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.
Let me tell you, the day after the inter-platoon drill is when everybody’s morale finally goes downhill. Why? Well, when you have done the main thing for which you have been practicing for days, what else remains? What else but to think about going home?
My first thought when I wake up is, “Are we going to do morning drill again today? Shebi we are done with the competition?”
This is a question that will be answered when I get to the parade ground. I take a bath, I get dressed, I head to the parade ground.
We are (not) marching. When I get to the parade ground, I realise that everyone came with the same energy as me: slow response to commands, and and I-Don’t-Care attitude. The soldiers realise that we cannot be controlled, and they are only exercising little power. Morning meditation done, they try to arrange us into groups, as though we are preparing to march.
“Cover in threes,” they say. Which threes?
Our platoon commandant arranges us as we march. He then begins to take numbers. Before he takes mine, I disappear to OBS for my duty. Apparently, this will be my saving grace.
Breakfast is bread and tea. No boiled egg, and the bread is a large one cut in half, so maybe NYSC don broke. Someone from OBS brings akara from Mammy market and I have never been more delighted to eat food.
After my own segment of the program ends, I move around. The next thing to do is prepare for SAED lectures, but not me and them, abeg.
Apparently, I am not the only one who has chosen the path of idleness. At the staff canteen where I lounge, there are idle corps members like me, lazy youths who are sitting in twos and threes and having a blissful post-breakfast conversation. Right next to me, there are four ladies eating bread and mayonnaise straight from the bottle. They comment on the thickness of the bread, the softness, the wonder of such a hefty loaf costing only N200. They stir Bournvita and Peak milk in a cup to make cocoa. They talk about people in their extended family who are rich, people who spend money anyhow.
I drift off.
To march is now by force. You know that they conscripted people to fight civil war? It almost feels the same here. Soldiers want us to march, forming what will be called a Platoon 11 for the closing ceremony. But we have vexed and we don’t want to march. They are not having it.
“Let the winners of the drills competition, from first to fifth position, let them go and march na. Shebi na them sabi?” That’s what we mumble to ourselves.
But no. These soldiers threaten to have us roll on the ground, and because I did not want to spoil my slay, I stood up in peace and went to join parade o.
Anyway, my platoon is playing against another platoon. Victory must be ours.
Victory is indeed ours! We came first in the football competition!
Shebi you see that we serve a living God. It was a tough match. Even me that did not play, I felt the toughness of the match. You should have seen our joy, the way we yelled and jumped up. I tell you, if e no be platoon two, e no fit be any other platoon. Give them!
We just presented our drama tonight, but even me, I know that the drama is wack. This is a precaution against disaster, so you can yab me all you want. Yab me, but remember that we won a gold trophy. Yab me, yab us, but at the end, show me your own trophy plis dear.