Life at NYSC camp was supposedly fun and at the same time difficult. Yes, it fun because it comprised of so many social activities, It was difficult because it involved bureaucratic procedures of registration, early morning parade, the civil-military relationship among others. Even though I was told not carry too much cloth and utensils, I went to camp with a lightweight suitcase in 2016 thinking I would brave it for the next two weeks.
Even my friends and family thought that I would not make it through, and deep inside me I was ready to prove them wrong. The Journey from Jos to Osun took several hours. We were advancing toward the Western part of the country, the harmattan was at its best, breaking our lips and making every step more difficult than the previous. The roads were bad, but having friends around made the trip more enjoyable. We arrived Osun early enough to see the waning sun with the sky displaying a shade of orange and yellow colour, I wish I could drift away, such moment to be with my love. It was exactly 5:15a.m, When I set my foot into the NYSC Orientation Camp Ede.
On arrival, the soldiers made us carry our suitcases and “yes” on our heads; after the ordeal, I had to get registered and hustle for a good bed space. I was naive and inexperienced in a world not familiar to me. The registration was arduous, to say the least. We moved from one long queue to another. I was just standing, staring and lost in thought. I did get it done eventually and I and my friends headed to our various rooms dressed and moved to the parade ground. Though, I escaped quite a number of parades, because I was the lazy type.
The next day, they woke us up as early as 3 a.m. I have never been burgled of my sleeping comfort like that before. It was never enough to grumble or form a crying face when the suddenly we screamed at, so we could get water, shower dress up in a white shirt and white shorts, socks and white shoes. We moved to the parade ground for morning mediation, parade, drills and lectures. Back to the hostel to get water to bath was not easy. We had to queue to get water to bath Though I was told that, Sunday mornings was free, but we would line up for marching practices in the evenings.
There were short-break in between for food and sport. We were given meal tickets with which to queue for food every day for our breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively. Our meals included bread and tea, porridge yam, garri and soup, and beans while we were privileged to eat jollof rice and fried chicken on Sundays. The meals were not enough and the lines at the kitchen were never encouraging. I normally found my way to the MAMI market for a top-up. Indeed MAMI market was place to be, it solved my problem of food and fun, even though things were costly.
In the hostels, stealing was rampant too. That’s why we were always together with our waist back alert and ready even in our sleep. The bad toilet facilities was another terrible experience. I always remember going to the toilet in my dreams. Though I had great roommates and my Hostel mistress was indeed a woman you can call a mother.
In my platoon, I was always a subject of discussion. My oversize shoe and uniform stood me out. My feet is 36 but was given 45. So I had to put double shoe pads and use a rope to bind my feet to my shoes. The same went for my Khaki.
The man ‘O’ war chants, and joggings, martial arts practices which I joined among others were another experience too. The various songs they taught us, the social activities were stories to write about.
NYSC camp was indeed my best life experience so far. From the long queues under the scorching sun, to the parades, the social activities, the punishments, the funny people around, the delicious food, the Mami market, the petty traders, the camera men following corpers around like bees, the allowances, the military men and women snatching away our freedoms, and so on.
I was happy because of the different morals learnt even though, I lost so much weight due to lack of sufficient sleep and unbalanced diet.
(Culled from: corperwee.com.ng)