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.
My roommates wake me up. They’re such nice people. They actually try to wake me up every morning and tell me it’s time to prepare for the day. God bless them. I can feel it in my bones, I’m getting tired. I don’t hate any of the activities or anything, but because the days start so early and end so late, I’m using a lot of my energy.
I just finished taking a bath and now I’m dressing up. We have to go for SAED lectures A.K.A. “The five hour torture NYSC gives you daily for merely existing and being on their premises.” I don’t like thinking about SAED. I hate SAED. I about to put on my rubber shoes when I remember that I haven’t seen my actual Nike shoes that I wore to camp a few days ago. I hardly ever lose stuff- even if I don’t know where my stuff is, I know where it could be. But at this point, I’m sure that my shoes have been stolen. I decide to check anyways. I check my locker, my bed surroundings and even inside my box. Nothing. They have stolen my shoes, won ti ji mi ni bata. Almost everyone is in the room, so I make an announcement but everyone denies seeing any shoes. I trust them, so I believe them. I decide to wait for night time so that I’ll ask everyone.
I go to drop my power bank for charging with Nas. He’s my friend. He knew my name since the first time we did business together and he’s been nice to me ever since. Sometimes he doesn’t collect money from me. As I’m leaving, I turn back and ask him if he can get me one of those fake iPhone earphones that use bluetooth, so I can listen to music and not die. He says he can. I tell him to get it for me. “Na N2000.” I swallow hard. Who asked me to use phone that doesn’t have earphones jack. I tell him to buy it though. It’s the price I have to pay. Besides, I will soon collect my bicycle allowance. N3200. On God, when I collect that money, Mami Market will know that David Odunlami is around. I will spoil everybody. But N2000 has gone now. Let me see what I can do with N1200.
I have stepped out of the SAED hall. These people will not kill me. How can you be teaching people that are obviously not listening to you? May God forgive these people.
I see a group of people talking. They look cool. I do that thing where you want to join a conversation but you don’t want to join immediately so you just hang around until they talk about something you’re interested in and then you make eye contact with one of them so you act like they forced you to join. Now we’re talking about animals. Everyone is saying the name of the animals they’re scared of. I tell them mine. Guinea fowls. I’m terrified of guinea fowls.
The girl beside me says the only animals she’s not afraid of are cats and horses. Weirdo. I ask her if she ever plans to own a horse and she says “Oh, the only reason I can stand horses is because we had a lot of them growing up. I’m from a royal family and we used to go horse riding, fencing and all of that.”
Ah! How can you say that so casually? Horse riding and fencing? That just smells like wealth.
Anyways, do you have marriage that you’re not using? It won’t be bad to marry into a royal family and be riding horses. (I hope my girlfriend doesn’t read this part. Focus David, focus).
This is my cue to leave. I have an OBS program by 2 p.m. It’s global music countdown. I leave with my friend who is in my platoon as well as in OBS. She’s really cool, I think we’re going to be friends. A soldier stops us and delays us for about 15 minutes with boring jokes and unnecessary interrogation. Then he lets us go and tells us that when we get to OBS, we should open the window and wave at him so that he can confirm that that’s where we are going. We get there and wave, but he’s not looking.
I’m discussing my program with my co-hosts when the soldier arrives. He asks why we didn’t follow his instructions. We tell him we did. He says we should have waved until he looked. We apologize. He’s not taking it. Now we have to stand in front of him, wave and shout “Bros! We don reach OBS o!” at the top of our voices. This goes on for about five minutes because he claims he cannot hear anything. He’s sitting about one meter from us and we’re shouting at the top of our voices and waving like mad people. After some time he says he can’t see us and begins to look elsewhere so we have to start running towards wherever he looks so we can be in his direct line of sight. Then after requesting that I play a song on OBS for him, he let’s us go.
Number One, by R.Kelly.
I’m done with my show now. The Billboard Top Ten songs are not interesting as the Nigerian songs Magma handpicked for me. Today was for global countdown. People told me they liked the show. I didn’t like it. I want to do Nigerian songs again. I’m eating pounded yam. I have collected my OBS pass so now I’m technically invisible. I must celebrate.
I FaceTime my best friend. He twote a tweet a few days ago about meeting a new guy on camp that was cool and that I should be afraid because he might replace me. I needed to check up on him. They were at the parade grounds in Lagos camp. He looked like he had lost weight and he was really tired. That’s good. If your new best friend cannot feed you and make you look fresh even while marching, then he cannot replace me. I’m not afraid.
I collect my new earphones from Nas. They work well. Nice. I use this opportunity to practice my “Good evening”, “How are you” and “Thank you”. I’m learning Hausa. My new friend is teaching me. Nas corrects everything I say. Maybe I’m a slow learner. But one day, I’ll get there.
I like Nas’ apprentice’s jeans.
I’m going to my hostel. I’m too tired to function. I just finished practicing for the football match on Friday. I played well. I choose to eat fruit tonight. Banana and groundnuts. This fruit guy is not nice. One bunch of bananas is N700. Did he put gold inside? My friend helps me price it down to 300 for half of the bunch. Good business.
I have never been this tired in my life. I keep falling asleep in public. I want to scream. But I’m out here watching people act their drama. They’ll release us soon though. God save me.
We’re back in the room. I make the announcement for my shoes again. Nothing. It will go to the soldiers first thing in the morning, my room leader says.
A few minutes later though, he remembers that the only shoes in his wardrobe that don’t belong to him are for our roommate who is in the sick bay.
“Let me see them”
They are my shoes. We bless God.
I go to bed.
In case you missed it:
And if you want to leave camp before it ends, here’s how to do it: