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.

6:30 AM

Today is the day that my luck will shine, but I don’t know it yet. I go through the daily rituals (wahala, actually) of waking up in NYSC camp and head to the parade ground and after everything ends. Shebi you know that we do morning and evening parade? Well, this morning is when we will test what we have learnt. This means that all platoons will march like we are doing the march past on Wednesday, which is the day of the parade proper.

We get in line. Everyone is tense, because the camp commandant is present and every platoon wants to outshine themselves. Me I am just worried about doing the right thing.

Anyway, we march. Round and round the parade ground until our jungle boots are coated in dust and we look like something from the Dust Age (is there something like Dust Age sef?) My legs and yansh hurt, all that clenching of butt to stand at attention and locking your knees so your legs can swing as stiff as a log of wood. 

Breakfast is pap and akara, and I am halfway into it before I realise that they’re repeating food in this camp. I don’t blame them, because to be fair, how many kinds of food do we have in this part of the country? How many, eh?

11:08 AM

Shebi you know I said that luck shined on me? Now is the time. On Thursday, the day that SAED people did Digital Skill Acquisition and I got a knapsack, they gave a topic and said that there will be a debate. The topic is The Role of National Youth Policy in the Development of a Nation. Maybe not in that exact order sha, but that’s the general idea. So they said that all platoons will debate on it and winners will be selected. My platoon people nominated me for the debate, but I just didn’t put it in mind. Actually, none of us did. Too much camp stress and you expect us to have debate in mind? Make debate dey debate himself, abeg.

But these people came today again, and fiam, they said “Oya o, debate people come out, it is time.”

For a minute, I was this confused crab from Sponge Bob, because where will I start from?

I Googled stuff, did what I could, and then went up to talk rubbish, very sure that I was even blowing grammar bombs. So imagine my surprise when my platoon was announced as the third position. Like! 

Funny enough, we tied with Platoon 10 which my friend F. represented. Na so we dey o, two friends, bunk mates and former course mates winning in Katsina. Cash prize for third position was N2,000. Me I did good boy and went to hand it over to platoon leader. In the end, it came back to me, but not until I did Father Christmas of 50% (do the maths) for platoon people.

Here’s a picture of the envelope, so it won’t look like I didn’t give you something.

1:15 PM

I have a rant. Why is it that when they have an emergency, people will tell you to “quickly” borrow them cash, and when it is time to return it, they give you audio money?

Let me tell you about G., for example. I was doing my own waka jeje in Mammy Market when G. stopped me to ask if I had N50. One spirit was saying I should just tell him sorry and waka pass o, but as per good Samaritan, I searched my waist pouch, told him I had N20. He said he was about buying water and the N50 tore, so he needed N50 or more. Did I have N100 or something? I said yes, as per Our Lord of Tender Mercies that I am. He took the money, and when I asked if it was dash or borrow (so I can know whether to look away or await earnestly), he said, “Anytime you need it, just let me know.”

My had-I-known face

Only for me to ask him during evening parade and he said, “Abeg, abeg.” I wasn’t even asking for the whole cash o. I just wanted N50 back so I could also pay the debt I am owing K. I swear that thing pained me. And it’s not the cash or something, but the fact that I asked him if it was dash or borrow. I wanted to rant like that “Angry Woman” in the “Angry Woman and the Cat” thread. But I just cooled myself. Na me fuck up na, abi no be me?

4:23 PM

Only God knows what they put in the egusi and eba that they served for lunch today. I ate it and I became weak o. I slept, woke up and then slept again. It felt as if I had lost momentary use of my senses. I was just looking like somebody that they jazzed. I had to buy bread and egg to eat so I could regain myself. Yes, I eat to come alive. Judge me all you want.

10:50 PM

Come and hear o, you people. I saw somebody smoking today in the hostel! Our true colours don dey come out o. That was how the guys in my hostel said that the girls are feeling the lack of sexual gbas gbos more than the guys. Another person now added that shebi they are already touching themselves, that they are already becoming lez. Me I just sat down like a mop, absorbing all this messy gist they are spewing.

The social night was boring, as usual. I’m sorry o, but me I am just like that. Other people find it interesting, I know, but each time I have to dress up for that children’s birthday party they call a social night, my vibe don already die. I just go there to fulfill an obligation. 

It is on my return from the social night that I saw this guy, right by the toilet side. I smelled weed when I passed, but O. said it was cigarette. 

The Camp director said this morning that, “As the Camp is winding down, people will begin to steal/show their true colours,” and now it is starting to make sense.

I just have one question: does this mean that before we leave, they will catch people doing intimate gbas gbos? 

Ah, drama and I’m ready for it.



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.