NYSC Diary DAY 13: “I’m Kambari. My People Don’t Wear Clothes”

November 26, 2020

A few months ago we began the NYSC Diaries, which covered inside life stories of NYSC in Nigeria. Stories like things NYSC corps members can relate to or what to do when you’re posted to a faraway place, like Borno.

A new NYSC batch has been called in for camp. So, everyday by 1:30PM for the next 21 days, one of our writers will be sharing his day-to-day camp experiences.


6:06 a.m. 

The camp director is angry. People have offended and broken the rules. She’s listing out the offenses and calling out the culprits. One guy had five bottles of Erujeje. He’d been caught before with a few bottles and now he’s getting caught with more. He will be expelled. Poor guy. Getting expelled because of Erujeje. It’s funny to me. 

Another girl was sitting on the slab of  hand wash basin. 

Two people were romancing and caressing each other in public. She goes on a bender with this one about how we cannot control our urges for such a short period of time. 

‘Urges’ is such a weird word. 

They will face the camp court and whatever happens will happen. 

I’m praying for them. 

9:55 a.m. 

Today, we’re learning Igbo. They couldn’t get an Igbo coordinator, so a corp member taught us igbo. I don’t think he did a great job because right now the only Igbo phrase I know is ‘otutuoma’, and I already knew it before the lecture. 

1/10. Would not recommend. 

10:41 a.m. 

The woman speaking tells us that lectures officially end tomorrow and this is the loudest cheer I’ve ever heard in this camp. I understand it. This thing is punishment. 

She then tells us that CBN, Bank of Industry and some other people would come tomorrow to tell us how to access money from our SAED skills and all of that. 

So basically, another set of lectures tomorrow. 

Women and their lies. 

2:16 p.m. 

I’ve just finished another show at OBS. I could get used to this. In the past few days, I’ve been doing the my job as a broadcaster so efficiently. Lowkey, I’m enjoying it. 

I’m go to the bole woman’s place and she’s not around. Her neighbor who sells Chicken and Chips is around. She sells for her. But as she’s approaching, she limps. I ask her what is wrong with her. 

“My brother, these people want to kill us.”

“Ma?”

“The workload is too much”

Silence. 

I try to tell her sorry. Camp will soon end. She can rest. 

“They need to let us have some assistance. But because of COVID, they won’t let us bring any apprentices in. Even my children are grown, they can assist me in this place. I’m an old woman. I have to do everything by myself; Cook, clean, wash up after, take orders from all of you, wake up early, go to the gate to pick up the items I’m trying to restock on. It’s hard. It doesn’t help that I’m the only one that sells what I sell here. Chicken and Chips, and Fish and Chips. 

I haven’t left here since I got here. They don’t let us go out because of COVID. I’m very surprised that I’m still alive and kicking. With the stress I’m going through, I expected my body to have given up by now. But I’m still here. 

If they don’t let us have assistance next time camp resumes which is next week, I’m not coming. I’ll leave here and rest. I cannot kill myself because of money.”

3:45 p.m. 

This is the time I’ve been waiting for. This is the reason I came to camp. It’s time for my platoon’s Man O’War drills. I’m the first to get there because I want to climb rope and show myself.

It goes really well. I do alllll the drills. I will not put the videos in the diary. I will just put a picture. Maybe I’ll add a picture. 

4:35 p.m. 

The female corp members are finally out of the top secret meeting with the camp coordinator and we’re ready to march. I ask a few of them what they discussed and oh my God, the replies I got; 

“What’s your business?”

“If you want to know, be a woman in your next life.”

Why so angry?

I ask one more person and apparently it was a “These men are useless and they will not marry you, so guard your hearts. They don’t have money and they don’t have sense, jazz up” type conversation.  

Now I know why I got those responses. Ugh. 

Don’t worry, you’ll all be fine. 

5:45 p.m. 

I overhear some guy talking about his experience in the camp court. I look and it’s someone I know. I couldn’t see earlier because it was dark. He’s the nicest guy on camp, no lies. 

“So why were you caressing and romancing a woman in public, my guy?” I ask him. 

“I swear, I just hugged her. It was the simplest of hugs. It wasn’t even a long hug. It was just a simple, short hug. That’s how I got into trouble.”

Eeish. 

Idea for toasting a babe: “You’re so hot, I can risk facing the camp court just to get a hug from you.”

*blushes*

6:45 p.m. 

I’m joining my roommate to argue and make noise today. Today’s topic is “Is Buhari even really alive?” I get irritated and leave the argument quickly. I don’t like arguing with people that bring emotions into argument, no matter what they believe. It makes the entire thing sound corny and stupid. 

8:28 p.m. 

I’m eating before they start the socials show for tonight. I see a girl beside me and so I ask her for her name. Mariam. She sounds Hausa, so I ask, “Are you Hausa?” 

“No”, she says. “I’m Kambari”

“Where’s that?”

“I’m from Niger. My people originated from Borno but we’ve settled in various places in Nigeria like Kebbi, Nassarawa and Niger. Our language is not Hausa, but whenever people see me, they just assume I’m Hausa. Like you did. I don’t get offended by it though, I’m just quick to tell them about my people and where I’m from. 

Here’s a fun fact: A huge number of Kambari people in the most remote places in Nigeria still don’t wear clothes. Many times, they’re naked. Other times, they wear animal skin. 

You should read about us.”

10:32 p.m. 

The “Big, Bold and Beautiful”, and “Slim, Tall and Handsome” contest was great. One platoon won the two categories. It was not my platoon. That’s bad. 

Tomorrow is the Mr. Macho contest. I just might take matters into my own hands and go for this thing. 

After today’s Man O’War drills, I should be able to win Mr. Macho, don’t you think?


In case you missed it:

NYSC Diary DAY 12: Please I Want To Go Home


David Odunlami

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