It all started on the 26th of August as Prospective Corp Members in their different heights and tribes, races and faces queued in at the orientation camp gate to get screened into the camp. Girls, ladies and women with their ecohlacc boxes singing frictional hymns with the tarred roads were accompanied by boys, guys, and men with school bags well-fitted behind them. Our bags were searched for sharp objects, weapons, drugs and other harmful substances. We continued to look around like newbies as we admired our new home and family.
The NYSC registration process was a bit of stress as some prospective corp members were sent out of the camp because of incomplete or fake registration documents, pregnant corp members were also sent home to their husbands while others were left to begin the parade trainings. Dinner was served hot and white fowls (as we were fondly called) went to bed.
The song of “oh oh oh wakeup ooooo oh oh oh wake up oooooo” by the Man O’ War team hit my ears as I made the last snore. I was still yawning wide and crawling out of my sheets when a soldier woman shouted “if you are still in your room you are wrong!!!” I jumped down from the 7ft high bunk almost hurting myself to urinate at the already-messed up latrine. By now I was fully awake and conscious and then the reality of the militarized life had just dawned on me. I was still pondering on how I would survive sleeping by 12midnight and waking by 4:30am when a soldier woman halted me. And then i realized I was the only one left in the hostel block yet in my pyjamas. She ordered me to frog jump for 20minutes, I pleaded for mercy but it all fell on deaf ears. I served my first punishment on camp till 5am till 6am when the biggle was blown and it was mandatory that everyone stood erect as it was right about time for Nigeria to wake up from sleep. By now my thighs were crying for help and I was temporarily crippled, my legs shook as I stood to borrow a walking stick from one of the fake crippled guys and then she released me to change my wears and join the parade ground.
The parade ground was another world on its own. The morning devotion by the Christians had been done and the Muslim brethren were back from the mosque. Meditation was read and the camp director came to admonish us. Afterwards, we marched out platoon by platoons as the Man O’ War group took us out for the morning jogging and the drills. I mumbled the tea, bread and boiled egg that was served as breakfast as we were given 30minutes to eat and report to the multipurpose hall for the first lecture.
For those that could not cope with the a food had the maami market as their refuge. It was a place full of fun and food, boys and girls picking themselves in pairs to enjoy themselves. I made friends with some cool guys that took turns in picking my bills. This continued until a particular girl that was about 5.9ft above the ground with eye lashes like that of a kitten pulled me aside and threatened me to keep off from her NYSC boyfriend or I take whatever I see afterwards.
Opportunities were given to some corp members who want to redeploy to other state based on insecurity, health or marriage grounds. You need to see desperate people doing desperate things. A particular lady lied that environmental insanity runs in their family stating that once any of them is out of the house for a month, such a one would become insane in the next fortnight.
The winding/passing out of camp day came and every one of us was issued our posting letters. I was posted to one bush primary school in kwara were I would not see tarred road for the next one year. My major challenge was getting a place to rest my head after the journey and I eventually stumbled upon one long-abandoned hut with thatched roof to keep my bags and rest a bit before I find my PPA. I only woke up by 5am by the bleats of goats that had surrounded the hut I was. I picked up my phone to call my parents but it seems the mobile networks were keeping malice with the residents of that village. I walked around the village to enquire and I ended up at the top of a tree.
I got to my Place of Primary Assignment (PPA), I could never have been in a place like this in my wildest dream. I begged the school principal for rejection but he refused. To top it up, I resumed work immediately with no accommodation, no allowances and no transport allowances. I worked with some Yoruba village women in the administrative block and some male teachers in supervising the students for the exams.
This was how I spent my service year wrapping eko in some banana leaves and milking cows for wara.