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.
It’s Sunday. The first Sunday on camp, and as soon as I wake up, I know that I’m going to drown myself in a river of sleep. Activities such as morning parade, devotion and meditation, are not going to take place today. I cannot be more glad. We are free to dress as we like until 12 when we are to return to our whites
Fellowship hour is 7:30 till about 11 am. I spend those hours doing laundry, cleaning my side of the bunk and rearranging my things. I do not go for breakfast.
I visit the staff canteen for breakfast which has of course become lunch. I settle for bread, fried eggs and tea. Lunch comes not long after; Jollof (concotion, really) and chicken, can you believe it? I’m partly full when it arrives, so I eat only half of it before I get tired. I spend the hour arguing about what university is the best while telling myself I should get up and do something better with my life.
We are back on the parade ground. This begins my show of shame. We are asked to march, but I keep messing up the commands, keep forgetting how to halt. I swear, it’s the chicken they gave me. I know that I am not entirely useless. I know it deep down within me. So you can imagine my deep hurt when the soldier drags me out and casts me on the rubbish heap with the rejects who cannot march. Later, he says we should go to the field and clap for the footballers. Just imagine.
My God will judge you, Mr. Soldier. MY GOD WILL JUDGE YOU.
The bugle has just been blown; Nigeria has been laid to rest, no pun intended. I am supposed to join the other rejects in their clapping and cheering duties, but God forbid. A whole me, clapping and prancing like something inside hot oil? Again, God forbid. I spend the rest of my time filling in my redeployment/relocation form.
A brief information about the relocation form: it is the form that facilitates your relocation to another state. The form was given to us and is to be submitted today, with a handwritten letter requesting relocation to xxx state on security grounds. In the form, you fill in your name, course of study, call up number, state code, reason for relocation, and the state you’re relocating to. I’m relocating to Canada, just in case you want to know.
Did I tell you I signed up for OBS and got in? If I didn’t, then I did. And tonight is our first meeting. I am assigned to the programs department, for current affairs. We are drilled: be punctual, think of how to generate income, drive people’s attention, make them listen to you. We are reminded that we have only two weeks to shake things up, and we better make the most of it. By the time we are done, dinner is over. It’s yam pottage and fried fish. I like pottage, but sadly, I missed it. I end up scooping powder milk into my mouth for dinner. Didn’t they say eat dinner like a beggar?
There is another social night again. And like you must have guessed, it is another show of shame. It’s like a children’s birthday party, a primary school’s end of the year party, only with people twerking and bored people loitering around and trying to make connections. Sunday has been a slow day anyway, why not have the party? But rather than speed up things, it only drags the day even further. Drags it terribly. It’s a shame that we are forced to attend it.
In all honesty, this NYSC is starting to tire me. I hope my time at OBS will bring fun. I really do.