NYSC Diary Day 11: How Much Pepper Can Camp Show You?

November 16, 2019

Everyday by 12pm for the next 21 days, I’ll be telling you what life is like at NYSC Camp. I was posted to Borno State, but the camp holds in Katsina state due to Boko Haram insurgency in Borno. You can read all the stories in the series here.

6:00 AM

The longer I spend here, the more I want to go back home. So far, it is fun mixed with hard work set to make us better citizens. But to be honest, is this training having any effect on people yet? Take Bros for instance. You know he was meant to he decamped yesterday? Well, I heard he was pardoned and told to write an undertaking. I don’t know what is in that undertaking, but I am sure that it must be something on being properly behaved till camp ends.

Now you can imagine my wonder during morning mediation when I see Bros in all his peerless generosity dispensing abortion tips to the ladies. Like, from where to where, Bros? You no suppose dey mellow? But Bros is in his element, talking about how hot peppers can help a pregnancy disappear.

Today’s morning mediation is commitment. Perhaps it is safe to say that Bros is only being committed to his ways.

8:14 AM

Off air. I have just read the news, and if I’m to describe how I feel, I would say I feel a mix of elation and disappointment. Here’s why: I was slated to read the news in pidgin and I had been excited about this. Only to hear that morning news cannot be in pidgin but in English, and that pidgin might be considered later, but English is paramount. So even though I am excited to finally read the news and not just do a newspaper review, I am still a bit flattened about this refusal to allow me speak pidgin. 

Breakfast is bread, tea and boiled egg. I relax at the OBS studio. Soon, the bugle sounds. It is time for SAED.

12:03 PM

Here’s one thing you should know about Fridays in NYSC camp: if you’re a Christian or a Muslim who for some reason best known to you decides not go to Jumat or a traditionalist, Friday is one of the days where you get almost four hours of idle time. Once SAED practicals end by 12PM, you’ll be let off. Muslims prepare for Jumat around this time and don’t return until lunch which is by 2PM. 2PM is about ths time we have lunch, and on their return, lunch is probably being served or about to be. You take lunch, siesta, and when it is almost 4PM, the bugle is blown for evening parade which will most likely begin by 4PM. So, free time!!

At SAED practicals, we learn how to make fruit salad and vegetable salad. Thanks to the sudden twist of the universe, I become the trainer’s unofficial PA and amplifier who echoes whatever she says to the class. What this means is that I get to stand beside her, help throw things away, take pictures with her phone. You know, those kinds of thing that make people call you a teacher’s pikin. Me, I kuku want to eat extra salad because I did not pay for practicals. I left class earlier yesterday and I didn’t know that they contributed for today’s practicals.

In the end, I ate extra salad as I planned. My labour did not go in vain.

8:30 PM

You already know where I am, don’t you? And if you don’t, it’s the social night. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll miss the military regime that is this camp when I leave. You know, having someone force you to do something that will turn out well for you. I don’t know yet if I’ll miss it. What is known is that this camp is ending, and that when I get home, I’ll spend days in my bed, eating hot things day and night to banish the cold from my body.

This camp don show me pepper.

Kunle Ologunro

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