for?
I was called for service with (National Youth Service Corps, NYSC . It is a compulsory one year training program for all Nigerian graduates. Why? It's a long story that has to do with the Biafra War. The first course starts with an orientation training camp and that’s where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks.
*Apologies for the picture quality, I could not risk my camera being stolen so I just managed my phone.
As mentioned I was posted to Cross River, which is a beautiful state no doubt. I heard a lot of amazing things about the place and was so excited but boy was I wrong. The orientation camp site is located in a remote village called Obubra. Obubra is a four hour drive from Calabar on bad roads, I'm talking pothole after pothole. Thankfully the trip was made tolerable by the accompaniment of a soldier who kept cracking jokes while also using his position to make the drive easier and quicker. The fact that I was traveling with other Corp members was consoling as well. The drive was long though, we were like children constantly asking the driver are we there yet? And of course our parents weren't helping, calling every other minute out of concern.
Since our flight was delayed by 3 hours (smh Arik Air) we arrived late at night. It had rained, the ground was muddy and everywhere was dark. On getting to the camp site we saw Corpers or Otondos as they called us, doing frog jumps with their bags on their heads. Our only saving grace was the fact that as I mentioned we were lucky enough to take the same car as a soldier. After we got our bags from the car, they were checked, we were registered and then proceeded for another checking. The night seemed endless. Seeing that the walk was too long, the road too dark for me to drag my heavy bag, I was forced to carry it on my head. I wore a more relaxed version of this look and I'm sad to say those pants will never be the same again (sigh).
It seemed like nothing was prepared for us. Once we got our bags organized we then proceeded to the hostel which was in such a sad state. At that point I had already made a couple acquaintances, I mean nothing like bonding over undesirable conditions right? We had to get our beds and mattresses, clean up the room, and do a little manual fumigation. After we sorted out our sleeping situation we were showered and ready for bed (it sounds easier than it actually was). We almost got in trouble for showering in the wrong place but that's a story for another day.
|Beautiful sunset, the best part of a village|
|check us out in our white uniforms|
The first couple of days were tough, being forced to attend mediation at 4:30 had us waking up at 3:00 am in order to beat the long queue at the bathroom. Except for Sunday Service (of course we had church) I had no time for makeup but shout out to my fellow Corpers who had the patience to beat their faces, I dey hail una. The toilet/ bathroom situation was questionable. Imagine this, there were people who didn’t do number two throughout. While there were others who employed the shotput technique. Also, whenever any beans food was served, no one would show up. Props to the kitchen staff though, it's not easy cooking for 2253 people.
Moving on, after mediation, we would head for drills and march pass (it's no wonder I lost weight, thank you NYSC). We then had breakfast which was usually tea and bread. The tea was more like water while the bread was hard enough to stone someone with. We queued for everything, it was exhausting! After breakfast we would then proceed for lectures in a crammed hot room. Lectures on what? Well don't ask me because I spent a lot of time sleeping in them. Though I guess you could say I learned a few things. After lectures, it would be lunch then siesta which never happened as there was always something else that kept us preoccupied. Parade ground for march pass was the next order of the day then it was dinner, social night and sleep. With the exception of Sundays we repeated this cycle every day of the week for 21 days. Sounds somewhat like a prison huh? The network was so bad, MTN was the only fairly stable connection. Hence making access to the net difficult. The camp grounds were also dusty, it's no wonder I am still recovering from a cold. Well as our Camp Commander said, "we should not expect five star standards, this is camp after all!"
|Queue for food|
|Camp Mami Market|
|Roomies rocking our oversize khaki trousers|
People always say camp is fun but I beg to differ. One of the only things I enjoyed was that sense of community from being around like-minded young people. I really missed that. I talked to everyone, especially while waiting in the never ending lines, as I said we queued for everything (registration O, food O, allowee O, even toilet sef). I left camp with a friend or two and a couple connections.
|In full uniform for Man O War|
|Man O War, an obstacle training course and yes I did this and more|
|Carnival day, talk about Creative youths|
|My 3 Platoon (team) we won the competition!|
|Under the sun or in the Rain|
I was mostly a spectator when it came to the activities as I'm an okay dancer, I don't sing very well nor do I know how to act. Hence I made myself a cheerleader and yay my Platoon won (3 platoon, target!). I participated in Parade though since I like marching. You know in my JSS (Junior Seconday School) days in Nigeria, I was the commander for my team. While others were trying to get out of the sun and the long hours of standing, I was trying to get in and I was successful. We were so on point, I wish I had a video to show you how beautiful the parade was. The sun was not smiling on us though, everyone turned shades darker but it was worth it, at least for me.
|In my crested vest, khaki trousers and boots|
I could write an entire book on Camp life as it really was an experience but maybe someday. I suffered O, I am too ajebutta for that life jor. Being able to serve as a NYSC Corp member is an honor, as many never had the chance. While I would never ever go back to camp, I'm thankful for the experience as I learnt from it and perhaps I'll do a post on that. I am also stocked about making friends and meeting new people. Finally, finally, I was posted to a Radio station in Calabar. Now I'm back home in Abuja recuperating from the experience and getting ready for the Service year.
How was your camp experience, if you have a post on it please share? Also to all my readers what are your thoughts on this? I'd love to know.
Corpers Wee, Waa (NYSC 2015 Batch B)