OUR NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE CORPS (NYSC) CAMP EXPERIENCES
The national youth service corps is a compulsory one year scheme created by the Nigerian government to involve Nigerian graduates to national building and development it usually starts with an orientation training program that lasts for three weeks where graduates are posted to different states across the federation to live and learn together in one camp.
I got three other people who served in camps outside Abuja to share their experience and how the whole three weeks was like for them and they each had interesting stories to share.
I honestly went to camp thinking I was going to chill, have fun and just enjoy the whole camp experience I use to hear about especially the evening/Friday social events.
there was the regular check at the gate after which they checked our bags then led us to our hostels to drop our things before heading out for registration and collection of kit from our various platoon officers, then we went to collect mattress and get registered with the banks assigned to us after joining different lines and standing for a long time trust us to be tired and hungry but they were already calling us for our first parade by 3pm which I happily bounced.
The first few days were pretty normal apart from the annoying early morning beagle I had to learn how to adjust to waking up at 3am or later I was always grumpy in the morning and long hours of standing and marching under the sun everything else was chilled because they were a lot of familiar faces, my hostel (HONESTY HOSTEL) was pretty cool as it was one of the new hostels in camp.
But after the first few days the real thing started al the rules were becoming more serious and the lectures and morning drills became more serious, we couldn’t do much at our social events because of the rule placed by the Abuja coordinator but thank God for Team SRM and DJBorsh for making our social events more fun compared to what they had in mind for us.
I tried to join the volleyball team but my left hand did not let me be great so I looked for another group that had activities I was interested in and join the “OBS (orientation broadcasting services) crew” as a member of the technical team and it was pretty interesting because I met new friends there.
The cultural and carnival day was just another regular day for me because we only had a cultural event in the morning and when it was time for us to have our jean “denim” carnival they decided to cancel it and told us to go for evening parade instead it was painfull but we survived.
Bottom line Abuja camp currently is not all that the only good thing is not having to go through redeployment and the possibility of meeting people that can connect you with good jobs after camp so if you find yourself in Kubwa orientation camp create your fun, be open minded and just enjoy the three weeks ride.
LAGOS CAMP EXPERIENCE
I Got to the camp indifferent about the whole camp experience entered the gate and I was stopped for a regular search, Opened my bag for the officers and they saw a lot of drugs. One morafugger was asking where I got them from and I said “my doctor prescribed them for me”
You wouldn’t believe what this morafugger said to me “Then you’re not fit to serve” I replied him by telling him “ok” After almost ten minutes of being supposedly searched and questioned, another officer told me to write my name, school and call up number on my drugs, That’s when I remembered I why I wanted to go to the abroad ??♂
After the whole stressful morning to afternoon of registration, I just stayed on the bed for a few minutes and started hearing one loud sound that didn’t sound normal…… In my head, I was thinking “who blows the trumpet in camp?” These soldiers said we should dress up and go to the parade ground and I was baffled like…..” are you mehd bruv”
Marching for 6hours I heard “attention by number!!!! Scold 1….scold 2” so much I wanted to slap everybody’s face No problem abi, maybe it was just the first day
At night was hearing that we would be woken up the next morning by 4 and was thinking “People and false rumors sef, making NYSC look bad” I heard this forsaken trumpet again by 4:30 and I said to myself “Congratulations you just played yourself”
Bottom line nysc camp was made unnecessarily stressful If you know you’re eventually going to pick marchers for the parade competitions, get people who are interested to write down their names during registration and leave others like us that don’t want anything to do with it out of it Soldiers should always remember that were civilians and not like them.
CROSS RIVER CAMP EXPERIENCE
By Adamu Amina Ele
I camped at Cross river camp at Obubra local government
It was terrible for me at first during the first week, the drills where energy draining, the food well they tried but the bad water at that camp just won’t encourage one to eat most food, the sun flies gifting people with tribal marks and birth marks was horrible, alhamdulillah I never got them. The first day in camp I was just there looking at the boring surrounding and the soldiers shouting, I hated that ‘beagle sound so much.
I remember the first time I saw the oily water tears almost ran down my cheeks, then again I couldn’t bath after waking up by 3am just to join the line. I had to wait after prayers and drills to fetch another oily particles filled water. The toilet was mostly messy, the hostel was uncomfortable and freaking choked without fans, the hall was so small, the red sand was another thing.
But I had my platoon friends, new friends, they turned those pain into laughter, the socials were mad fun kudos to the director, ladokites always threw parties at mami it was amazing, the masjid Masha Allah I was impressed to see a mosque in the south, it was my second room and family, my platoon Sergent instructors esp Sgt Onoja who was a brother and a father, thank you sir, he mad parade super fun and I enjoyed every bit of it. Alhamdulillah is all I can say we made it.
NASARAWA CAMP EXPERIENCE
My name is Ufuoma Najite Ojarikre
I’m from Delta State but I was born and bred in Abuja.
During my B.Tech days, my best friend and I used to verbally plan how we’ll serve in Lagos State, then we’ll change our minds later and say let’s just stay home (Abuja) because of convenience. Las Las we just wanted to serve in the same state So we tried to make arrangements for that.
Long story short..
Time for posting letter to show, I was about to eat and that was how I lost my appetite. I saw Nasarawa. Now a lot of people said it wasn’t bad, which was true. But that wasn’t enough consolation, as my bestie got posted to Kogi!!!!!!!!! That’s like truly worlds apart. That added to the sorrow of not getting FCT after so much hope.
I ain’t gonna lie, I was depressed. Maybe if I and my bestie had gotten the same place I would have felt better. Cause after registration at first, I discovered a close friend had also picked Nasarawa as her first choice, so I was like bad as e bad, I will definitely see a familiar face. But posting was out and this babe’s FCT working it WORKED! I was happy for her I ain’t gonna lie..
Anyway, thankfully I got over my depression and I traveled with my classmates who were posted to Nasarawa as well, on the day we were asked to report to camp.
I had read online that we would have to carry our luggage on our heads, I can’t say I was prepared for that anyway, but thankfully I didn’t have to, cause it would have been bad. My box was damn heavy.
So we go close to the basketball court to show our school ID and call-up letter after our boxes had been searched at the gate and we were asked to double up.
After this, we were shown to where to get mattresses from. Sigh. That part was heartbreaking. I thought the perks of reporting “early” to camp meant getting the good stuff. All the mattresses looked the same, worn-out!!!! It is well
So we were shown to our hostels and my friend and I picked the same corner, top beds. We locked our boxes and joined the queue we met in the room, to do hostel registration.
After this, she left me to get something, can’t recall, at the mammy market. So I went to find where to start the registration properly. I was shown in the hall. Outside, some officials were seated, that was where we were to present medical reports. See me thinking it won’t take long…..till I entered the hall. Mogbe! See people!! It was so crowded and rowdy. I didn’t even know where to begin. I just followed one girl that looked like she knew what she was doing and she was matching majestically into the hall. She joined a queue, I was behind her. Then she asked me what was happening, I laughed so hard inside briefly, then I told her I was clueless as well. Then she got the initiative to ask one passerby, he was like “ah you people need to go to the other side and join that queue”. We went to where he pointed, there was no queue. But the people there were surely waiting for something, lol.
If I remember correctly, I collected my kit around 9p.m that day. And I had begun the registration exercise around 11a.m of that very day. Do the math. See bah, I will become tired of typing what truly went down in all those hours, cause a lot did. It was super stressful!!!!!! Super duper stressful. Shunters dey oo!! My God!! Coded ones. I’ve never seen such talent despite having experienced shunting sprees in my Alma mater.
So apparently, I was the only one amongst all four of us (my classmates and I) that was able to finish the registration that very day.
Which meant that the following day, they were to finish up and that would be parade ground for me. Fam, I cried that day! It was up to 24hours but it felt like the 3weeks had come and gone sef.
Anxiety made my roommates to wake the rest of us by 2a.m. I opened my eyes at 2a.m and immediately my eyes met this light skinned aunty that was seriously applying make-up. I was wowed. There was a queue to bathe. I was like “welcome to camp”. By the way, my room was like a neighborhood. We were over 200 in that room. So having not gotten enough sleep after the registration hassle, going to parade alone as I was the only one who had completed it, the scorching sun and I was seriously singing “under the sun and in the rain…..”, you can imagine why I cried. I was alone. I started to seriously question myself, “Ufuoma, why is your life like this” cause that day sort of projected how the rest of camp might be. Wrong projection anyway. But it was because that was the first time I was exposed to such hardships, lol permit me to say.
Well, the day was over and I was reunited with my classmates, and we went to the mammy market to chill. Gisted and all, it was fun. That was sort of the highlight of that day, apart from speaking with my boyfriend.
I just saw myself counting down to POP. A few days felt like years had passed. Ufuoma was tired! The morning drills, everything! Then we were still preparing for the swearing-in ceremony. I was kept wondering where the “fun” that ex-corpers kept telling me I would have was. Ufuoma had been scammed!
Yeah another sad thing was, my classmates and I were in different platoons, I was in platoon 10. I didn’t feel it until after the swearing-in ceremony, where we all had to cluster in our own platoons. Sigh. There came my loneliness again.
But thankfully, it didn’t last long
I remember going for morning drills very unhappy, so I stayed at the back of the line, mostly in order not to be noticed. But my mission failed. I was known as the “girl with glasses who likes staying at the back of the line with the tall people and she isn’t as tall as them”. Weird right. But that was when I started to make friends. The first platoon friend was this tall guy, Alfred. And his height just reminded me of my younger brother (who is taller). When I told him, he said I had brother-zoned him already, lol.
Later on, I met other amazing people. Most when we were asked to sit on the hot road, during the evening parade. By the way, the sun lives in Nasarawa, believe me.
I met Shalewa and I’m mentioning Shalewa because we were close to the very end. More so cause we were roommates. We just had to shout our names to know of were in the room, as we were both “blind”, lol. She uses glasses as well.
Shalewa and I were both in the parade for platoon 10 which meant we had the same schedules. This affected my relationship with my classmates, sadly. But that’s by the way.
I always look for month-mates as I hardly ever had any when I was in primary and secondary school. So Shalewa being a March baby kinda made the bond stronger. We can gist for days. And we always tried to eat together. Along the line, I got to meet the friends she made, she met mine and some of us hung out at the mammy market and had good laughs.
I escorted Shalewa to the dry cleaners to pick up her whites one hot afternoon when I was stopped by this guy, he said “God, you’re beautiful”, collected my number and that was how I made another good friend in camp. He was MLS, so free charging of phone at the clinic, lol. He was a really good friend. Most of the photos I have from the camp were because of him. He would snap me when I’m marching or make videos. Thank you Samaru, you’ll always be cherished. He represented his platoon for Mr. Macho after we met. If you ask him, he’ll tell you I talked him into doing it, I did, but not forcefully. So he became popular and that’s when people started to notice we were close and thought I was friends with him because he came 3rd in the competition. Lol, like I wasn’t popular enough for other things already. Anyway, people will always talk shey?!
Generally, the camp was a great experience. I kinda miss camp, maybe the whole routine or the friends, or both. But I know I miss the mammy market for Mama Lolo’s spaghetti and goat meat.
I also miss the song Shalewa formed. “Hot pepper soup with the catfish type”. We would sing it if any of us were getting so much attention from the opposite sex. Lol, the song was formed because of me. But the last person it was sung for was Shalewa, lol.
Shout out to Shalewa, Samaru, Cynthia, Ekene, Nzube, Alfred, TJ, Obed, Kelechi, Elijah (trouble maker), Ibukun (first person I met in church), Hinkley (Hinku) my platoon peeps, the list goes on. I miss you all.
After all, is said and done camp experience was different for everyone and different camps with different rules, activities, and environment but every camp had similar schedules.
Where did you camp and How was NYSC camp experience for you? if you are yet to go for NYSC what would you like to know about camp?