Life at NYSC camp is supposedly fun and at the same time difficult. Yes, it is fun because it comprises of so many social activities, It is difficult because it involves bureaucratic procedures of registration, early morning parade, the civil-military relationship among others.
Even though I was told not carry too much cloth and utensils. I went to camp with a lightweight suitcase in 2016 thinking I would brave it for the next two weeks. Even my friends and family thought that I would not make it through and deep inside me I am ready to prove them wrong.
The Journey from Jos to Osun took several hours. We were advancing toward the Western part of the country, the harmattan was just as its best, breaking our lips and making every step more difficult than the previous. The roads were bad, but having friends around made the trip more enjoyable.
We arrived Osun early enough to see the waning sun with the sky displaying a shade of orange and yellow colour, I wish I could drift away, such moment to be with your love.
It was exactly 5:15a.m, When I set my foot into the NYSC Orientation Camp Ede. On arrival, the soldiers made us carry our light suitcases and “yes” on our heads; after the ordeal, I had to get my self-registered and hustle for a good bed space.
I was naive and inexperienced in a world not familiar to me. The registration was arduous, to say the least. We move from one long queue to another. I was just standing, staring and lost in thought. I did get it done eventually and I and my friends headed to our various rooms dressed and moved to the parade ground. Though, I escaped quite a number of parades, because I am a lazy type.
The next day, they wake us as early as 3 a.m. I have never been burgled of my sleeping comfort like that before. It was never enough to grumble or form a crying face when the sudden bugle screams for us, so we could get water, shower dress up in a white shirt and white shorts, socks and white shoes moved to the parade ground for morning mediation, parades, drills and lectures. Yet in the hostel to get water to bath was not easy. We used to queue to get water to bath ourselves. Though I was told that, Sunday mornings was free, but we will line up for marching practices in the evenings.
There were short breaks in between for food and sport. We were given a meal ticket with which to queue for food every day for our breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively. Our meals ranged from bread and tea, porridge yam, garri and soup, and beans while we were privileged to eat jollof rice and fried chicken on Sundays.
The meals were not enough and the lines at the kitchen were never encouraging. I normally used to find my way into the MAMI market for a top-up. Indeed MAMI market is a place to be, it solved my problems of food and fun, even though things were costly.
In the hostels, stealing was rampant too. That’s why we are always together with our waist back alert and ready even in our sleep. The bad toilet facilities is another terrible experience. I always remember going to the toilet in my dreams. Though I have great roommates and my Hostel mistress is indeed a woman you can call a mother.
In my platoon, I am always a subject of discussion. My oversize shoe and uniform stood me out. My feet is 36 but was given 45. So I had to put double shoe pads and use a rope to bound my feet to my shoes. The same went for my Khaki.
The man ‘O’ war chants, and jeggings, martial arts practices which I joined among others are another experienced too. They various songs they taught us, the social activities are another story to write about.
NYSC camp was indeed my best life experienced so far. From the long queues under the scorching sun, to the parades, the social activities, the punishments, the funny people around, the delicious food, the Mami market, the petty traders, the camera men following corpers around like flies, the allowances, the military men and women snatching away our freedoms, and so on.
I am happy because of the different morals learn even though, I lost so much weight due to lack of sufficient sleep and unbalanced diet.
As we successfully call over the clarion call, I wish my fellow Corp members success in the labour Market.
The Youths' Digest is a specialized youth magazine geared toward entertaining, educating and informing the youths on various issues of interest that are of paramount importance to them and their wellbeing.