My NYSC Camp Experience.

Have you ever met someone and you go “You are crazy, I like you, let's be friends?” That was how I met David at NYSC Camp.

We recently reconnected and our NYSC experience got me laughing. I am laughing now but it wasn’t so funny then. All in all, it was a great experience and I am glad I went through it. Let me take you through how the journey started.

It was a glorious morning and it didn’t start well. Despite the fact I was ready by 4 am, I didn’t get to the park until 10 am and I couldn’t leave until 12:30 pm. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry.

I believe God had His reason for letting it all happen. Later on, I heard some Corpers lost their lives on the road going to their camps and that made me realise that I should be grateful for every living breath.

I got to Okada Camp (Edo) by 4:30 pm, and goodness me, drills had already started. I was thankful that our camp wasn’t like those camps where they make you carry your luggage on your head while doing frog jump because there was no way I could have done it. My load wasn’t heavy but neither was it light.

After going through the stress of clearance and getting a room, I had to call it a day by 8 pm to unpack. If you are going to Edo Camp please and please get there early, if you get sent to the back camp, OYO (On Your Own) is your case. I continued clearance the next day and since I hadn’t gotten my kit I was left alone by the military men.

Later that day I got my kit then I had to go around asking people with a small pair to exchange with mine, which was two sizes bigger. I got used to the bugle which will both be a deliverer and slave master in the days to come.

As long as you are in your white, once it’s time to be on the parade ground nothing on Earth, except illness, will exempt you from it.

If you remove the fact that you are being woken early, then rushed around and shouted upon to double up, one will enjoy it. I was fortunate to have been used to waking up before 4 am on some days that waking up at that time was a child’s play. A big thank you to TDU and the Boys for making me ready for camp.

If you have shades please take them along, if you don’t, buy them.

The sun was cracking hot. In fact, I got darker. The rate at which people fainted was quite alarming. At least two people fainted per day. It was the combination of the sun, the standing, and little water intake. Thankfully, the Red Cross was always ready to run in and carry them away for treatment.

There are two times in a day you are required to stand still no matter where you are: at 6 am and 6 pm when Nigeria is ‘waking up and sleeps’ respectively.

If you are caught moving, my friend prays that the soldier is the ‘nice’ one who will make you just pick around the premises or make you do frog jump or even roll in your white round the field because the worst is best left to your imagination. Don’t be the scapegoat.

Mammy market is quite something else. I had heard of it but it was like nothing I had expected. It was an open stall market where anyone could enter at will to get whatever they wanted. The trick is that you need to have money.

My favourite place was Uncle Charles Kitchen. Yes. That is the actual name. His meals are wonderful and the only downside was that it takes time to order especially if what you ordered isn’t on the menu as there are others ordering too.

Most times you wouldn’t like what they made in the Camp kitchen, I would advise you to go to Mammy Market on the days they make beans which is often. I don’t know if it’s because I personally don’t like beans that much but if you do, enjoy it.

Beans is cooked at least once every day either mixed with rice or yam or made as porridge. Just make sure you have water for the toilet available. Make sure you use the toilet before going to the parade ground because soldiers can be funny at times. They might not let you go.

SAED and Lectures: don’t stay away from them. It can be tiring, you will get frustrated at times but believe me when I say the positives outweigh the negatives. I chose Cosmetology for my SAED and it was fun representing us on the exhibition day. More importantly, I can make my own soap, body lotion, shampoo, and cologne.

There were activities such as dancing, singing, beauty, and debate competitions. It was fun but I only went for Miss Big Bold and Beautiful because my friend was in it and she, from my platoon, won 3rd place.

There was competition for everything. From cleanness, sanitation, and kitchen duty to the parade. You are judged by platoons. Platoon 7 won best overall. They deserved it. Best teamwork I had ever seen. My platoon won second overall, not bad at all.

I made friends who made me laugh, cried, and even got me into trouble but what are friends for? The trouble? David’s friend, Feyi jokingly calls him my son and I was always rejecting it but the day I answered it was on our Man O War Drill and the commandant heard me and demanded I bring ‘my son’ or I wasn’t going to participate.

That’s how I went to drag David and before I knew it, I was termed an alien because ‘my son’ was my age mate. To make it worse that was how Platoon 2 photographer added his own spice to the boiling soup. Gosh, I was so frustrated because I knew the commandant was joking but he kept a serious face so I couldn’t end it and he went on and on asking which planet I was from and kept claiming I was an alien. I can’t forget that day in a hurry.

I and my Son.

If you have a portable fan carry it along, the heat will almost kill you. Take along a Power bank because you will be using money to charge your phone. Power banks last longer. There are lights out and I mean out literally. So go with your lamps too.

Don’t go in with an extension; blade, scissors, or shaving stick, they will be confiscated.

Be friendly with everyone but stand your ground if you don’t agree with what is being decided. Everyone has a voice, remember that.

As the bus took us from Campground to our LGA, there were shouts of joy and singing, some even cried and laughed. I miss some aspects of camp; my platoon members, the officials in charge of my platoon, and my new friends but more importantly, I got to start a new phase of my life serving the Fatherland. It was great catching up with David.

Do you have friends you haven’t kept in touch with? Today is a good day to do so.

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Funke Adegbokiki

A creative genius . I am naturally curious about life and love to share what I have learnt in the hopes that it helps someone live a better life.