MY NYSC CAMP STORY: OBUBRA CROSS RIVER STATE

by - 7:52:00 am

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.

Corper Shaun!
Calabar Airport

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)

Looking for camp survival tips, then this post should be helpful.

Till next time 

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33 comments

  1. Camp was a shitty experience for me. I refuse to relive it!
    I wonder why people say camp is fun. #liespeopletell

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  2. What an adventure,you tried o
    http://queenngrace.blogspot.my/

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  3. Congrats on your posting! The uniform looks kinda cool. Haha :)

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  4. Thank God NYSC is years behind me!!! I think writing the Aje-Butter's Guide to NYSC was a stress-reliever during the year of service. At least you survived in one piece eh? I got out of camp and a few days later, thought I was dying - it was malaria.

    Berry Dakara Blog

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  5. @justporsh I wonder too o
    @grace you can say that again
    @unashamed beauty lol thanks
    @berry that's my testimony. I thank God that I left with only a cold.

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  6. Ar least you did it!!!! This is me next year lol

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  7. Can't wait to see your posts on your stay in Calabar.

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  8. I was locked up in the guard room because I refused to frog jump or roll in the dirt. After we were accused of not greeting the wicked soldier that usually sounded the beagle. Haha camp tho!

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  9. damn sounds like boarding school ...exactly

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  10. Lol!!Quite the story.I've only watched this in the numerous Nigerian movies that air around here.It's nice to have you back though
    sophieatieno.blogspot.com

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  11. hahahahhah......... aww you need a virtual hug, pele.. you can join the armed force with such an experience.. camp was fun except for the toilet part...looking forward to more stories and the bae issue.. wink wink, why do i think we haven't heard all the gist yet?

    gafashion.blogspot.com

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  12. I wish I also got a chance to do this service but it never existed in Kenya! I love the outfits so much. must be so much fun I guess. Wish you a lovely time during your service Sara
    Enjoy your Weekend
    x

    Http://www.fashiongalorelovers.com

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  13. @Chinaza that's way harsh, they were not that strict with us though
    @Ann never went to boarding school but from the stories I've heard, yup camp is pretty much like it
    @Sophie I didn't know we had movies on that
    @Grace lol but you know there is always more to the story
    @Wenloditoh trust me you don't girl, if I could I would skip the camp

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  14. These comments had me reeling at the thought of camp. The very reason I said hell no!
    Calabria looks pretty fun though

    BLEURGH - www.bleurghnow.com

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  15. Thank God your out in one piece......you will enjoy your service year.i'm sure
    GEt plenty rest dear:)
    The Beautiful Eagle

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  16. wow that sounds really great, the whole experience. i've wanted to do this before but never really got a chance.

    xo, Carla
    www.carlaviolet.com

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  17. Lool I can only imagine. My brother just finished nysc and well he lost weight and they stole his money(boarding house behaviour) I don't know if I should look forward to that or not..we are too boti for all deez
    Toyinwithfashion.com

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  18. @TheBeautifulEagle, Lol I hope so.
    @Tolu Sadly I'm slowly gaining back the weight. As for your brother losing money, that sucks. Well girl everyone's camp experience depends on the people in your batch and the camp you go to. Lol tell the jor, we are too boti indeed.

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  19. Love the recap, makes me miss camp.
    I'm glad you were posted to a coolish place for your ppa
    The king in your platoon goes to my church btw
    Hopefully I'll pay you a visit in Calabar before the service year ends.
    Mide Coker was posted there too.

    www.tukesquest.com

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  20. @Tuke wow what a small world this is. It would be cool to meetup in calabar

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  21. LOL
    Thank you for this recap.
    I was in Obubra in 2013 Batch C and it was the worst.
    Like you, the only thing I really enjoyed was the company of fellow corps members.
    I wasn't expecting 5-star treatment but we cannot go on (As a country) accepting the horrible conditions in most camps.
    Oh well. I made it, you made it.
    I hope you have a great year in Calabar :)

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  22. I a a lot too late at this post o. But if anybody ever reads this before going to camp, join red cross or something that exempt you from all those activities. I say the same thing too, my ajebutter is too much for that kind of stress. Lol

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  23. This got me smiling and missing my camp days. For me, camp was fun! Of course there were the crazy conditions but the people (camp band and camp clinic folks especially) I got to spend those 3 weeks with made it a good experience.

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  24. Camp is never 5 star fun but an experience a lot of people don't regret.

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  25. God, I spent a little over 24 hours in Lagos camp, exaggerated a health issue (easy as a Dr) and got the heck out. Never returned until the last day. No time to bond. The conditions are deplorable and they just ignore it. I'm now waiting to start at my ppa (another story).
    I'm glad you made the best of it. Your positivity is great
    Naija girl next door

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  26. OMG! I'd be in Obubra in 6days...I feel like fainting already

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  27. OMG! I'd be in Obubra in 6days...I feel like fainting already

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  28. LOL same here. Every time I think about it, I die a little inside. Thank God it is "only" 17 days

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  29. pls dont get me scared, i"m posted to Cross Rivers and would be leaving next week to Obubra..................how well shud I prepare?

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  30. Camp was almost a nightmare for me, I had more bad memories than good ones but i'm glad I got to experience the nysc camp life. I reacted to the water and I had to deal with rashes all over my body, the soldiers were intolerable. Almost like they were out to get me or something but I had fun.. I really enjoyed reading your experience,I also shared a lil deet about my camp experience on my blog. Pls check it out
    My Style Look Book Series

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  31. Wow I can't imagine doing this at all! I'm happy you stuck with it to the end.

    I'm from the UK (from Ghana too :D )and my current job is a bit like what you did. It's a leadership development programme with a charity where I'm volunteering at a primary school for a whole year.

    I have to wear a uniform with a red jacket and when I'm at the school every morning, we have to do some army style formation and dances. So far it's been fun and challenging at the same time.

    After reading this, I thought of my work. Thanks for posting :)

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  32. Great expectations well met. Bravo!

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